Why Are My Dreams Like Horror Movies?

Most horror movies are clichéd. There’s always at least one chase scene. Then, someone or something jumps out of the shadows and scares the hell out of someone. It turns out to be nothing. The monster gets killed only to come back when the protagonists least expect it.

Have your dreams been clichéd but ostensibly scary lately? Maybe they’re not really clichéd, but rather fear-provoking.

If you find that many of your dreams are like horror movies, your subconscious is working to put fears in context. It’s a season in life, a time to conquer fears. You recognize that there are some terrible things out there, things that can kill you, things that can make you hurt. Perhaps you’ve been traumatized in some way. You’re in the process of managing these fears. It’s time to face them.

Think of dreaming when you sleep as a natural way to practice facing these fears.

Don’t want to face them? I’m sorry. We humans are built that way. It’s probably a matter of survival.

Personally, I’ve had these kinds of dreams at transitional times when I’ve been dreading some kind of change that’s coming up. The transition wasn’t necessarily life-threatening but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t threatening in some other way. The best way to deal with fears like these is to find out as much as you can about what change is coming up.

Very important: be sure to consider both positives and negatives. The goal isn’t to “look on the bright side.” Rather, it’s to appraise the situation objectively.


People have a survival instinct. That’s the takeaway from the best horror movies. Deep down, you know you might be taken out by these things you’re afraid of and worry about. You’re not going to go down without a fight, however. Deep down, you know that fear and anxiety aren’t helpful.

Like the movies, these dreams usually feature tropes like being chased, things popping out of the shadows, fear, an inability to scream, and sometimes a feeling of being lost.

Your subconscious is putting you through the paces so that you don’t end up like a supporting character in a cheesy horror movie, figuratively or literally.

The creatures in your horror movie dream

Just like no horror movie is complete without scary creatures or a scary something, neither is a horror movie dream.

Most of the time, these creatures are in the shadows in the movies. That might not necessarily be the way it is in your dream. Try to understand what the creatures in these horror movie dreams are like, and what they might mean to you. Try to remember every single detail you can. Get the drop on them!

When you’ve processed dealing with these fears fully, the dreams should stop, and you’ll enter another season of life.

For further reading:

3 steps to facing your nightmares

What does getting shot at in a dream mean?


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. Cobb has over 50 years of experience in dreaming, studied psychology, and has read widely in dream analysis. He has worked with many others to help them understand their dreams and regularly journals his dreams.


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