Horror Filmmaking: From Script to Scream

It’s that time of year, but this article is for all those filmmakers that believe Halloween lasts all year long. In past features we brought you 202 DIY Filmmaking Tutorials,” “202 Final Cut Pro Tutorials,” “202 Sony Vegas Tutorials,” among others. We now turn our attention to the dark art of Horror Filmmaking and there are just too many links to count. So, here’s the killer feature you’ve been waiting for, and don’t forget to leave you favorite links in the comments section.

Ghosts From the Past

The best way to learn the craft is by studying those that came before you. Below we have gathered some of the best interviews, documentaries and behind the scenes video from around the “web.”

Interviews & Documentaries


THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE Horror Documentary
Dinner for Five: Rob Zombie, Bruce Campbell, Roger Corman
Monitor – Alfred Hitchcock
John Carpenter: Fear Is Just the Beginning
Clive Barker – A to Z of horror
David Cronenberg and the cinema of the extreme
A conversation with author Stephen King
John Carpenter Masters of Horror
Wes Craven Masters of Horror part 1
Wes Craven Masters of Horror part 2
STUART GORDON interview: “MASTERS OF HORROR”
John Landis and Rick Baker Masters of Horror pt. 1
John Landis and Rick Baker Masters of Horror pt. 2
George Romero Masters of Horror
Tobe Hooper “Masters of Horror” part 1
Tobe Hooper “Masters of Horror” part 2
Dario Argento “Masters of Horror”
Guillermo Del Toro “Masters of Horror”
Scream Greats: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects – Part 1
Scream Greats: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects – Part 2
Scream Greats: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects – Part 3
Scream Greats: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects – Part 4
Incredibly Strange Film Show – George Romero – Part 1
Incredibly Strange Film Show – George Romero – Part 2
Tom Savini Creepshow Interview
Make-Up FX Guru Greg Nicotero
How It’s Made – Special Effects Make-up

Behind the Scenes

The Making of THE SHINING (by Vivian Kubrick)
Nightmare on Elm Street: Behind-the-Scenes Playlist (11 videos)
Return to Crystal Lake: Making Friday the 13th – Pt. 1
Return to Crystal Lake: Making Friday the 13th – Pt. 2
Return to Crystal Lake: Making Friday the 13th – Pt. 3
Hollywood Assassin – Hellraiser 7-8 (Behind the Scenes)
Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Behind The Scenes

Crafting Your Killer Story

With any film creating an great story is the key to success. In the oversaturated horror market a well crafted screenplay is even more important to help separate you from the pack. We’ve gathered together some resources to help you resurrect that lifeless story. Whether it’s a original concept, a true story, a urban legend or even a remake of a public domain classic the links below will help you craft that killer screenplay.

Writing Articles

How to turn your boring movie into a Hitchcock thriller…
StoryWeaving – Avoiding the Genre Trap
The Thriller
The Lure of the Dark Side
Seven Screenwriting Tricks From Horror Films10 Steps To Writing A Horror Screenplay
Horror Factor – Horror Writing Articles for the Serious Horror Writer
A Basic Primer on Writing Horror Screenplays
Horror Sub-Genres
Back to the Basics: Horror 101
The Killer Inside Us:Why serial killer novels continue to fascinate
The Perception and Psychology of the Horror Writer
(Edgar Allan) Poe & His Relevance Today
Sex and Horror
What Women Want…in Horror (PDF)
A Few Thoughts on the Horror Genre
What is the Difference between Horror and Dark Fantasy?
What is Dark Fantasy?
Giving Rein to Horror
Sculpting Horror
Horror Sub-Genres
The Other in Fiction: Creating Wonderfully Wicked Villains
Horror Fiction – Ten Cliches to Avoid
Top Ten Tips for Writing Good Horror Fiction
Elements of Aversion: What Makes Horror Horrifying?
Suspending Disbelief
The Bottleneck
Creating a Character for a Horror Story
Why Horror Scares Us
What Makes Horror Scary?

Online Screenplays

Scriptologist: Horror Screenplays
HorrorLair: Horror Screenplays
Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie Scripts

Inspiration-Research



Crime
truTV: Crime Library
About: Notorious Crimes and Criminals in History
Crime Magazine: An Encyclopedia of Crime
Urban Legends
Wikipedia:Urban Legends
Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages
About: Urban Legends
The AFU And Urban Legends Archive
Ghosts & Folklore
Over 2000 Free Horror Stories Organized Into Horror Themes…Ghosts, Vampires, Monsters, the Occult, etc.
Classic Horror Short Stories – The Greatest Horror Story Collection
Horror Writers Association – Horror Reading List
The Library of the Classics
Google Books: Scary Stories
Wikipedia: Ghost Stories
Horror Masters: Classic Ghost Stories
Halloween Ghost Stories
The Moonlit Road: Ghost stories and folktales of the American South
American Folklore: Spooky Stories
HowStuffWorks: Ghost Stories

Public Domain and Classical Horror Stories

Public Domain Horror Movies
Wikipedia: Public domain characters
Arthur’s Classic Novels
Works Referenced in Supernatural Horror in Literature
Literature of the Fantastic
Horror Masters Horror Library
DagonBytes.com Library
Project Gutenberg
Litrix Horror Reading Room
Manybooks.net

It’s Alive!

OK, you’ve completed your killer script and now it’s time to bring it to life. In our previous “202 DIY Filmmaking Tutorials” article, we highlighted “do it yourself” guides covering all aspects of production gear and methods. For this article we have we’ve listed those that fall into the horror category and added many new ones to help you slash that budget. Don’t forget to check out the original for even more tutorials.

