Popular tropes from Horror and Thriller movies from around the world

It can be fun to see how other countries interpret different ideas for movies. Such as how a werewolf transformation might work, what rules vampires have to follow, and how resistant a zombie can be.

Unfortunately, many people avoid watching films outside of their own language simply because they don’t like to read subtitles. These people are really missing out on a lot of good movies though! So here are some lists of popular themes from horror and thriller movies from different countries.


The werewolf (or Lycanthrope) is a popular reoccurrence in numerous movies and TV shows worldwide. Starting in the time of black and white films leading well into present times without a sign of dying out anytime soon.

It can be hard not to feel sympathy sometimes for werewolves as they are usually human most of the time, depending on the story of course. Imagine turning into an anthropomorphic wolf creature every time there is a full moon? They can’t even control what the wolf part gets up to and end up waking up naked the next morning, covered in their midnight snack’s blood.

Then you have ones who can shapeshift on their own, any time of the month. These types are well aware of what they are, and will use this ability to pretty much do whatever they want (fair). Werewolves can be killed by a silver bullet. There might be other ways but that’s the important one.

Dog Soldiers 2002: If you like werewolf movies that are both fun and brutal, then you’ll love British movie Dog Soldiers! A squad of British soldiers are thrown in a remote are in the Scottish Highlands to conduct a training exercise against a Special Air Service unit. Of course they end up finding more than they expected, I mean, who suspects werewolves attacking you anyways? The British have the ability to make any situation funny, even when they’re faced with a huge angry werewolf. Fetch!!

The Howling 1981: This crazy American werewolf movie inspired seven sequels! It starts out with a television news anchor (Karen) meeting a serial killer in a porn shop/theatre (a real one!) in order for the police to catch him. Police shoot the killer, and Karen gets amnesia from the trauma she was put through. Karen and her husband are sent to a resort in the countryside for treatment. Guess what kind of occupants this resort has? The werewolves in this film have interesting transformation scenes. The group transformation is actually animated, possibly to make it easier for the effects team. The single transformation looks grotesque and painful. They also have the ability to shapeshift at will. How fun!

Ginger Snaps 2000: It’s so sweet seeing two sisters (Brigitte and Ginger) get along so nicely. They are both obsessed with death and even take pictures of each other in various ways that one can die. Unfortunately, on the night that Ginger gets her first period, she is attacked by a large wild dog (werewolf, duh!) which is drawn to her scent. Ginger is bitten and begins to show slight changes such as aggressive behaviour, quick healing wounds, a tail and some fur growing out, and of course, a heavier period! (what?) Ginger also starts to kill a few people, well one kinda deserved it. While her poor sister Brigitte tries to find a cure for her. Does she save Ginger before she completely transforms? Watch this endearing Canadian film and find out.

Special mentions
*An American Werewolf In London 1981 (UK/America)
-Pictured Left (Universal Pictures)
*Howl 2015 (UK)
*Licántropo (Lycantropus) 1996 (Spain)


Everyone loves vampires! They’re charming, sophisticated, attractive, and immortal (unless you kill them). Vampires are known to be undead, with no heartbeat and a cold dead body, sexy!

There are many stories about vampires involving what they can do and their weaknesses. Vampires have been to know to turn into bats, shapeshift into other forms, fly, use mind control, have fangs, have lost their soul, sleep in coffins or upside-down, can die by a stake through the heart, get killed by sunlight, and some even sparkle in the sunlight (what?).

They all have two things in common though. They drink blood (human preferably) and can live forever unless killed by stake, sunlight, or decapitation. Vampire films started out in the black and white silent picture era. As the years pass by they become more and more popular. They even appear in the fantasies of many teens because vampires on TV have to be sexy these days!

Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) 2008: A 12 year old boy living in Sweden is horrendously bullied by other boys from school. One lonely night he meets a young girl who recently moved in next door, along with an older male. She appears pale, and only comes out at night, we know where this is going. Yes, she’s a vampire, a very old one apparently. The older male is actually her lover but has aged much over time. While this movie starts out making viewers feel sad and uneasy, it ends with a satisfying fervour. Of course there is an American remake of this movie, but you know what? It’s really not that bad compared to others that I’ve seen. I do recommend watching both versions because the story is really quite intriguing.

