Disaster Films Vs. Horror Films


Apocalypse TV streaming service is giving disaster film lovers everything they need to destroy the world and they are tying it in with the horror market.  But it got me to thinking about the disaster film genre and if it does indeed belong under horror.

There’s that age-old debate about horror and science fiction and whether they are exclusive of one another. Is Alien a horror film, a sci-fi film or a sci-fi film with horror elements, or vice-versa?

To me, Alien is a horror film that happens to take place in space, but that’s just my opinion. Anyone else who has their own can cast their comments below.

But disaster films are completely different. I have always thought of them as being in a class by themselves, but then what about World War Z and Dawn of the Dead?

These films don’t destroy the world with meteors or extreme weather, they do it with zombies, classic horror monsters.

Then we are back to the Alien question: if a disaster film contains zombies or other apocalyptic monsters are the films then classified as horror?

Before you ask, why does it have to be classified as anything but a movie? Keep in mind every movie ever made has been filed under something.

War of the Worlds is another example. Hostile aliens destroy cities all over the world, hunting down humans, evaporating them with death rays.

It sounds like horror to me.

I know a lot of you will say, “Horror is subjective, everyone has their own definition of it.” And that is true, we have discussed this before.

But consider iHorror covering San Andreas or Geostorm, does that bruise the feelings of the hardcore fans, the purists who don’t think these films are horror movies at all? And yes, we care what you think.

Nicolás López and Eli Roth’s experiment Aftershock was a crossover between the genres.  On the one hand, a devastating tragedy destroyed a city, but that released a horde of Purge-type criminals who attack our heroes in gruesome and bloody ways. Not to mention the collateral damage of falling concrete, glass, etc.

So to that end, can we classify Roth’s film as horror, or keep it strictly a disaster?

Listen, I don’t think any of us want to extend the labels of the genre to an nth degree: Shaun of the Dead is a horror/comedy/disaster/action/romance.

We want our genre classes singular; otherwise, they wouldn’t exist in the first place.

The world could probably use fewer labels, but in entertainment, they are a part of the initial pitch. Even IMDb needs to organize their database.