Hallowe’en is nearly upon us, so, from here ’til breakfast on November 1st, we’re up to our elbows in the splattering blood of the Horror Movie. Personally, I don’t watch horror movies. I’ve had the hell scared out of me for real, a couple of times, and I’m in no great hurry to have that sickening adrenaline rush artificially induced. However, I’m clearly in the minority: horror movies are a multi-billion dollar business.
So why not cash in?
Here’s a simple guide that will help you write your own horror movie, and depending on how ambitious you are, take you to the very gates of Horror Movie Heaven: The Slasher Franchise.
SPOILER ALERT (If you watch Horror Movies for the storyline, stop reading right now.)
Character — All Horror movies are based on one single character: the half-naked young woman. Ideally, you need one Alpha female and a couple of expendable friends. (We’ll call them The Skanks.) Don’t sweat the details on the The Skanks — they don’t need anything beyond abnormal cleavage and interesting underwear. They’re just there to flash a lot of skin, do a little screaming and get butchered early on, to show that the villain/monster/psycho is serious. The Alpha female, on the other hand, does need some character development — perhaps a name or a hairstyle.
You also need an Alpha male (normally a boyfriend.) He comes with his own set of male friends — a larger, stronger man and an idiot. The idiot is there to do stupid stuff that invariably attracts the villain/monster/psycho. The larger, stronger friend is there to get hacked up somewhere around halftime to prove that the villain/monster/psycho is unstoppable. And the Alpha male is there to … uh … actually, the Alpha male doesn’t exactly have a job — but again, don’t sweat the details. The Alpha male should have a name, however, so the Alpha female can scream it on occasion.
Finally, you need a villain/monster/psycho. This guy REALLY doesn’t matter; all he needs to be is somewhat grotesque and have a steady supply of sharp and/or pointy things to stick into people.
Setting — Someplace so dark and isolated that nobody in their right mind would even think about going there.
Plot — The only plot device in any Horror Movie is everybody in the movie (except the villain/monster/psycho) has to be about as dumb as a box of wet hammers. First, when confronted by a dark, rambling mansion, deserted campsite, scary island or what-have-you, the characters must ignore common sense completely (stuff like, there’s safety in numbers) and split up and go exploring. Get out the body bags! Next, as they creep around dark alleys, hallways, basements, attics or derelict buildings, they must never turn on the lights nor carry anything brighter than a disposable cigarette lighter. Toe tags, anyone? And finally, even in the heat of battle, the characters must never arm themselves with anything more dangerous than a toothbrush (which — in a land as gun crazy as America — is a good trick.) In short, they should show all the survival instincts of a lemming.
Meanwhile, the villain/monster/psycho should be equipped with a variety of hacking, stabbing and slashing devices. He should be able to wield these ingenious weapons with the stealth and dexterity of a ninja; butchering everything in sight until only the Alpha female and (maybe) the Alpha male remain in one piece. Then, simply shuffle the villain/monster/psycho off into the darkness, and it’s “roll credits” and you’re outta there!
So there you have it. All you need to do is write it up. Or, you can forget the whole thing and go buy some old Archie Comics, piece together a couple of their adventures, add a villain/monster/psycho to massacre a few of them, and you’re halfway to Hollywood.