Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Horror Film Writing, All About the Chase

Horror Film Writing, All About the Chase

For the longest time those who would write a horror movie have confused horror with thriller. This is not surprising since most film companies advertise thrillers as horror films. Before you sit down to write a horror film or a thriller you must keep one rule in mind.

In a horror film something is chasing the lead character.

In a thriller the lead character is chasing something.

In Halloween Michael Myers doing all of the chasing.

In Silence of The Lambs Agent Starling is doing all of the chasing.

 I understand that despite the fact that Agent Starling ends up in a classic horror film situation near the end of the film it is still a thriller and not a horror film. In almost every thriller the one who is chasing ends up being chased in act three by the villain.

In a horror film the chase does not end until the credits are about to roll if the main character survives.
The next thing you must keep in mind is that the audience has seen it all and surprising them is most likely not gonna happen so I would avoid rehashing the cool kill scene from Elm Street 4. Instead you should focuse of crafting characters who the audience can care about. All great horror films have the same thing in common. All of them, back to the earily days, from Frankenstein to the Wolfman, The Thing to Night of the Living Dead, Alien to the Descent, The Exorcist to The Sixth Sense, have strong characters in common. Even the ones that are going to die are relatable to the audience. Watch any horror movie and I promise you that the first sign of a bad one is that they are populated with characters that the writer and director do not like or even hate.

Consider these things when writing your horror film. If you would like more advice on how to write your low budget film I would suggest (shameless plug coming) getting a copy of my book On Writing a low Budget film. You can click the image on the side of the page. It is available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Smashwords.

Writing a quality screenplay or finding someone who can is ob one of producing a great low budget film. Your script is your blueprint and everything you do as a digital film maker will flow from it. The best cameras and finest sound equipment on earth will not save a bad script.

Consider this and try to study a few classic horror films to understand the way a good script should be structured. I would recommend reading the screenplays for the films The Exorcist (best horror script ever), The Sixth Sense, Alien and Tom Holland’s script for the original Fright Night.  Stephen King was right when he said if you want to be a good writer then you have to read a lot if you wish to write well.

That will be it for today. Take a moment to share this post and to add me to your google plus. On google plus you will get updates from my other film making sites.


No comments:

Post a Comment