Fright Night 1985: This is a somewhat more fun vampire movie in which a teenage boy discovers that his new next door neighbour is actually a vampire! Of course no one believes the teenager, at first. With the help of his girlfriend and a Supernatural TV host, the vampire is thwarted in the end. Fright Night is more funny than scary but still shows some freaky effects (we’ve all seen that picture of Amanda Bearse as vampire Amy!). There is a sequel to this titled Fright Night 2, which came out in 1988. In fact, there is even a remake of this movie which came out in 2011, along with a (remake) sequel to that! More fun!

Cronos 1993: First of all, this film was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro so you know it’s going to be interesting! This is also his first feature film and fortunately not his last. Cronos has a slightly different take on the vampire mythos. Instead of an undead human with fangs biting you, this film has a mechanism (Cronos Device) developed by an alchemist in 1536 that can give eternal life. He happily goes on living until the year 1937 when a building falls on him and pierces his heart, bummer. Later in 1996 an antique dealer finds it, looks at it, then gets stabbed by it, inheriting eternal life and his youth back. The lust for blood begins to set in too, which he eventually succumbs to. Of course there is an old rich guy after the Cronos Device so he can regain his youth and achieve eternal life, but I mean who wouldn’t want that? If you like Mexican vampire movies then this is definitely for you.

Special mentions
*From Dusk till Dawn 1996 (United States)
-Pictured Left (Miramax Films)
*Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1974 (United Kingdom)
*Frostbiten (Frostbite) 2006 (Sweden)


So ghosts, they’re pretty scary aren’t they?

The abilities they portray appear to be almost endless, at least in the movie world. Depending on whatever lore the film is going by, ghost can move objects, possess people, go through solid items, show you the past/future, appear in mirrors/electronic screens, enter your dreams, oh and best of all, can kill you!

How do you defeat something that is already dead though? You can’t kill them again, ok some films you can for some reason. It’s not easy to physically attack them, although some theories suggest iron can. There are wards or spells that can banish them.

Most of the time though, it seems like they just want their horrible death top be known and avenged. After you assist them, they normally seem happy to go towards whatever afterlife awaits them. Of course you get some that never go away, EVER.

Cô Hầu Gái (The Housemaid) 2016: This Vietnamese ghost movie is set in 1953 during the First Indochinese War. A young girl gets hired to be the housemaid for a French landowner at a haunted French Rubber plantation in Vietnam. This starts out as a kind of love story, but has a far more exciting ending. The ghost scenes and jump scares are quite effective and the storyline keeps you interested. The only thing I didn’t understand is why people were speaking English rather than French (like they should be). When they weren’t speaking Vietnamese of course. Maybe they didn’t want everything subtitled? It also gives you an idea of what life was like for some people during that time, which is not great to be honest.

Chattoe: Kot Tit Winyan (Shutter: Press to Capture Ghosts) 2004: As you can guess from the title this ghost movie has a hiding ghosty photo bombing some guy’s pictures. It turns out that she (the ghost) had a really good reason for this, which is revealed towards the end of the film. It’s always creepy looking at your photo and noticing that something isn’t quite right, especially when you didn’t see anything different at the time of taking it. This film will give you feelings ranging from scared, to upset, to satisfied. Depending on how you view things of course. There is an American remake of this as well, which isn’t overly bad. Of course I’m also a fan of Joshua Jackson so I may be slightly biased on my opinion here. Definitely give the original Thai version a watch though, it’s far more atmospheric than what the Americans gave us.

A Tale of Two Sisters 2003: While this movie is still good, it can be slightly confusing to watch at times, but it’s possible that some details just get lost through translation. The American remake, The Uninvited 2009, does a better job at explaining the ending to its viewers. In saying this though, the original Korean version is still better than the remake (as usual). Both films actually have some differences as well which makes things interesting. There is definitely a few effective jump scares in this movie and a unique storyline which will keep you compelled to watch to see what happens.

