Tales of horror have always been with us, from Biblical times to the Gothic novel to successful modern day authors and screenwriters. Though the genre is often maligned, it is huge in popularity and its resilience is undeniable. Marc Blake and Sara Bailey offer a detailed analysis of the horror genre, including its subgenres, tropes and the specific requirements of the horror screenplay. Tracing the development of the horror film from its beginnings in German Expressionism, the authors engage in a readable style that will appeal to anyone with a genuine interest in the form and the mechanics of the genre. This book examines the success of Universal Studio's franchises of the '30s to the Serial Killer, the Slasher film, Asian Horror, the Supernatural, Horror Verite and current developments in the field, including 3D and remakes. It also includes step-by-step writing exercises, annotated extracts from horror screenplays and interviews with seasoned writers/directors/ producers discussing budget restrictions, screenplay form and formulas and how screenplays work during shooting.
A practical, theoretically savvy guide to writing a horror movie.
The truth is that the screenplay is a bastard form of literature. It is not a play nor book nor movie, and not just simply a blueprint for a film. All movies, regardless of genre, depend on the screenplay. However it is the director who makes the movie by realizing the printed words of the script on film. I have seen mediocre screenplays made into very good films. And I have seen excellent screenplays made into bad movies by incompetent directors. Again, it's important for people to understand that the screenplays essential role in film making is the same regardless of the genre of the film. --John Landis, 2012 Writing the Horror Movie is written in particular for anyone interested in writing a screenplay for a horror film, and in seeing that screenplay turned into reality. But it's also full of fascinating nuggets of analysis and useful information more generally for scholars, students and fans of the genre - whether this is musing on the aesthetics of disgust, offering nifty psychological profiles of major horror monsters, or advice on how to exploit your film and turn it into a lucrative franchise. Two dismembered thumbs up for Marc Blake and Sara Bailey! -- Darryl Jones, Professor, School of English, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland A lucid, well-structured and thought-provoking introduction that ranges widely across the genre. Intelligent and perceptive throughout. Recommended for aspiring writers and critics. -- George Green, Senior Lecturer, Department of English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University, UK
Introduction: Welcome to the Nightmare 1. Why do we like to be scared? On the Abject and the Unknown 2. Horror history and literary/film background 3. Subgenres. The Undead. Monsters. Demons and possession. Serial Killers, Slashers, Werewolves, Bad science and Body Horror 4. Staging horror. Five tropes. Unease, dread, terror, horror & disgust 5. On creating the Nemesis: Norman, Hannibal, Freddie and Jigsaw 6. Forming the idea. Writing exercises. Fears and phobias. Notes on the screenplay. Short, visual and credible 7. The First Act: Unease and dread. Character and milieu 8. The Second Act: Modulating fear, terror and horror 9. Third Act. Resolutions. Tragic and redemptive endings 10. Writing the horror sequel/franchise 11. Adaptations. From page to screen. Short stories and novels 12. On Cross-genre. Where can you bleed into other genres? Zom-Com, Thriller/Horror, Vampire romance, Horror and comedy 13. World markets. Horror in the US, the UK and European Horror. Asian, Thai and Hong Kong horror 14. Lo-budget Horror. How Blair Witch, Colin and Paranormal Activity became box office gold 15. Case studies. Selling the scare. Interviews with Writer/directors Chris Smith (Creep, Severance), James Watkins (Eden Lake). Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Descent, Doom), Adam Gierasch (Autopsy, Night of the Demons) Mark Ezra and more... 16. Producer Interviews. What producers are looking for? 17. Marketing. Frightest and Sitges. Interviews with directors of the world's leading Horror festivals and conventions 18. Fifty Essential Horror movies. Synopses and analysis of each subgenre.