What Is Scary Movie Parodying?

Scary movies have been a staple of the film industry for decades. From classic horror films like Psycho and The Exorcist to modern-day hits like The Conjuring and Get Out, they continue to captivate audiences with their suspense, gore, and jump-scares.

However, in recent years, a new trend has emerged in the genre – parody films. But what exactly are these movies parodying?

What Is Parody?
Firstly, let’s define what we mean by “parody.” According to Merriam-Webster, it is “a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule.” In the context of movies, parody films take elements from well-known films and mock them through comedic exaggeration.

The Early Days of Scary Movie Parodies
One of the earliest examples of a scary movie parody was Young Frankenstein (1974), directed by Mel Brooks. It parodied classic horror films like Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with its comedic take on the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. It was a critical and commercial success and paved the way for more horror-comedy parodies.

In 2000, the Wayans brothers released Scary Movie – a parody film that mocked popular horror films from the late ’90s such as Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). Its success spawned four sequels over the next decade that continued to spoof horror movie tropes.

  • Scary Movie 2 (2001) parodied haunted house movies like The Haunting (1999)
  • Scary Movie 3 (2003) took aim at alien invasion movies like Signs (2002)
  • Scary Movie 4 (2006) spoofed disaster films like War of the Worlds (2005)
  • Scary Movie 5 (2013) parodied found-footage horror movies like Paranormal Activity (2007)

The Themes and Tropes of Scary Movie Parodies

So, what exactly do these parody films mock? Here are some common themes and tropes:

The Final Girl Trope

Many horror films follow the “final girl” trope, where a lone female character survives the killer’s rampage. In Scary Movie, this trope is exaggerated to ridiculous levels – the final girl Cindy (played by Anna Faris) manages to survive multiple attacks and even defeats the killer in hand-to-hand combat.

The Annoying Character Trope

Horror movies are notorious for having annoying characters who make irrational decisions that put themselves and others in danger. In Scary Movie, characters like Shorty (played by Marlon Wayans) take this to a whole new level with their absurd behavior and dialogue.

The Jump Scare Trope

Jump scares – sudden loud noises or movements meant to startle the audience – are a common tactic used in horror movies. But Scary Movie takes this trope and turns it on its head with fake-out scares that are more silly than scary.


In conclusion, scary movie parodies take elements from popular horror films and exaggerate them for comedic effect. They mock common tropes like the “final girl,” annoying characters, and jump scares. While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they offer a fun alternative to traditional horror movies.