How to Learn English With Scary Movies

There’s something about horror films that fascinate us – we love being scared, especially in the comfort of our own homes. But have you ever stopped to think about how these terrifying movies can help you learn English and develop your skills?


English language movies are rich and vibrant, so there’s bound to be a genre that suits your interests. We've picked to explore how horror films can raise both your adrenaline and your English levels.


How can horror films help develop your English skills?


There are a number of positive effects horror movies can have on your language learning capabilities without you even knowing it.


First off, horror films are interesting and exciting


This is obvious; however, some people might prefer certain genres of horror to others, so it's best to choose a horror film that really interests you. Many horrors may fall within other genres too. Some include action, drama, psychological, zombie, supernatural, science fiction, fantasy or thriller. 


They also help you learn new English words


Use subtitles and keep your dictionary nearby, so when you hear a new word you can quickly check it up! You’re bound to come across a few key words and phrases they’re not teaching you in English class. The more time you spend looking up a word, the more likely it is you’ll remember it. Once your proficiency level is high enough, you can watch the films in English without subtitles.


Always remember that it's fine to miss some words; don't let the more difficult words distract you from the fun experience of watching films.


scary movie man learning English - horror film
You can learn and be scared at the same time – who knew?


Defining horror genres


There are so many types of horror films that make this genre rich and complex, from classic genre-defining movies to ridiculous horror satires. Take a look at few of the more notable genres below.


Classic horror films


These tend to be based on literature or old folklore monsters. One of the most memorable movies is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) which is based on the horror novel of the same name.




These have less of a budget than big studio films. Perhaps one of the most entertaining examples of this genre is ABCs of Death (2012). This film was directed by 26 directors who were each assigned a letter of the alphabet and had to create a scary short film based on that letter.


Slasher films


A slasher film typically involves a violent psychopath that stalks and murders people. One of the most famous is Halloween (1978) which was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”


Psychological thrillers 


These can be way more terrifying than monster movies, but they often contain supernatural elements like ghosts and spirits. The Babadook (2014) is one-of-a-kind in using these elements to represent the destructive power of grief.



Learn English through a horror film

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Horror film vocabulary


Now let’s have a closer look at some of the more common horror genre vocabulary. These are words you’re likely to come across while watching a horror film, so pay close attention!


 Word   Parts of Speech  Meaning
  Legend   Noun

 A traditional story or folklore   sometimes regarded as   historical but not proven to be   true

  Corpse   Noun

 A dead body, especially of a     human being

  Zombie  Noun

 A reanimated corpse that has   transformed into a creature   capable of movement but not   of thought; they often feed on   human flesh

  Psychopath  Noun

 A person suffering from a   mental disorder with violent   social behavior

  Black comedy   Noun

 A film, play or literary work     that presents a tragic or   distressing subject matter in a   funny way

  Supernatural   Adjective  Referring to an invisible world   of ghosts and spirits
  Spirit / ghost   Noun  A supernatural being without a   physical body
  Grief   Noun

 Overwhelming sorrow,   especially caused by the   death of a loved one

  Evil  Adjective  Extremely bad or wicked
  Witch   Noun  A person with magic or   supernatural powers
  Terrify   Verb  To make someone feel   frightened
  Paranormal   Adjective  Strange and unexplained by   science
  Psychological  Adjective

 The effects on a person’s   mental and emotional state


Horror films - girl screaming
You've probably experienced the feeling of being terrified while watching a horror film


If you aren't a horror fan, then why not get stuck into a different genre movie, or TV show. You can also learn English when gaming or listening to podcasts. Or if you'd like to move abroad to learn English, take a look at what courses we offer. 


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