November 4, 2003

horror movie tips

I love horror movies. I have always been an avid fan of zombies, ghosts, mythical creatures and monsters (oh, except for my boss Rob. He’s just despicable). A good horror movie, will always make me think of them whenever I’m alone. It makes me feel… vulnerable, and the after effects would take a long time to heal. Some of the them good ones that I can think of right now are – “Evil Dead”, “The House”, “The Thing”, “From Beyond” and motherfuckest of all horror movie, “The Exorcist”. Of course there are many more good ones, but I can’t remember all of them. But these are amongst the most splendid of the lot.

But then, if you noticed, most of these flicks that I like are actually a little bit old. I have to admit, that despite the advent of computer graphics and improved special effects in modern films, contemporary horror flicks aren’t exciting enough to my liking anymore. I feel that they lacked of the substance. Modern horror flicks tend to focus more on having shitloads of impress-to-kill special effects than real creativity, making them all dull and boring. They have evolved into some kind of family oriented entertainment… all for the money.

Yep. Movie makers nowadays do things for money. And this diminishes their level of creativity. Just imagine, if they put too much gore or scary shit into their movies, they would suffer on the ratings. And if the ratings are not favorable to the general public, the sales will be significantly affected. You get the idea. So, why bother? Just make a film that suits every fucking sissies on the planet and make more money instead. Play safe. Now this, is detrimental to the work of art.

That’s why, I feel compelled to come up with this short list – the key ingredients in a good horror movie. This comes from my years of experience watching shitloads of horror movies (both good and bad) and I hope it will be of some use to someone and even perhaps, will help to revive this waning genre.

A good horror movie should …
1) …have a simple storyline, and revolves around the horror plot. I mean… fuck, if we wanted stories, we would have opted to read novels and story books. Nobody looks forward for a fairy tale in a horror flick. The storyline is not really important in a horror movie. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to have 70 minutes worth of dialog and flashbacks in a flick, but only leave the remaining 10 – 15 minutes on the horror part. It just don’t work.

2) …not be too modest. Fuck the ratings. Give it some gore. Gore disgusts viewers and makes them sick. This is what they are looking for. This is what they want. People who opted to watch a horror flick will least expect you to spare them some decency and will not mind you for showing them some of the grosses shit your mind can imagine. Show them what you’re capable off. Don’t be a pussy. A good example : A headless undead with a chainsaw… grabs the family dog and mutilates it into minced meat. The youngest kid girl saw the whole thing and makes a panic dash to the nearest exit… but tripped on something and fell. The headless undead then catches up and chainsaws the kid’s limbs off before feasting on her intestines and liver… (I’m good).

3) … be realistic and logical. We horror movie fans are cool people and we do not expect to be treated and bluffed like dorks. Laws of physics and nature applies everywhere on Earth, horror movie scenes are of no exception. Some examples of mistakes: A sane person wouldn’t choose to go out in the dark empty handed to check out an evil moan from outside his house. Heroes can’t jump from a 2 story building and escape unharmed from platoon of blood-thirsty undeads. Zombies and poltergeists won’t take a break when a hero decides to screw a cute chick he happens to meet while bailing out from a haunted mansion. Things like that…

4) … have a good creature / villain design. This is the most important element. A hag with fangs and wig running around biting everyone within her proximity – is not scary. A hollow eyed Kate Moss lookalike with entrails hanging out from her open stomach and foaming black fecal-like goo from her mouth… who could also turn her head 360 degrees perpetually while singing the Sesame Street theme… IS SCARY. I would suggest that each time someone comes up with a new creature / ghost design, try to test it out on your annoying sister-in-law or your despicable neighbors to pilot it… see if it scares them blackout. If yes… then, that’s probably an acceptable design and there’s a higher chance that the viewers might like it.

5) … have a good cast of characters. The viewers would like their horror movie heroes to be someone that can really do their job well. You don’t hire Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to star in a horror film. It will transform the horror movie into a blooper homevideo. Hire someone cool like Harrison Ford or The Rock. You get idea.

Ok. Like I said, it’s a short list. I can make a longer list if I wanted to … but it’ll be very detailed and technical, right down to the model of chainsaw to be used for the mutilation effects and whatnots – which I think will be too technical to make most filmmaker dullards understand.

michaelooi  | enlightenments  | 

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