Special mentions
*Ju-On 2000 (Japan)
-Pictured Left (Tokyo Video Company)
*Insidious 2010 (Canada/US/UK)
*El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone) 2001 (Spain/Mexico)


“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” ― George A. Romero, Dawn of the Dead.

Zombies are of course the dead soulless human shell which rises to consume the living. There are many movies, TV shows, and video games based on the undead trying to eat every living being in sight! People can generally fight off a few of them, but the real issue comes when there’s a massive horde of them. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long for the undead to grow in numbers and corner the survivors.

How do you kill them though? The most popular theory is to damage the brain/brain stem. Which means they can still be animated after being dismembered as long as the brain is intact. Better not step near that decapitated head then! Zombies also have a craving for flesh, mostly the human kind. I don’t think there’s ever been a clear reasoning for this but it seems to be set into their primal instincts.

If they don’t end up killing you in the feeding frenzy, then you have a good chance of turning into a zombie yourself, via infection through being bitten. What creates zombies? Viruses? Aliens? Necromancers? Again, many theories, but not something anyone ever wants to see in real life.

Busanhaeng (Train To Busan) 2016: This is by far one of the best foreign zombie movies that you will see. You have people trapped on a train with one zombie that very quickly becomes many zombies. There’s little room to escape and of course you get the idiots who manage to get everyone else in trouble. It really shows how selfish some people can get when there’s imminent danger coming for them. All of this together though makes for a very entertaining movie that will have you yelling at the screen. There’s some good gore scenes and even better zombie transformation visuals. Yes, there are some sad parts, but you get that when there’s people getting torn apart by hungry zombies.

The End? L’inferno fuori (The End?) 2017: No, I’m not confused, this movie does indeed have a question mark in the title. It’s a pretty fair question though considering a virus is creating violent angry zombies all over town. I must confess though, the main character in this movie is very unlikeable, but we’re really watching this for the zombies and bloody death scenes. I should also mention that a lot of this movie takes place with the main character stuck in an elevator which broke down when the zombies started taking over. You see what’s going on from his point of view, which must be fun for claustrophobics! This also makes you feel the confusion the character is going through as people in the building get killed and change into zombies. Is it really the end?

Død snø (Dead Snow) 2009: If you’ve ever wanted to see a horror-comedy movie about Nazi zombies then this movie is for you! It has everything from teenagers to gore to a cabin in the woods. This film is clearly aimed towards avid horror fans with influences from other well known horrors and lots of blood and gore, in the snow! The premise of Dead Snow is based around a group of medical students who take a break by going to a secluded cabin for a ski trip. Unfortunately for them though, they get ambushed by a bunch of Nazi zombies. What’s interesting about this film is that the zombies are actually based on a Norse creature called a Draugr. A Draugr is an animated corpse that inhabits its grave and will guard treasure. This makes them act different than the usual zombie as they are faster and display more intelligence. Things that no one wants from a zombie in any circumstance.

Special mentions
*Braindead aka Dead Alive 1992 (New Zealand)
-Pictured Left (ORO Films)
*Blood Quantum 2019 (Canada)
*Night of the Living Dead 1968 (United States)


Aliens! They’re out there, aren’t they? We don’t officially know, but it’s a daunting thought which is on the minds of people all over the world. Would they be friendly? Do they want to kill us? Or experiment on us? Maybe they just want to make some freaky alien-human hybrids. It’s hard to know until it actually happens.

Since we have no idea what they would look like it’s up to our imagination to fill this void. The aptly named Grey alien appears to be most popular. This is the most common alien type reported by people who have claim to be abducted. You may recognise them as being the tall figures with pale grey/green skin, large bulbous head, and eerie black oval eyes. Honestly though, any alien encounter would be frightening no matter how different they looked. Let’s hope that if aliens do openly visit the Earth, it will be for genial reasons.

