Psychologist Dr. Glenn D.Walters identifies primary factors of the horror film allure.
Tension – created through mystery, suspense, gore, terror or shock… all of these being straightforward elements of horror film making.
As I am not focusing on a stereotypical horror monster that can create terror and gore, I am going to have to rely on suspense and mystery when it comes to creating my own short horror film. This is going to be done by taking inspiration from films such as ‘The Strangers’ (which can be seen here) and using elements that I have learnt from the movie such as jump scares and creating the illusion of something happening when nothing exciting is actually happening.
Relevance – Dr Walters argues that for a horror video to be seen it has to be relevant to potential viewers.
Relevance can take the form of universal relevance , capturing the universal fear of death and the unknown.
It can also take the form of cultural relevance, for example dealing with societal issues.
Personal relevance takes the form of audience being able to identify with the protagonist.
Relevance is key to my horror film as it is what is going to help my audience relate and really connect with the piece of video. The more enthralled and engaged my audience are, the more likely they are to become scared. I am planning on connecting universal relevance and personal relevance to my horror video as I believe they are the most effective forms of relevance.
I will create universal relevance by capturing the unknown through the figure that is haunting my protagonist. It will make them ask questions such as “who is that?” and “are they going to hurt someone?”. It has been proven that ‘fear of the unknown’ is what drives audience the most when it comes to watching horror movies. In an article by SCREENCRAFT (which can be seen here), the writer talks about how “it’s what you don’t see that will scare you the most”. They use Jaws as a key example. Through the use of the iconic music score that represents the movement of the shark, fear was created throughout the audience without them physically seeing the monster.
Filmmaker IQ. 2014. FilmMakerIQ. [ONLINE] Available at: http://filmmakeriq.com/lessons/the-psychology-of-scary-movies/. [Accessed 2nd April 2016].
Ken Miyamoto. 2015. ScreenCraft. [ONLINE] Available at: https://screencraft.org/2015/10/30/8-ways-horror-movies-scare-the-s-out-of-audiences/. [Accessed 4th April 2016].