Watch: The history of why the suburbs have become a horror movie trope

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Syfy Wire Staff
Jan 10, 2017

It’s such a staple of the horror genre that you might not even notice it anymore — but why do so many stories take place in the suburbs?

The answer’s not as easy as you might think, so we decided to take a deep dive into where it all started and why it persists. From the birth of the suburbs themselves, to how the setting was first used in films like The Stepford Wives and Halloween as a scary setting, we break it all down. There’s just something about a place where things are supposed to be perfect — sometimes a little too perfect — that creates a formula for horror.

One perfect example? The early 1980s classic Poltergeist showed almost perfectly how the illusion of suburban safety can be anything but. From analogies about consumerism, to ways the mundanity of life can push us over the edge, the suburbs provide them all. The setting even saw a nice throwback last year in Netflix's surprise hit Stranger Things, showing it's as relevant as ever.

Check out our in-depth feature below and let us know what you think: