For many decades, horror movies have been popular. There are many character types from films that are highly referenced and parodied in today’s culture.
Classic horror films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, which are often considered the most influential to the genre, all popularized different types of characters in horror films. Their influence shows in the horror genre even today.
Recent horror films like It, Don’t Breathe, and the 2018 Halloween sequel of the same name, Halloween, continue using character tropes established by preceding horror films, but usually do them in more self-aware ways. Some horror films, such as Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and The Cabin in the Woods, reference and make fun of how the characters act while still using them to tell its story.
The “final girl” is a character type and possibly the most popular trope in the genre. They are often the last character left at the end and are the ones who notice something is not right throughout. There is sometimes a “final boy,” who is either with the “final girl” or substitutes for the “final girl.” It is typically a single woman in the role. One of the most famous examples is Laurie Strode from the Halloween franchise.
Another popular character type are non-believers. They are typically in supernatural horror movies and are infuriating to audiences. They make explanations for weird occurrences and choose not to focus on what is actually going on and condemn the other characters as crazy. They eventually learn their lessons when it is too late. Two popular non-believer characters are the parents of final girl Nancy Thompson in the 1984 film A Nightmare On Elm Street.
A popular character type, is the harbinger of doom. They are perceived as crazy but are actually warning the characters of real danger. Their warnings are ignored and not taken seriously. This type of character became popular in the original Friday the 13th all the way back in 198o, with a character known as “Crazy Ralph.”
Other types of characters include the the red herring, which can be shared with multiple characters, an older authority figure, and, in more self-aware horror movies, a character that points out horror tropes. These characters make up most horror films. When done correctly, it creates a truly great film. When having a horror movie marathon this year, pay attention to the characters tropes.