Most horror films today struggle to come up with a new concept. Young adults begin to experience the horror genre of films without the realization that it is a remake, a reboot, or revision of an old and crafted movie. Most teens see the films as a new concept, but when a movie-savvy adult sees the same film, they can see the influences. Sometimes these influences are done without the intent of making a connection and sometimes they are done to pay homage to the original. The film industry leans on the concept of originality, but most films have a trace to the first idea. Intertextuality and hybridization (the blending of genres) play a role in today’s horror films. It is almost as if the two coincide in a well-blended marriage.

Intertextual referencing has been a part of the horror film formula since the late 1970s and early 1980s. Intertextuality acknowledges a work within a work, by an author borrowing and referencing another work. Professor Valerie Wee argues that the lines between films are blended and crossed by referencing previous film installments (49). As young adults mature and become adults, they can make a connection to films from their youth. An adult can connect the subtle allusions from John Carpenters 1978 film Halloween. Carpenter indirectly references Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960s film Psycho and the 1974 film Black Christmas by Bob Clark. Dr. Samuel Loomis from the film Halloween is a psychiatrist who treats the killer “Michael Myers” in the mental institution. Dr. Samuel Loomis is an allusion to Hitchcock’s film Psycho. Norman Bates (the killer) first victim from the film Psycho is a man named Sam Loomis. Carpenter would also borrow from Clark’s slasher film.

Bob Clark the director of the holiday film A Christmas Story also created another holiday film but in the horror genre. Clark created Black Christmas, one of the first horror slasher films approximately ten years before the family holiday classic. Many references—whether direct or indirectly—can be traced back to Black Christmas. The film set up many of the tropes used in future films. The killers first person point of view used by many directors in films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street can be traced back to Black Christmas. The lines “The calls are coming from inside the house” made famous in the 1979 film When a Stranger Calls by Fred Walton are an indirect reference to Black Christmas. Many early horror films hold a tension that never releases. As the decade came to a close, so did the fulltime tension, and the 1980s would establish the formula for future slasher horror films.

David Lewis suggests that hybridization crosses boundaries and creates “hybrid genres” (90). Films in the 1980s were not only using intertextuality but also crossed boundaries. The horror slasher films began crossing genres by adding elements of comedies. The film Friday the 13th Part 2 by Steve Miner uses the character Ted as comic relief. He is the camp jokester that always plays pranks on the other counselors. Ted represents the nerdy type who loves to drink and party. Ted’s decision to not return to camp allows him to survive otherwise certain death. Miner—whether intentional or inadvertently—through a technicality creates the first final guy and breaks the slasher film rules. The slasher films would use comedy as part of their formula and become an intertextual parody of themselves.

By the end of the 1980s, the teen slasher horror genres had become overly saturated by imitators and sequels. The films became stale and nothing more than a parody of themselves. The teen slasher genres began to dwindle as the classics were not generating interest anymore. Then in 1996, the film Scream by Wes Craven would revitalize the teen horror genre. The film takes intertextuality referencing to the extreme while maintaining a level of hybridization which does not deter from the plot structure. The film and its sequels have been studied for its ability to use the philosophy of postmodernism effectively. The foundation of the film is in its ability to move the plot by using “intertextual referencing.” The film Scream, with its “blending of codes” has many allures (Wee 46). The film’s extreme usage of “intertextual referencing” created a new format, with new rules, which future films and television shows followed and opened for investigation.