Question: Is Jurassic Park a horror movie?

Yes or no?

Wikipedia classes Jurassic Park as a science-fiction adventure movie. IMDB offers up a similar classification, calling it an adventure, sci-fi, thriller.

Head on over to Box Office Mojo and Jurassic Park is filed under four genres: Creature Feature, Dinosaur, Sci-Fi Adventure and Sci-Fi Based on Book.

All of the above (especially the ‘dinosaur’ genre classification) are of course valid and correct – but should Jurassic Park also be listed as a horror movie?

Let’s consider a few things about the story:

  • The helpless humans cut off from the outside world
  • Terrifying creatures picking the humans off one by one
  • The velociraptors (that kitchen scene in particular)
  • All the deaths – especially Nedry’s

Now add to this the use of lighting (the creepy night time scenes for the T-Rex and the dilophosaurus); the use of ear-piercing sounds to create a reaction with the audience; and the scene where Ellie Sattler discovers Ray Arnold’s severed arm. All pretty scary stuff, right?

But do all these things equate to a horror movie? And if not a horror movie, then at least a very scary monster movie?

Well, according to director Steven Spielberg, no. Speaking on the documentary, Return to Jurassic Park, the director said:

“The second I read (Michael Crichton’s) book, I realised that we weren’t dealing with monsters and this was not going to be a genre of horror, science-fiction, fantasy or back to the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine culture, but instead this was a really credible look at how dinosaurs might someday be brought back alongside modern mankind – and that really fascinated me and immediately set my own template for not making this a monster movie.”

So, when he directed Jurassic Park, Spielberg didn’t set out to place it within a particular genre; instead he wanted to focus on the ‘reality’ of bringing dinosaurs back to life. However, as we can see for ourselves, Jurassic Park borrows elements from various genres, including science-fiction, action, adventure, fantasy and yes, horror.

So, is Jurassic Park a horror movie? Well, I’d say it isn’t specifically a horror movie, but I wouldn’t say it wasn’t either. For me, Jurassic Park contains enough elements to at least recognise it as a horror movie, even if’s not 100% horror.

But what do you think? Is Jurassic Park a horror movie? Sound off in the comments section.