Script For A Horror Movie: Unobvious Moments

Script For A Horror Movie

It seems that it could be easier: to come up with a command of characters, to place them somewhere far away from civilization, to add a monster that will chase them… Decorate a couple of screenwriters and the script of a horror movie is ready.

Script For A Horror Movie: Unobvious Moments

This recipe really works, but only if your goal is to create an absolutely memorable movie.

The story the screenwriter wants to tell should be more complicated than “Almost all the characters in the movie will be killed”. In fact, in a great film of this genre, there are two layers: the story that is scary and the story that would happen anyway (even if the monster does not appear). And this second (human) story must be quite rich and interesting in itself.

For example, the film “Thing” (1982) by John Carpenter, or “It Follows” (2014) by David Robert Mitchell – it is clear that the characters of the film have problems in addition to mysterious creatures. The appearance of the monster simply aggravates them, but the film could well exist without it.

Thus, the horror is based on a human story with quite real – and understandable to the viewer – problems. proves, that another not quite obvious aspect is the interaction of characters with the monster. The more fantastic the situation in which you put the characters, the more realistic their behavior should be; the monster should correspond to the problems of the characters.

The monster is an indicator of the film’s theme. In addition, a properly selected monster will bring additional mythology and new storylines to your script, and sometimes even become the basis of the structure of the film, as it happened with the film “War” (2015) directed by Paul Hyet. As soon as the monster was replaced by a werewolf, it immediately became clear what the film is about (according to the plot, the main character, a guide, turns from a weak character of a man into a strong and confident one).

Horror, strange as it may seem, has something in common with comedy. Like in comedy, there is a lead to the situation, then – a panchline, then – a moment to realize what exactly happened. Unites them and the moment of surprise.

At the level of creating a story, this is also true: probably, every screenwriter, one way or another, faced a situation when the finished script is perceived in the conventions of another genre – and not always that bad. At the crossroads of genres, there is always additional potential.

A very important thing to keep in mind when writing a script of a horror movie. The moment of recognition, the moment when a character sees a monster often very much reduces the tension. As Stephen King wrote about it – “a monster in the attic will never be scarier than a staircase to the attic.

That’s why the art of creating intense waiting is considered one of the most important skills in this genre. Slow down the pace of events, stretch out the action, do not give the viewer much information! A couple of screeners, a nightmare or a scarecrow in the mirror, of course, will help the viewer to stretch out 90 minutes, but if the creators of a movie rely only on it – they have problems. Fast pace and feverish action, kills the specifics of horror (here on stage comes another kind of fear, but if the author does not want to make his monster funny, it would be better if he at least sometimes resorted to pauses, moments of silence, spence).

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