Your horror of horrors

Chris Lau

With Halloween back again, it's time to make your own scare-fest video. Just follow the formula

Chris Lau |

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Halloween is just around the corner - and a dark, menacing corner at that. Just as surely as grinning pumpkins, horror movies will be here to show you the way.

Then again, you already know the "way". If you've seen a few horror movies, you've pretty much seen them all. Most of those movies have the same formula, yet they still manage to scare people.

So can you - if you stick to that tried-and-tested formula in making your own horror movie.

First things first: every horror movie needs a mirror. If you don't believe me, name one scary film that doesn't have a mirror in it.

Mirrors somehow represent a channel to another world - one in which ghosts, demons or murderers can appear at will.

Ghosts, too, often materialise in mirrors - just when the protagonist isn't looking but the audience is. Mirrors are a great device of impending dread.

Next, you need a creepy child. Creepy youngsters cross cultural boundaries. The panda-eyed version in the Japanese movie The Grudge had viewers whimpering in fear. The West gave us Damien Thorn and the shivers in The Omen, with its young actor's creepy smile and piercing blue eyes.

Youngsters are vital even if they don't get the main role. This is because they always see "things" and "dead people". Think about it: how many times have you heard children talk about their imaginary friends in horror movies? How many times have you seen those horrific pictures they draw? And don't even get me started about the boy who talked to his finger.

Then there is the location. You should set your horror flick in either an attic or a basement - or, if you can afford it, an entire haunted house. Ghosts clearly do better when they hang out in some abandoned place.

Of course, these locations also make great places for the protagonist to discover some ancient relic that's sure to be cursed and bring horror upon the family that has just moved in.

Next: creepy music. You have a scene where someone is walking down a strangely lit corridor, anxiously looking left and right. You need music to give people the creeps. Otherwise, the character could just be looking for a lost phone or their keys.

Oh yes, and when the phone rings, it needs to be LOUD. Sure, it's a cheesy, low-budget special effect but any sudden explosion of noise is sure to scare us silly.

For a good soundtrack, just make notes discordant. So get your tone-deaf classmate to bash out a few chords on the piano. And hey presto, there you have it: the perfect horror score.

Now, the moment a ghost or monster finally shows up, make sure it's accompanied by a loud scream.

Remember that most sensible people would just walk (or run) away from danger. So your protagonist has to be a nosey troublemaker or a silly loser - or both. Otherwise, why would they still be hanging around a haunted spot well past a reasonable time?

And if you choose to go by the "family in creepy new house" plot, make sure you give them a reason to stay there, even though there is this vile, black, stinky stuff oozing down the walls. Sensible folks would be calling their estate agent, but not these guys.

And don't forget: when weird sounds come from the attic or basement, our protagonist always needs to go and check them out.

Team YP has made its own horror movie. If you do get around to shooting a masterpiece, send us the link so we can share it with other Young Post readers.