#1 Posted by Black_Rose (7785 posts) -

So my class has an assigment to make a 15 to 30 minutes short film and for some reason my group decided to make a horror-suspense story and asked me to be writer, I accepted thinking it was going to be easy. But I really can't get myself to think about anything scary or even suspenseful. I tried watching some of my favorite horror movies for inspiration but I can't still get myself to make a decent story. 
  
Now I need tips to write this thing (I only have 2 weeks to do it). So what does a good horror story needs to have to scare you? or what constitutes a good horror story for you? 
 
Thanks in advance.  

#2 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6151 posts) -

Have a theme?

#3 Edited by mordukai (7129 posts) -

Don't take it too seriously. Try to make people laugh then bring the BAH moment. Try writing about something that scares you or a scary experience you had in the past. 

#4 Posted by Black_Rose (7785 posts) -
@ThePhantomnaut said:
" Have a theme? "
Nope >_>
#5 Posted by Akeldama (4236 posts) -

Don't replicate anything, The best Horror is fresh Horror.

#6 Posted by buzz_clik (6892 posts) -

Zombies. Lots of zombies. And make them run, like, really fast.

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#7 Posted by Geno (6477 posts) -

The best horror is one that makes the viewer feel incredibly weak/insecure. Resident Evil horror with a bunch of guns and an uber-protagonist = not scary. But then Blair-witch project movies basically undermine the viewer at every turn. Although I'm not sure you'll have the capacity to set that up within a 15-30 min timespan. 

#8 Posted by ArcLyte (878 posts) -

the secret is silence

#9 Edited by ThePhantomnaut (6151 posts) -
@Black_Rose said:

" @ThePhantomnaut said:

" Have a theme? "
Nope >_> "
Then there will be likely a blatant plate of mess. Try watching some Hitchcock or something.
#10 Edited by buzz_clik (6892 posts) -

Actually, now that I've said zombies, it's just reminded me that I always wanted to make a short about 2 close friends holed up in a room during The Zombie Apocalypse™. One of the people has been bitten, and they both know it. Thing is, they haven't seen another person in more than 6 months, and could very well be the last two people alive. So they try to forget about the bite and have a world-weary discussion, all the while knowing what the outcome will be. 
 
The uninfected person knows that this will probably be the last conversation he'll ever have with another human being before a lonely (and probably short) life of scavenging, fighting and hiding. He wants this moment to last as long as possible, both for selfish and sympathetic reasons. Obviously the doomed friend wants the conversation to last as long as possible too. So it's a talky piece where you know the bitten friend has to turn at some point. The conversation doesn't always have to be about their situation or the state the world is in - their friendship will bring up nice, non-zombie related topics. There are a few ways it could end.

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#11 Posted by ninjakiller (3405 posts) -
@ArcLyte said:
" the secret is silence "

No. Silence is only used to build anticipation.
 
 
 
Use sound, the most suspenseful horror moments are when the protagonists can hear something but can't see it.  The trapped in an area versus monster picking off group one by one would be an easy shoot in darkness.  You could even embrace the whole Blair Witch/Paranormal Activity genre to make shooting the thing easy, the actors shoot it themselves.  
 
An easy story would be a camping trip in the woods, sitting around campfire, someone hears something, uneasy laughter, everyone goes to bed then screams they all wake, someone missing and people get picked off one by one as they huddle.
#12 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

IT HAS TO HAVE SEX!  IF THERE ISN'T SEX THEN IT WON'T BE A HORROR MOVIE!  THE SLUTTY GIRL HAS TO DIE WHILE HAVING SEX!  
 
DO NOT FUCK THIS UP ROSE, OR I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL KILL YOU NONSTOP IN MW2! 

#13 Posted by Romination (2774 posts) -

Try and create fear in something that's not scary inherently, or that people aren't really scared of. Psycho made people scared of bathrooms. Jaws made people scared to swim in swimming pools. But setting a horror thing inside an abandoned meat factory with meat hooks, dead pig carcasses, rusty metal, and greasy looking surfaces is just a cop out.

