If you’re looking to make a horror film simply because you think it might be an easy road to notoriety, you’d be dead wrong. This is a dish that’s best served cold by filmmakers who are fans — those who have long loved being chilled to the bone — so it should be in your blood. If you’re a filmmaker who’s new to horror, immerse yourself in the classics and study their techniques before you set out to try to create a monster of your own.
The potential pitfalls you face when making a horror film are what’s really frightening. Technique, execution, and timing are crucial. Yet many filmmakers don’t think to model scare and suspense moments using tried-and-true design patterns, leaving themselves open to technical risks (on top of all the other risks of making a film — never mind making a good one). Consequently, we end up with an overabundance of horror films that don’t work, that don’t deliver on what they set out to accomplish in the first place: to frighten viewers.
Learning more about the psychology of fear and the design patterns that make these films work can really shed light into the darkness.
What Scares Us…