The Classic Creature Trope That Has Horror Fans Divided

Horror fans are nothing if not passionate about giving themselves nightmares. If the movie doesn't give them spine-tingling chills and force their body into fight or flight mode, it's not worth it. However, with decades of horror film history, it takes more than a couple basic jump scares to really get their hearts racing. In fact, for some horror fans, certain tropes just aren't doing it anymore.

On the subreddit r/horror, user STAR_CB_SIGHT made a bold statement about some classic horror staples: They're sick of the clowns, ghosts, and dolls. These three creatures may have been the villains in some of the scariest movies of all time — the beloved Poltergeist combined all three with its terrifying possessed clown doll — but some fans are ready to see them go.

In their post, user STAR_CB_SIGHT wrote, "I'm getting sick of possessions and loud sounds and moving into houses where somebody died but not leaving." Beyond that, they lamented films where the creepy clown could be traded out for any other creature without a single change in the rest of the movie. They finished by writing that these creatures are "cheap strategies" for horror films often marred by generic plots and uninspired jump scares. 

Unsurprisingly, horror fans had a lot to say in response.

A trope is only as good as its writing but some fans are ready to move on

In agreement with the original poster, user KittyLousConcierge wrote, "Horror needs to be innovative and imaginative and witty and full of surprises. Above all it has to create suspense." The same storylines and elements don't work forever in horror, because at some point the audience becomes familiar enough with the tropes that they're no longer scary. 

Others agreed that certain creatures have become too predictable. User crimson_scorpio added evil children to the list, wishing for "original monsters, or something taken from old fairytales or Greek mythology. Just something different and not so boring and overused."

Still, despite some of the hate for clowns, ghosts, and dolls, most users agreed that there are great films about each of them. Even a movie as recent as 2019's Annabelle Comes Home was able to surprise fans with its creepy doll. Other commenters expressed particular favor for ghosts, writing that there's a lot of room for creativity with them. User Peanlocket wrote, "I will never get tired of ghosts. Even the most generic ones still creep me out. I love haunted house movies." On the clown front, user Imogenis disagreed that they'd been overused, arguing that there have been several good clown horror movies in the past few years. Meanwhile, user wailingwonder simply wasn't having it, commenting: "That's just, like, your opinion, man. Those are three of my favourite things."

By its very nature, the exposure therapy of watching too many scary movies necessitates that the genre be continuously redefined by groundbreaking films. Scream managed to bring something fresh to the slasher genre by adding a meta element with characters that were fully aware of the tropes: maybe some of these other classic horror types could take a page out of their screenplay. Even then, some fans just want to see something entirely new.