#14 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6151 posts) -
@ninjakiller said:
" @ArcLyte said:
" the secret is silence "
No. Silence is only used to build anticipation.    Use sound, the most suspenseful horror moments are when the protagonists can hear something but can't see it.  The trapped in an area versus monster picking off group one by one would be an easy shoot in darkness.  You could even embrace the whole Blair Witch/Paranormal Activity genre to make shooting the thing easy, the actors shoot it themselves.    An easy story would be a camping trip in the woods, sitting around campfire, someone hears something, uneasy laughter, everyone goes to bed then screams they all wake, someone missing and people get picked off one by one as they huddle. "
Also trying to get a good angle with very intimidating lighting will help too if the camera is stationary. It can be harder for the actors holding the cameras but it can work.
#15 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4577 posts) -

Set it up so that people won't know what's coming, or so that they don't quite get what's going on until the end. Easier said than done, of course, but that's all I got.

#16 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

Well, in order to right a horror movie, you have to understand the point of the horror genre. 
 
It's not necessarily to SCARE people anymore.  More often than not, horror movies are used as a form of political or social allegory, and a lot of that is thanks to George Romero.  If you look at something as simple as Friday the 13th, that whole franchise in the beginning was about two main things:  don't pick on those less fortunate than you, and don't fuck before marriage.  Meanwhile, there are some horror flicks that are simply true visions of terror, like Midnight Meat Train. 
 
First, you guys have to decide what KIND of horror movie you want to make.  High gore?  Low gore?  Suspense over horror?  Terror over suspense?  What kind of archetypal characters will you use?  What will offend people?  That's a big thing - horror is MEANT to offend people.  If it doesn't offend someone in some way and make them question the idea of what it is that offends them, then it falls flat on its feet. 
 
Second, are you going for a comedic route?  It's a recent trend in horror movies that has done well (see: Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Drag Me To Hell).  It's also helped add a level of freshness to horror movies.  Unfortunately, you've got to have some comedic timing and the ability to write a good joke here and there.  If you can't do that, then I'd stick with the basics of horror:  allegory, blood, and scares. 
 
IN THAT ORDER! 
 
If worse comes to worse...just look at your nightmares or fears.  Horror isn't about gore all the time.  Horror is about things that offend, things that are taboo to talk about, things that are evil.  Use that.

#17 Posted by Matt_ (337 posts) -

Never show the creature/killer. The human mind will fill in the blanks. Your imagination will always terrify you more than what you see on the screen.

#18 Posted by DeadMonkeys (821 posts) -
@Matt_ said:
" Never show the creature/killer. The human mind will fill in the blanks. Your imagination will always terrify you more than what you see on the screen. "
This is key. NEVER show the monster (if there IS one).
#19 Posted by NinjaHunter (972 posts) -

Well I suggest thinking about what kind of suspense or terror you want the audience to feel. For instance if you have a killer, do you want the audience to know who it is or do you want it to be a mystery. If you let the audience know who it is then you can have some interesting situations where the killer is interacting normally with other people and leave the audience wondering who or when the killer is going to strike. Or if you go with not letting the audience know then you can get most of your suspense from leaving the audience completely in the dark.

#20 Posted by StaticFalconar (4849 posts) -

I'm thinking campy horror with zombies or huanting of some kind. The trick is to build up suspense so when you got that cheap cmaera trick going off, the audience will buy it. AFterall, classics like psycho isn't scary when you just watch that one scene out of context.

#21 Posted by Giantsquirrel (601 posts) -

MAKE IT SCARY

#22 Posted by Synthballs (2193 posts) -

Dog with shifty eyes.

#23 Edited by HatKing (5795 posts) -

Don't rely too heavily on acting.  Unless some or all of you have had serious acting classes or experience shooting a 30 minute horror film with strong character development can be really hard.  I'd recommend a script revolving around a single character, that way you can eliminate all or most dialogue.  Not exactly a fresh idea but somebody home alone while a burglar/murderer is trying to get inside their house.  Horror is probably the best genre to have for low budge equipment though, you can use the crummy quality film to your advantage creating some real disturbing moments.  I suggest just playing around with your camera for a while, learn what lighting looks good in what rooms, angles that are haunting, stuff like that.
#24 Posted by ZombiePie (5562 posts) -

I love horror movies that have living humans as the villains because I like it when the protaganists have some hope of victory as slim as that may be.The psychopath is a commonly used villain but also a much abused one in the horror. The psychopath is the easiest human villain a person can write, seeing how they have no motives for their actions other than the joy of killing. The common reason for using this sort of villain is that you want to make a badass that revels in the wet works. The problem is that it's hard to make the psychopath believable and avoiding being cheesy, so watch your dialogue

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