A Haunting History Of How Horror Movie Cliches Got Their Start

Ines Vuckovic/Dose

Creepy clowns scared the pants off audiences as far back as 1928.

Any horror movie buff knows that, for a genre that relies on keeping the audience on the edge of its seats, horror films often pull from the same old bag of well-worn tricks. You’ve seen them all: the terrifying set of identical twins taunting the protagonist, the creepy, smiling doll with malicious intentions, and the teenage lovers who die a gruesome death after doing the deed.

While today’s audiences might take these tropes for granted, they made yesterday’s film fans faint with fright. We’ve put together a comprehensive history of some of the most well-known horror tropes and their origins.

David Cline/Ines Vuckovic/Dose

This Halloween, if you’re getting tired of the same old scares, frights and things that go bump in the night, dig into some of the films that helped define “macabre” in movies. These classics might help you rediscover the horror in horror. Happy haunting.

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