Спутник (Sputnik) 2020: It’s 1983 and two Russian cosmonauts are on an orbital research mission. Upon returning to Earth though, they see something moving outside their ship. The ship malfunctions on re-entry and only one cosmonaut survives. The surviving cosmonaut is taken to quarantine at a military facility. So where’s the alien? Well, it’s actually living inside this guy’s oesophagus! The alien has created a symbiotic relationship in which it feeds from its human’s nutrients while the human was able to fully recover from the horrific crash. The poor guy doesn’t know that the alien is living inside him and has no idea why he has been quarantined. What’s even worse is that the alien ventures out at night to feed on living people, which the military has happily been providing it, because they want to weaponise it, of course. While some points may sound a little cliché, it actually makes for a quite interesting film. The alien is also kinda cute, when it’s not snarling at you.

Xtro 1983: How does one even describe this movie? I watched it wondering what magical drugs they were on when thinking this film up. A guy gets abducted by a bright light, three years later the light comes back and leaves a gross alien looking thing. The gross alien assaults a woman, who quickly gets very pregnant from the event. She gets torn apart birthing the guy who was taken from the beginning. This is only the first part of the movie! Watch this movie if you’re looking for something insane and trippy. British people are weird.

Predator 1987: Most people will already know this movie, unless you managed to miss an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, then that’s on you. An elite paramilitary rescue team are on a mission to save hostages from a Central American rainforest. While there they encounter an invisible creature that’s been stalking and killing them. In the end, Arnold survives (of Course!) and alien is dead. There are many movies that follow this one which explain a lot more about what the predator aliens are and why they go to Earth. The first movie though is a good introduction to them as it shows you what they’re capable of and how they use their intelligence and strength to their advantage. I’d like to add, I really don’t have anything bad to say about this franchise. Don’t listen to what critics say and just watch them all!

Special mentions
*Alien 1979 (US/UK)
-Pictured Left (20th Century Fox)
*Bad Taste 1987 (New Zealand)
*Evil Aliens 2005 (United Kingdom)

Big Monsters!

Careful, or the big scary monster will eat you! I mean, just the people in these movies, really. People tend to be afraid of the unknown. Be it the depths of the ocean, inside a dark cavernous cave, or even in your own basement.

We let our imagination get away things and create unnerving scenarios for ourselves. Don’t pretend you’ve never been too scared to walk down a dark tunnel or into a dense forest. It is completely rational though. Being afraid is what keeps us safe. I mean don’t go overboard with it but definitely be sensible when it comes to certain situations. If you do see any big scary monsters… good luck with that.

Tremors 1990: I’m gonna say it, I love this movie! It has horror, comedy, and (Kevin) Bacon! Living in the small desert town of Perfection, nothing interesting ever happens, that is, until now. People are found dead in strange ways, i.e. up a telephone tower until death takes over. It’s discovered that there are large worm like creatures named Graboids living under the ground. The inhabitants of the town try their best to stay off the ground or at least not make noise while they’re on it. Turns out that’s easier said than done for some people. This film really is a lot of fun, so much so that they made 6 more after this one! It does dwindle a little after the second film but Michael Gross appears in ALL of the films and the guy is just super. Watch the first one for Bacon, and the rest for Gross!

The Ritual 2017: This movie starts off with a brutal unprovoked murder of one friend from a group of five. Six months later the remaining four go on a hiking trip in Northern Sweden in memory of their slain friend. They camp there for the night but unfortunately for them, that was their last normal day together. The next morning brings strong rain, injuries and creepy findings in the woods nearby. They feel like there’s something very wrong with their current location but can’t work out why. It turns out that the nearby village have been worshipping a creature called a Jötunn, an ancient god-like entity and an offspring of Loki. Although the creature itself looks more like a Leshy, from Slavic folklore. Whatever it is, it’s horrifying once it makes a full appearance. This film gives viewers a feeling of being watched while still sorrowful after witnessing the murder in the beginning. It’s quite a good monster movie though, as it’s not very often you will see such an unknown creature brought to life on film. Just don’t expect to feel happy along the way

Gwoemul (Monster/The Host) 2006: What happens when you dump 200 bottles of Formaldehyde down a drain which leads into a river? Really bad stuff happens! Over the years people start to notice a large amphibious creature appearing in the water while the fish in the river have been dying off. Six years after the chemical dumping a 35-40 foot green creature named Gwoemul (Monster in Korean, apparently) emerges from the river, kidnaps a girl, and kills several others. It’s quite a scene watching Gwoemul go on a rampage though. For a mutated amphibian monster, it’s actually pretty interesting to look at.

