No Title Productions May 21, 2023 0

How to Make a Horror Film

Horror is one of the most popular film genres – and it’s also one of the most difficult to make successfully. From Peli’s Paranormal Activity to James Wan’s Saw and the countless Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies that have been made, it is a very hit or miss genre that relies heavily on good marketing to find an audience. However, if you can make it work, horror films can be quite lucrative.

The first thing you need to do when making a horror movie is figure out what your story is going to be about. A lot of horror movies have their roots in real life, whilst others are simply plucked out of the imagination of a screenwriter or director. Regardless of where the inspiration comes from, there are a few key things that every horror film must have to be effective:

Creating suspense

The best way to create a sense of suspense in your movie is to build it up slowly. A big part of this is through using the camera to create a sense of claustrophobia in the viewer. This can be done by close-ups, wide shots and voyeuristic perspectives.

Another great way to create suspense is through a slow-burning villain. The audience can become very uneasy about the antagonist, especially if they are shown in a variety of situations and locations. This gives the character a chance to develop and show off their scariest traits.

When it comes to the antagonist, you need to spend a lot of time on their appearance and character. Their physical attributes are important and you need to use a wide range of props and costumes to make them feel creepy. This can be a simple as the mask used by the antagonist in The Nun or a more complex and realistic costume, like that of the killer in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Lighting is often manipulated in horror films to add to the sense of unease. This is often done by placing the lights in the room in a way that casts long and unnatural shadows on faces. It can also be used to make people seem like they are going insane or if something isn’t right in the scene.

Sound effects are another important aspect of a horror film. Whether it’s the sound of someone breathing, their heart beating or a subtle synthesizer soundtrack, horror films can benefit greatly from some creepy sounding music. It’s a good idea to look for royalty free music that you can use legally in your film, as this will save you a lot of money.

Whenever possible, try to avoid gore in your film. Gore can be scary, but too much of it can turn the audience off a movie. A great example of this is the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. While the movie does have some gore, he didn’t make it the main focus of the film.


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