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Old 10-24-2009, 11:07 PM   #1
Gabe-in-a-Box
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Horror Film Techniques

Hey evryone this is my first post here but I'm thinking that this is a good site to get some advice from. Right now I'm thinking about starting a horror film. To prepare I've started to read about some techniques that Alfred Hitchcock (even though he is known more for suspense) and other directors have used in horror films. I have some pretty good ideas but you can always have more so I am wondering if anyone has any ideas or if they would like to share what they like/dislike/think is scary in scary movies. Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:43 AM   #2
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* Sound and music are a huge part of the genre. Watch some Carpenter movies for a good example of simple, suspensful music and sound.

* Don't go handheld just because 'it's in' and you think it will add tension. Use it sparingly.

* Watch some old '70s Italian horror films...if you want to go stylized lighting with your picture, these are great for inspiration.

* If you're looking to grab a younger (but adult) audience...blood and boobs. I know I know...but it's true.

Those are a few things to think about.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:26 AM   #3
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Dont forget a good story... its an important part
And i personally think rather then having ghosts with bad makeup, its better to create a story in which things are left on the imagination of audience. GURUS might advise you better regarding this but this is my personal opinion
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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Yeah I was thinking about having it where you don't really know what it is until somewhere near the end of the video and I'm spending a lot of time now just working on the story and making it different from a lot of other horror movies. There are so many good ideas for movies but they've been used so many times before that I'm trying to avoid them. Yeah the Carpenter movie music is really good and fits well. I think Halloween is an example of a pretty good movie for a pretty low budget so that's what I'm sort of aiming for. George Romero is another director who I think is really good and guess what? 70's Italian horror!
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1chae1 View Post
* Sound and music are a huge part of the genre. Watch some Carpenter movies for a good example of simple, suspensful music and sound.

* Don't go handheld just because 'it's in' and you think it will add tension. Use it sparingly.

* Watch some old '70s Italian horror films...if you want to go stylized lighting with your picture, these are great for inspiration.

* If you're looking to grab a younger (but adult) audience...blood and boobs. I know I know...but it's true.

Those are a few things to think about.
Great advice, esp. the stuff in red.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:42 PM   #6
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if you're going to make a horror film, there's a lot of things that you got to know.

1. Don't place constant scares throughout the film (aka jump scenes)-it makes the viewer desensitized to your attempts, and stops becoming scary after the first thirty minutes. You have to build up the terror, and give time for the audience to relax between each intense scene.

2. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES make a plot similar to the Evil Dead. Many horror film enthusiasts try this on their first try and fail. Work yourself upwards before attempting a masterpiece like the Evil Dead.

3. Like it was said before, Blood and Boobs are your key.

4. SLASHER FILMS ARE PLAYED OUT - Jason X was a message saying that slasher films are done. There isn't much you can do in that genre and still be original and memorable. Try your best to stay away from a topic that's too cliche.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ad2478 View Post
create a story in which things are left on the imagination of audience
This is great advice. Don't show too much, the audience can always come up with something scarier inside their own heads than what you could ever show them.

That's why the Blair Witch Project was so successful. You never see the witch, but she still scares the living crap out of you.

Also, you might want to check this link out:

http://filmmakeriq.com/general/featu...to-scream.html

It has all the best horror documentaries by horror gurus like john carpenter, and goes in depth on what makes a really good horror film.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:03 PM   #8
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Wow lots of great advice! Thanks everyone so far. Yeah I'm not going to try and do a slasher just because I agree with everything you pretty much said.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:06 PM   #9
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WHOA! themattcastro, I just looked at the link and started watching some of the videos. There's a lot of really good stuff in there. Thanks for the big help there.
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Old 10-25-2009, 06:18 PM   #10
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That link is basically a goldmine for horror insights. I love making horror films, so I've been researching the topic for a while now.

I hope everything goes well with your film! Just keep working at it!
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:05 PM   #11
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The scariest creatures/monsters are always the ones that don't talk or make noises. And as far as the blood and boobs part well, at least as far as the blood part, boobs are always good . Don't get too excessive with the blood. Leave it to the audience to fill in the blanks as far as torture and dismemberment go. If done correctly that can be much scarier and more painful than anything you could make with anything less than a hollywood budget.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themattcastro View Post
if you're going to make a horror film, there's a lot of things that you got to know.

1. Don't place constant scares throughout the film (aka jump scenes)-it makes the viewer desensitized to your attempts, and stops becoming scary after the first thirty minutes. You have to build up the terror, and give time for the audience to relax between each intense scene.

2. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES make a plot similar to the Evil Dead. Many horror film enthusiasts try this on their first try and fail. Work yourself upwards before attempting a masterpiece like the Evil Dead.

3. Like it was said before, Blood and Boobs are your key.

4. SLASHER FILMS ARE PLAYED OUT - Jason X was a message saying that slasher films are done. There isn't much you can do in that genre and still be original and memorable. Try your best to stay away from a topic that's too cliche.
Some really great tips in the post and in the quote ! i am really enjoying reading this thread...hope to see a lot more...by the way i dont remember it is mentioned or not but lighting can play a great role
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:42 AM   #13
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* Don't go 'torture porn'...that is played out, and annoying. I don't want to judge people here, but seeing a girl tied up and realistically tortured is not my idea of horror, and actually makes me think the filmmakers and people who enjoy that are imbalanced and sick. I actually hate it. Have some fucking imagination for creep sake.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:07 AM   #14
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I'm sure someone else mentioned this, but lighting is truly one of the most important aspects of a horror film. I don't think you can ever pay too much attention to that.

Good advice on the torture porn/Evil Dead/slasher films. Try to stay as far away from that as possible.

Personally I'd love to see someone try for a truly frightening film that features virtually no blood or even none at all. It seems like it's been too long since something like that.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnaclelapse View Post
Personally I'd love to see someone try for a truly frightening film that features virtually no blood or even none at all. It seems like it's been too long since something like that.
Paranormal Activity as one example.
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