Special Mentions
*Antlers 2021 (US/Mexico/Canada)
-Pictured Left (Searchlight Pictures)
*The Monster 2016 (US/Canada)
*The Mist 2007 (US)

Angry Animals

How could you not love animals? They’re cute, quirky, and love humans! Ok, some love to eat humans but you just need to avoid those ones.

Sometimes people will just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. You could be out enjoying the ocean and a shark could come get you. Or you could be strolling through a large forest and a bear will emerge and savage you. Where you are in the world dictates what large animals are around. There’s always some sort of predator out there just waiting to grab whoever comes near their domain. They can be easy to avoid, just stop going into their homes!

Jaws 1975: This is the film that made people frightened of the ocean. You don’t actually see the gigantic shark for the first part of the film, but the ominous music that we all know signals that it’s near. You see people get pulled into the water followed by a rush of deep red blood. It’s terrifying! When you finally do see the shark you’re in awe at its size. Since CGI wasn’t a well used element in the 1970’s, the film makers created a large robotic shark to give us this visual sensation. Yes it is blatantly fake, but once you get to the point of the reveal your imagination has already constructed this monster fish for you. Actually seeing it just fills in any details we may have left out. And if you saw this robot shark in the ocean, trust me you’ll be screaming before you realise it’s not real.

Boar 2017: Imaging being attacked and killed by a very large wild boar. I imagine it would be pretty painful. Those large tusks, strong teeth, and utter brute strength. Most people are well aware that Australian animals are just there to kill you. People forget about the boars though. Since they’re only found in selected areas, they should be easier to avoid than the spiders and snakes. Also let’s hope they are not as savage and huge. Until you come across one you can watch Boar and just imagine what it will be like to meet one, like the lucky people in this movie did!

The Pool 2018: You know what’s a really bad idea? Falling asleep while floating in a very large ladder-less pool when it’s about to be completely drained. Another bad idea is diving into said pool when the water level has already been severely lowered. Can it get worse? It can! A large crocodile from a nearby area shows up and stumbles clumsily into the pool, which it also can’t get out from now. So you have two silly people trapped in a gigantic empty pool, with a very big and angry (also silly) crocodile. Oh yeah, the crocodile has a nest with eggs in it nearby, so she’s extra moody!

Special mentions
*Man’s Best Friend 1993 (US)
-Pictured Left (New Line Cinema)
*Backcountry 2014 (Canada)
*Tentacles 1977 (Italy/US)


We’ve heard of genies, they get sealed in lamps and are forced to give us wishes right? They’re quirky and try to please us with their overwhelmingly limitless powers.

Turns out, the stories are lying to you. They’re actually called a Djinn, which is a powerful and evil demonic creature that has more power than you can ever imagine. They can create anything within your imagination and unfortunately within theirs as well. They hate having to grant wishes to ungrateful and annoying humans. They will try their best to twist the wish into something evil and gruesome. If you ever do come across a Djinn, be very very careful how you word your wishes.

Wishmaster 1997: This Wes Craven film is such a prime example of how a Djinn can turn your wishes against you. The film starts out with an emperor (year 1127) wishing to see ‘Wonders’. The Djinn promptly grants this wish by having people around the palace mutilated and tortured. Before the emperor can make his last wish, hopefully getting the madness to stop, a sorcerer reveals a fire opal and traps the Djinn inside of it. Present day and many years later, the Djinn is unknowingly released and is free to wreak havoc once again. Still only being able to use his powers when someone wishes for something, he begrudgingly interacts with the human race while enticing them to make a wish. The actor playing the Djinn, Andrew Divoff, does an amazing job. I cannot fault him one bit.  He’s even good in the second film! Don’t bother with 3 and 4 though, he’s not in them. Also this movie has special appearances from some very well-known horror movie actors, Robert Englund being one of them.  It’s also very imaginative in the ways in which the wishes are manipulated. Make your wish!

