We seem to have a number of questions under the tag relating to works that contain no discernible science fiction or fantasy content.

Obviously horror stories with supernatural or sci-fi elements are very firmly on-topic, but what about horror stories that don't have these?

  • 4
    I don't think so. Horror is less a genre and more an extra layer on top of the genre. The bigger problem is determining if a story-id is on topic without knowing the answer.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    May 21, 2016 at 10:42
  • @AncientSwordRage - Indeed. And the general principle would surely be that if it's revealed to be pure horror, then it should be closed. The issue seems to be that a) We're not doing that and b) There are several open questions where the OP openly admits that there's no scifi/fantasy content.
    – Valorum
    May 21, 2016 at 12:47
  • 2
    I'm struggling to think of any horror that I wouldn't also consider SFF ...
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    May 21, 2016 at 15:29
  • @Randal'Thor Taylor Swift is stalking me
    – Molag Bal
    May 21, 2016 at 15:45
  • 2
    @anaranjada I'm too afraid to click on that link ...
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    May 21, 2016 at 15:47
  • @RandalThor you might be defining horror as having SFF in it, in which case the examples advice are not horror and still not on-topic.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    May 21, 2016 at 17:32
  • @Randal'Thor Possibly useful example: Slenderman. Since no explanation is ever given for his existence, we can't know if he's an alien or a genetic experiment or some other sci-fi-y entity, but the most famous ARGs revolving around the character are clearly trying to be some kind of "horror".
    – Ixrec
    May 21, 2016 at 17:36
  • @Ixrec Granted, there are not necessarily any sci-fi elements in the Slenderman mythos, but how could it not qualify as fantasy?
    – recognizer
    May 22, 2016 at 5:27
  • 2
    I'd say essentially any supernatural horror falls somewhere under the umbrella of fantasy. Pure serial killer stories, or "torture porn" etc, certainly don't qualify, but even the likes of Friday the 13th or The Hills Have Eyes contain fantasy elements.
    – recognizer
    May 22, 2016 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


I think we should operate a simple rule;

  • If a question is about a horror work that contains some element of science fiction or fantasy (anything supernatural) then it's on-topic and fine to stay.

  • If a question is about a horror work that has no discernible elements of science fiction or fantasy (e.g. is simply about people being killed or harmed or scared in an elaborate fashion) then it's off-topic and should be closed.

The corrolary of this is

  • Where questions turn out to be about an off-topic work, they should be retained.
  • What about the first link in your question? It involves someone who thinks that there is some demonic activity (the twins are demons, or something), but it turns out not to be true. Does that count as a supernatural element?
    – Molag Bal
    May 22, 2016 at 6:38
  • @anaranjada - IMHO it's off-topic. The OP is well aware that there's no SFF content.
    – Valorum
    May 22, 2016 at 6:40
  • 1
    "Where story-identification questions turn out to be about an off-topic work, they should be retained" ...retained? I'm confused. Don't you mean to say they should be closed if they're shown to be off-topic? May 23, 2016 at 10:30
  • @jolenealaska - We don't generally close seemingly on-topic (ID) questions if they turn out to be off-topic.
    – Valorum
    May 23, 2016 at 12:56
  • So, Chucky yes, Misery no.
    – Spencer
    Sep 30, 2021 at 12:32

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