Horror is one of the easiest genre conventions to identify across a variety of mediums. Even the word horror conjures up specific images in your mind. They’re typically scary thanks to the surprise plot twists you don’t see coming, along with a few other features.
Let’s be honest, the protagonist isn’t the smartest person in the group, if there is a group. They’ll be the one to run upstairs instead of outside, or they’ll suggest everyone should split up, or they won’t listen to the smart person who tells them not to do the thing. But without this character, the horror story wouldn’t happen, so it’s a pivotal part of the story.
There’s usually some kind of scary occurrence that kickstarts the plot. Whether it’s a literal scary monster or people disappearing thanks to some psychopathic killer, the horror has to include a scare element in it. Otherwise, it’s not a horror story. The level of scare usually determines how much the audience will recommend it to loved ones via word of mouth. If they found it really scary, they’re more likely to pass it on than if they found it to be ‘eh’.
Even if it’s set in a normal, suburban home, the house becomes eerie due to an unknown feature, such as a secret door they never knew they had. This includes any houses they temporarily stay in or visit. But other locations could include on a haunted train or a school. Regardless, the place becomes eerie and scary because of the scary occurrence that takes place.
Horror is an easy genre to identify, but it can be quite hard to write since you have to keep the surprise twists coming without making it too obvious or anti-climatic. Still, when done right, horror can be one of the best genres for keeping an audience interested and flipping the pages.
Have I missed any genre conventions from horror?