Long Time Dead 2002: So this film has a different stance on the Djinn lore, making it more of an Arabic Spirit of Fire rather than the wish granting type of being. Also, this creature is summoned via an Ouija Board. This makes sense though seeing as it’s technically a spirit. The angry spirit targets the group of college students who inadvertently summon it using the make shift Ouija Board. One gets possessed by the spirit upon releasing it and kills off the others one by one before they can figure out what’s going on. They eventually confront the evil spirit and try to send it away. Do they succeed? The ending may surprise you.

Djinns aka Stranded 2010: France is not a country that you would expect to see a Djinn movie from, but here it is! This is again a portrayal of the Djinn being a malicious spirit, rather than a wish granter. That’s fine though, it brings us away from the genie trope, which is the G rated version anyways. The premise is set in 1960 where a group of French paratroopers are sent looking for a plane which disappeared in an Algerian desert. They find the plane, but no survivors. Upon being attacked by enemy soldiers, the troops take refuge inside a strange abandoned citadel. Of course they manage to awaken the Djinns, the evil spirits of the desert. These spirits are also invisible, which makes things tricky for the soldiers. It’s a good movie if you like those movies where soldiers end up in places they shouldn’t and start getting killed by supernatural creatures. I think there may be a few of those. Also if you like seeing different versions of the Djinn creature then this one may catch your interest.

Special mention
*The Djinn 2021 (US)
-Pictured Left (IFC Midnight)
*Djinn 2013 (United Arab Emirates)
*Ammar 2014 (Turkey)


That’s right, the friendly maidens of the sea who sing sweetly and rescue drowning sailors. They’re not always depicted this way though. Sometimes they have a more primal and vicious streak. They can intentionally cause ship wrecks and drown hapless sailors, or even consume them. They are part animal after all.

Some humans see them as a sideshow attraction, wanting to capture them and exploit them for money. Where can the mermaid go anyways once it’s out of the water?  Some of them appear to have the inbuilt ability to form legs in order to navigate themselves on land. The Little Mermaid herself had to seek magic to grant her legs!

Because of their beauty, they can be very deceiving. Especially to a lonely sailor. Do you take a chance and hope that they are friendly? Or decide it’s not worth it to go anywhere near one? Maybe these films will influence your decision.

She Creature 2001: This is one of those primal vicious mermaid movies. You can’t really blame the poor creature though, she’s trapped in a tank and then stolen for the use of entertainment in a side show. She does display some empathy towards the main female character though, so she’s not entirely savage. If you weren’t sure if you should be afraid of mermaids then this one will have you considering it. Later in the film she is revealed to be a Naga-like monster who kills and wishes to feed humans to her people.  

Córki dancingu (Daughters of Dancing/The Lure) 2015: This musical film is roughly based on the original Little Mermaid story. Two mermaid sisters (Golden and Silver), leave from the clear waters and join a nightclub as a singer/stripper act. Silver falls in love with a human male and has her tail surgically removed for legs, but this makes her lose her singing voice. If you’re familiar with the original story then you know this won’t end well. Until then you can enjoy the visuals and songs, oh and those tails!

Manhōru no Naka no Ningyo (Mermaid in a Manhole) 1988: This movie is part of the Guinea Pig film series. Now before you go looking those up, be warned that they are graphic and not for those who don’t enjoy gruesome scenes. In saying that, yes this film has some grotesque visuals so don’t feel obligated to watch if that’s not for you. Also, this technically may not count as a true mermaid movie, but the story is actually quite original with an unsuspecting ending that viewers may be interested in seeing. The plot comprises of an artist who rescues a mermaid from a sewer. She has bleeding colourful sores all over her body which he uses as paint. He paints a portrait of her while she suffers from her illness and a nightmarish infestation of worms. Bet you really wanna watch it now, don’t you?

Special mention
*Charlotte’s Song aka Mermaid’s Song 2015 (Canada)
-Pictured Left (Eagle Films)
*Blue My Mind 2017 (Switzerland)
*Mamula (Nymph) 2014 (Serbia/US)

Happy Halloween viewing!

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