My Top 5 Horror Tropes and Why They Work So Well

My Top 5 Horror Tropes and Why They Work So Well

By: Rose Atkinson-Carter

Horror literature is not for the faint of heart. It’s a genre that exploits and explores our deepest, darkest fears, painting terrifying and unsettling images in our minds. And while these chilling narratives can take various forms and shapes, there are some well-established tropes that authors and readers keep coming back to — for better or for worse. 


These tropes exploit some of our most commonly held fears to keep readers in a vice-like grip, always turning the next page despite having their hearts in their throats. Chances are your favorite horror stories include one of them too. Perhaps even more than one, as many of the best tropes play well with each other.


While some have become clichés, others still send shivers down our spines, especially when skillfully implemented or subverted. In this post, I’m going to delve into 5 of my personal favorite horror tropes and why I believe they work so well. 


Let’s dive into the abyss together.