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. With Halloween getting closer we thought it would be fun 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 its best to choose a horror film that really interests you.

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
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.

B-films  – 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.


Halloween movie genres learn English
Whats your favorite scary movie?

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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!

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

Psychological (adjective): the effects on a person’s mental and emotional state

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


Scared girl halloween learning English
You've probably experienced the feeling of being terrified while watching a horror film


Remember that Halloween is the only day of the year when it is fun to open your door to zombies, witches, ghosts and vampires! What are your favorite horror films? Share them with us on our Facebook channel or in the comment section below.

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