“So you want to make a horror film?…”

Now that I have a complete project treatment and a clear outline on where I want to go with my project, I have started to research further into articles and pieces of video that can relate to my new project ideas.

As I am attempting to create a short horror piece that creates fear within my audience (even though the story is not an actual horror story !), I found this article by Film Maker Magazine very helpful and relevant. I have never created a horror video before which without the right research and practice could become a massive hindrance; however this article plainly explains what it is that people find so fascinating with horror and the easiest ways to create successful pieces of fearful video. Even thought my story line isn’t one that is filled with monsters, ghosts and gore and instead is just a simple story of a female being chased by her dissertation deadline, the same concept of horror movie formats apply to my piece of video if I want to be able to create this fear within my audience which is the overall goal of my project.

In the article it states that “technique, execution and timing are crucial” if I want to make a simple horror video that manages to actually scare audiences. They also state that a good horror film builds on atmosphere and is not just ” a steady stream of jump scares”.  Being able to build an atmosphere is what can either make or break how successful you are at scaring an audience.

“A good horror film has an underlying atmosphere, a moody visual undertone that creates a sense of dread, wonder and mystique and leaves us with snapshots of unforgettable imagery” – A.D.Calvo, FilmMaker Magazine

“…it’s more about haunting foreplay than bang, bang, and you’re dead.” – A.D.Calvo, FilmMaker Magazine

A.D.Calvo (the writer of the article) explains that suspense is key to creating atmosphere. People are generally more scared of what they can’t see rather than being confronted with something they can see as they are able to make sense of what they can see and can become immune to the fear that is being offered. Calvo says that suspense “should be a natural byproduct of your narrative” and not be forced into the story line. This is key to me as it has told me that my story line / story board needs to include naturally suspenseful situations such as someone moving in the background in a dark corridor, rather than try and force it on situations which wouldn’t be considered full of suspense e.g. boiling a kettle.

“Darkness and dramatic shadow are often used to elicit suspense, like when we hear something and can’t see what it is, or catch a glimpse of something moving in the background but can’t quite make it out.”

“The sense of blindness increases tension. It’s creepy to hear something and not know where it’s coming from.”

The post talks about the different jump scares which are involved within horror movies. Jump scares are crucial as they can add to the suspense; however, they need to be carried out well and with good timing otherwise they can add up too “a series of annoying bangs”.

Basic Jump Scare – we suddenly see something creepy and punctuate it with sound design (an orchestral swell or a percussive hit).

Faux Scare (a.k.a., Cat Scare, Cabinet Scare) – when something is making a sound and it turns out to be just a cat—one that jumps out, hissing, at the protagonist (or at camera).  “We breathe a sigh of relief in that moment, but then, oftentimes, we’re hit again, BANG!!, the Double Scare – BUT this time, it’s the boogeyman.”

Reveal Scares (e.g., Door Scare, Mirror Scare)- the protagonist swings open a door, obscuring the background, then they close the door, revealing the monster standing right behind them, like a magic trick.“That one gets me every time. And it also works great with mirrors. I mentioned this type of scare above, under Suspense, but without the overt use of sound design, it plays out differently, adding more suspense rather than triggering a jump.”

All of these revelations from the article are all ones that have been able to help me with the kind of approach I am going to take with my own horror video. It is an article that gives me the DO’s and the DONT’S for creating my horror video while also telling me what vital parts of horror need to be included to make my video successful. The different jump scare explanations will be important to me as jump scares are what make a horror video so they are crucial to my own production, which I have a better understanding of now that I have read this article by FilmMaker magazine.

A.D.Davo. 2013. So you want to make a horror film? On jumpscares and other frights. [ONLINE] Available at: http://filmmakermagazine.com/76622-so-you-want-to-make-a-horror-film-on-jump-scares-and-other-basics-of-fright/#.Vwzt8nErJaQ. [Accessed 13 April 2016].

 

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