Holocaust Horror

What is the Holocaust Horror Subgenre?

As the name would suggest, holocaust horror will involve a horrific tragedy in which millions of people are killed. Often, this subgenre refers to the actual Holocaust and the heinous acts that took place during that time. However, speculative future and past events may also be a part of holocaust horror. A popular subgenre of holocaust horror is nuclear holocaust horror where a nuclear bomb has annihilated most of humanity.

Often settings in this subgenre are grim post apocalyptic worlds where protagonists must fight against harsh terrain and cruel antagonists. The violence will be high in this subgenre, not only as a result of the catastrophic event that serves as the setting, but also in the events of the plot.


Holocaust Horror Characteristics

Level of Characterization: The level of characterization for Holocaust Horror is varied, though generally low to moderate for the human protagonists. The supernatural entity haunting the home, however, will often have more characterization than the humans.


Level of Plot: Plots will be low to moderate in Holocaust Horror as plots generally revolve around the human protagonists discovering that something supernatural is haunting their home.


Level of Supernatural: With ghosts, demons, and poltergeists abound in this subgenre, Holocaust Horror definitely has a high level of supernatural.


Level of Scary:  The level of scary varies in haunted house horror, though it is generally moderate to low, as atmospheric thrills are the most effective in this subgenre.


Level of Violence: Violence is a variable factor in Holocaust Horror depending upon the malevolence of the supernatural entity performing the haunting. However, generally in this subgenre, violence is moderate to low.


Typical Setting: A haunted house, of course. Holocaust Horror is typically set in an area that is being haunted by a supernatural being. That being said, the haunting does not necessarily need to take place in a house. Isolated hotels and castles are also popular settings for Holocaust Horror.

Related Horror Subgenres

The zombie horror subgenre is a related subgenre to the holocaust horror subgenre in that, in many tales, zombies are present in the post-apocalyptic world. Nuclear holocaust horror is also related to holocaust horror in that it is its subgenre. Post-apocalyptic horror is a related subgenre. Extreme and visceral horror are related subgenre due to the graphic nature of both genres, and noir horror could be related as well due to the bleak outlooks that the subgenres share.

Don't Read Holocaust Horror If You Dislike…

War, death, and extreme violence. In holocaust horror, a central element is a catastrophic event that wipes out a large portion of humanity. The resulting setting is harsh and violent. If you prefer your scares less bleak and graphic, this is not the genre for you. Additionally, if true stories of terror and nightmarish worlds are not for you, this subgenre may not be for you.

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski- A young boy wanders through the harsh landscape of World War II Europe and encounters nightmarish brutality.


The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg- When a rebel raid goes awry, Jacob finds himself on the train to Auschwitz. Jacob knows he must escape and alert the world to the horrors within.


Night by Elie Wiesel- This memoir tells one teen boy's horrific account of the nightmares that he survived in a Nazi death camp.


Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank- A nuclear holocaust destroys nearly all of the United States. The exception is a small Florida town, but their horror is just beginning.


The Stand by Stephen King- In a world where most of the population is wiped out by a strain of the flu, two leaders emerge. One is the benevolent  Mother Abigail who attempts to rebuild society. The other, the notorious Randall Flagg, relishes causing chaos and violence.


Swan Song by Robert McCammon- In the wake of a nuclear war, a battle between good and evil brews as dark forces hunt humanity's last hope in this Stoker award winning novel.


The Road by Cormac McCarthy- In a ravaged post apocalyptic world, a father and son journey with little else besides a pistol to defend themselves against the harsh terrain and bands of cannibals that roam that would see them as dinner, but as the two journey, will they lose their humanity as well?


The Passage by Justin Cronin- In this trilogy opener, humanity has suffered a terrifying catastrophe. A plague has broken out at the hands of the government in their attempt to create super soldiers. Only a young girl named Amy has the power to save this world, and she must travel alone across an unforgiving terrain to do so.


Earth Abides by George R. Stewart- Disease wipes out nearly all humanity in this post-apocalyptic novel, and society breaks down as the survivors struggle against extinction. Ish, a loner, sees it as his duty to record the end of humanity, until he meets Em, who teaches him to hope.


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson- Part vampire and part zombie, the monsters in this novel were the results of a pandemic spread through biological warfare. Robert Neville, the seemingly sole survivor, documents his efforts to cure the disease in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This story was one of the forerunners of the zombie genre.

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