Friday, February 6

A-Z How-to > Horror

To start the ball rolling on my new posts we'll get stuck right in with an A-Z how to: Horror

HANDY HINT: "Creating a set up where the audience does the work is ideal - allowing their minds to runaway encouraged by an effective score, dark lighting and poor visibility means their imagination places their own personal fears there and they anticipate the outcome!"

A ... Animals - A possessed dog or cow with blank red/black eyes - stumbling towards you with it's guts spilling out and frothing at the mouth... RUN, run for your life!
B ... There will be Blood - the more the merrier - dark red for serious gore, light red for humorous or lighthearted horror.
C ... Children - demonic kids in frocks and playing with blocks - nothing worse, or a child singing a haunted tune whilst swinging in the back yard... enough said!
D... Death - people gotta die - killing one of the main characters early lets the audience know no one is safe and anything can happen.
E ... Exorcism and demons is a little over done in my opinion but is still scary none the less.
F ... Farms - why do people in scary films choose to live in such a remote and creepy field/farm? - they don't - the screenwriters are their Realtors and the more remote the location the less people will hear you scream!
G ... Ghosts - we may not find them as scary since Casper or the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, but if you consider the creepy Woman in Black or the Headless horse-man, there's still plenty of reasons to fear the ghosties and the ghoulies!
H ... Home alone - creeks in the floor boards, electricity fails, telephone rings, knock on the door, pulling the blinds, eye's through the letterbox, footsteps behind you - countless opportunities to frighten and unnerve your audience.
I ... Insanity - nothing like an asylum to instantly make people uncomfortable. Alternatively you can have everyone in the film thinking the main character (who is actually right on the money) is insane! I also stands for I told you so!
J ... Jump scares - building the suspense with music to make the ultimate BOO moment... works every time - try drag it out for as long as possible so the audience are begging you to get it over with already!
K ... Knives - the rustier the better, blunt tools, saws and chainsaws - a shed full of murder weapons!
L ... Lights out - the less people can see the more their imagination adds to the scene - useful lighting effects can create shadows, mystery and above all else, fear!
M .... Music - I remember reading that if you watch a horror film on mute it wont be half as scary as if you watch it with the full sound effects and music - like the lighting in a film, the music also tells the audience how to feel/react and helps build tension, suspense and fear.
N ... Night time - goes without saying - the night brings out all the fears in most of us, darkness, unnerving silence, and of course the boogeyman!
O ... Outdoors - stop going outside! you are safer in your home... at least that's what we'd have you believe!
P ... Paranoia - nothing better than making your audience double check over their shoulder as they leave the cinema - mission accomplished!
Q ... Quiet - calm before the storm - silence can speak louder than any bang, footstep or breath!
R ... Relentless/Remorseless - your villain needs to have no heart, not an inkling, he must be merciless and care less about who or how many he slaughters...
S ... Shadows - again creating the idea of paranoia and terror at what's creeping behind me. Outlines and silhouettes of villains wielding knives.... come on you gotta admit it terrifies you!
T .... Tunnels - Dark, long and usually scarce when it comes to medical assistance, cops or other helpful beings... more commonly known as a home for gypsies/hobos and of course your serial killer - or to be less creepy - kind of  - an oncoming train with no escape!
U .... Unknown - however terrifying watching a man walk towards you slaughtering a bunch of people is, to not know whats doing the killing is often worse - we all fear the unknown in some shape or form... think A in Pretty Little Liars!
V ... Voyeur - the creepiest scenes that send chills up your spine are those where we can see the character is being watched. POV of the stalker or voyeur unnerves the audience, makes them uneasy and paranoid
W ... Witches - I'm not talking Harry Potter here... I am thinking more along the lines of Desiree from American Horror Story Coven.... nothing like a little dark magic and curses to rattle your bones!
X .... Xerox - Ok picture yourself home alone and all of a sudden your printer starts printing .... faxes start spilling through, scans/photocopies ... death threats / ransom notes you name it - Xerox are amazing :P
Y .... Yelling - there's nothing like a bloodcurdling scream of someone being tortured... get it just right and out of nowhere - your audience isn't expecting it! BAM- terrified and curious! 
Z .... Zombies - graveyards are some of the spookiest places every at night time, rattling gate, footsteps, rustling trees and ... did you just see that? a hand bursting out of a grave.... RUN!

If you take a notion to pen a Horror film/story just remember it's not all about the effects either. There still needs to be a decent premise, and a fairly good script. No one, not even the seasoned horror junky, likes a poor script with mindless babble and cheesy one liners!

If you liked that, stay tuned folks, the next A-Z How-to will be up on Monday morning!

As always,

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