Horror film characters as allegories
Horror movies have to quickly set up characters personalities in the first
to be something we all pick up on, so we have a visceral reaction when they get splattered across the screen. All personality traits in horror films are an allegory of the seven deadly sins You’re not going to a splatter flick and just getting jump scares, you’re going to them and witnessing modern morality plays.
The Fat Dude (Gluttony)
One of the sure fire ways to be one of the victims in a horror film is going overboard with the slushies and nachos. The fact is everyone has a large friend, the character is relatable in that no one really knows a fat jerk, all fat dudes are jolly so their deaths are somewhat of an emotional pull. The Glutton is usually either undone by food/drink itself (murdered in the kitchen) or by the fruits of that excess (Rule #1 Cardio)
The Rigid Authority Figure (Wrath)
This character comes in different subsets: The straight laced but overly punitive teacher/counselor or the deranged domineering figure IE a crooked cop/doctor/politician. Everyone deals with an uptight authority figure in their daily lives so in horror movies those types of characters are easy to root for their death, their death usually comes towards the end and depending on the subset the movie watcher is actually actively cheering for it to be as gruesome as possible. Wrath usually wins small battles and loses the war in these movies.
The Dork (Envy)
Being nerdy is extremely hazardous in horror movies for a few reasons. For one, the nerd is often the most curious, investigating noises and trying to figure out the situation is a fast track for a knife to the back. The dorks story arch also makes it clear their the outsider and a loner type those type tend not to make the final scenes because they are envious about something (the jock getting the girl)
Yea these characters are often introduced within the first five minutes and you know both are dead asap. The characters are usually overly vapid even for these types of movies and the characters are usually dispatched after provided the films necessary nude shots. A few caveats can apply to this couple but in general the Lust element of horror films don’t last till the final scene.
The Jock/Beauty Queen(Pride)
Killing folks is wrong. But killing overly arrogant is a given in horror films This character type is who is always making life hard for the main character. Their overly arrogant attitude usually lead directly to their downfall immediately after a poor decision. Character usually dies towards the end of the film as form of catharsis before the main villain either succeeds or fails.
420 blaze it fam. Regardless of gender the character is immediately noticeable and pegged early, aloof and free-spirited and usually slaughtered while ripping on a bong before the halfway point. The message is clear: Don’t do drugs or you might take a pitch fork to the chest.
The Opportunist (Greed)
This character trait usually overlaps with Wrath and the Rigid Authority figure but not always, a staple in horror films is the man in pursuit of profit who ignores all warnings of potentially doom (The idiots who keep reopening Camp Crystal Lake) This character always gets got in a gruesome way for failing to observe the warnings and taking in their greed
So who survives a horror film any way and why? The righteous of course, the person or persons who represents the least of all the above usually make it out alive. That is why I said in the lede that horror movies are modern morality tales. The formula for these films is simple and incredibly easy to replicate over and over for entertainment. These films show what we dislike in ourselves, we watch some dark figure kill those traits and then we celebrate the survivor because we blindly see the best of ourselves in that survivor.