SO HOW DO YOU MAKE A HORROR FILM SUCCESSFUL?
START FROM THE GROUND UP
The villain is always the star of the show, build your idea around the villain. A good horror story can successfully hide a villain in plain sight by first figuring out how the villain will be discovered and work its way to the very beginning. If your villain is not believable, the horror film will not work. Its as simple as that, so you’re 70% of your work goes to developing the villain character. But the good thing is, your villain doesn’t necessarily have to be a person, you’ve heard of haunted houses, infected animals, poisonous gas, the list is endless.
STEP AWAY FROM THE CLICHÉS.
Scary lady in the mirror, the spooky basement, the creepy dolls, vengeful ghosts…we can agree these are old tactics that have to warn out their scares. With innovation, you have the power to alter perspectives and manipulate emotion through built-up tension and jump scare _ yes, even jump scares. The idea is to take up deepest fears, things that cause people to panic and recreate them in a relatable format. Be an exemption to the horror trend.
LET YOUR SETTINGS WORK FOR YOU
The best horrors play with fewer locations, don’t be pushed to involve a lot of places. It helps your audience familiarize themselves with the environment and follow the plot. Day and night also play an important role in film development. Your setting shouldn’t just tie down a “where” it can also be a “when” Take a journey through time travel to your advantage and explore folklore and artifacts to your benefit. P.s, as an independent filmmaker, if you are not the owner of a location, make sure to get permission before you start filming.
STICK TO WHAT’S FAMILIAR
Some horror movies get exhausting when the storyline isn’t relevant. Complexity doesn’t always produce good work. Your film can be as simple as a play on psychology like an overprotective mother, or a depressed teenager, or a PTSD soldier. If you need further direction, pick out your favorite horror flicks, write down what captivated you about these movies, and the elements they used to their favor and recreate your film. Creating a horror movie should not be that hard. Like every other movie, you have to manipulate your elements.