6:10 Like Horror Films
If 6 out of 10 people like horror films, why do so many horror films suck? Traditionally, horror films are low-budget, or micro-budget, films that could potentially catapult an unknown actor, screenwriter, director into the stratosphere. Horror movies have dedicated fans and enduring franchises. Screenwriters continue to push the limits of the genre. Now it’s time to reel it back in. Horror films don’t need to be complicated. Alfred Hitchcock’s movies were simple: few cast members, few locations, few distractions. Classic formula. Quit screwing with it!
The formula is tried and true. Tell a story through film. Show don’t tell. Start with action. Sprinkle backstory once the audience is hooked. Most importantly: There needs to be a hero. Someone—anyone—must survive. And it should be someone the audience likes.
Too many horror films conclude with an abstraction here: villain, demon, mirror. No thanks. Franchises are built on the hero surviving for the sequel. Remember Jamie Lee Curtis? She lives. Watch Scream for the rules. There are rules, just like any other genre.
Horror films are not difficult to write. Getting produced is another story. (See “Haunting of Cellblock 11: Success with Crowdfunding” for discussion) While ambitious independent filmmakers embark on their horror film production, I expect great things. I expect a strong protagonist. I expect a sequel. I expect a likeable hero to survive. Long live the horror film genre!