DIY: Blood, Bullets & Stunts


Make yourself HIT by a CAR using Sony Vegas! (new)
Bullet HOLES & Muzzle Flash using Sony Vegas (new)
After Effects Blood Tutorial (new)
Realistic Gun Shots in After Effects (new)
Create an explosion behind a person After Effects tutorial (new)
After Effects Explosion Tutorial (new)
After Effects 101- Head Explosion Tutorial Part: 1 (new)
After Effects 101- Head Explosion Tutorial Part: 2 (new)
How to make a bloody head explosion in adobe after effects pt1 : Basic head … (new)
How to make a bloody head explosion in adobe after effects pt2 : Fixing it … (new)
Rip a leg off!!! (new)
Create a Hollywood Style Gunshot Wound
Proptastic – Prop Guns
Fake Blood Squibs
Squib Videos
Squibs
Creating Bullet Hits with Paintball Shots
How to make a bullet hit
Blow your actor in Half
Realistic Knife Throw Effect
Break-Away Furniture
How to make Sugar Glass
Blood & Bullets for No-Budget movies
Breakaway Glass Windows, Bottles, Props, etc.
Fake Shards of Glass for Special Effects
Backyard FX: Stunt Dummy
How to make a Blood Shooter
Blood, the chemical way!
How To: Make Fake Blood ( 5 Blood Recipes)
Got Blood?
No-Cook Edible Fake Blood for Mouth Wounds
Fake Blood
Eejit’s Guide to Blood

DIY: Stage Effects/Green Screen/Digital Effects

Animate Rain Shadows in After Effects (new)
Crawl through a TV like in the Ring (new)
Sony vegas pro 8 Tutorial -Lightning and electricity (new)
Making FIRE in After Effects (new)
Force Lightning Tutorial in Adobe After Effects (new)
Adobe After Effects Lightning Tutorial (new)
Making a CG Rainstorm with After Effects (new)
How To Turn day into night in After Effects (new)
Best Fog Chiller (new)
$20 Fog Chiller (new)
Fog Machine Vortex (new)
Rain effect on Sony Vegas (new)
Green-Screen & Stop-Motion Special Effects
DIY Clapboard
Portable Greenscreen with PVC and Cloth
Large greenscreen (non-portable) for under $30.
DIY Blue (or Green) ScreenGreenscreens and Backdrop Stands
DIY special effects from “The Last Broadcast”
DIY Projector Screen
DIY Rear Projection Screen
Ghetto Matrix Bullet Time
Snow Machine
How to Make a Rain Machine
Thick and realistic movie fog
DIY Teleprompter

DIY: Make-Up/Costumes


Gatling Gun Arm Costume (new)
12 Great FX Makeup Articles (new)
DIY Costumes from Costumzee.com (new)
Face-Casting (new)
Distressing Clothing Tutorial (new)
Mask making For Beginners (new)Planet of the Apes tunic (new)
Incredible feathered wings (new)
Build articulated wings (new)
Faux robot walker (new)
DIY Vampire Fangs (new)
SteamPunk Goggles for Less (new)
Iron Man: Build his mask and arc reactor
Costume.org How To’s
Studio Creations.com tips and tricks
DIY Life.com Costumes
Costume Resource Links
Costumepage.org The Costume Page
Star Wars Costume and Prop Forum
The Dyeing Guide
The Arming Coat
Dress Making Guide
Zombies Revisited
Realistic Werewolf Costume
How to make a superhero costume
How to Make a Cyborg
How to Make a Mummy Costume
Mortal Kombat Cyborg Face
Realistic Demon Makeup
Aging Makeup
Swamp Monster
Samurai Armor
Realistic Two Face Make up
Dan Perez Resin Casting Workshop

DIY: Props


Mechamo Crab & Halloween Hack (new)
Vintage Poison Labels (new)
Animatronic hand (new)
Low budget creature effects (new)
Realistic scar with stitches (new)
Titanium goggles (new)
Zombie Makeup from the Haunted Report (new)
The Scarecrow from Hell (new)
ALieN PROJECT (new)
The 3D Television (new)
Aged LED Lantern (new)
Alien In A Jar (new)
Mourner grave statue (new)
Alien Capsule (new)
Ambush Prop Torso Project (new)
Animatronic Zombie (new)
Blood Transfusion Bottle (new)
Corpse Chandelier (new)
Corpsification Techniques (new)
Electric Chair (new)
Falling Chandelier (new)
Gargoyles (new)
Gargoyle Monument (new)
Haunted Books (new)
Jacobs Ladder (new)
Meteorite (new)
Possessed Dresser (new)
Quick Guillotine (new)
Rat Feast (new)
Sarcophiguy (new)
Skull Torches (new)
Smokey Joe (new)
Snot Rag Creations/Casting A Skull (new)
SpiderWeb Plans (new)
Statue (new)
Teleportation Pod (new)
DIY Flux Capacitor
Star Wars Lightsabres
How to make the Jigsaw’s puppet, Billy.
Flamethrower Prop
Build a Miniature Set for $10
Spaceships
Retro Ray Guns
Zero Budget SciFi props
Giant Laser Weapon
How to build a Jet Pack
Good Samaritan Hellboy Gun
Sweeney Todd’s Barber’s Chair

Prop Shops & FX Supplies


CoastalContacts.com – Special Effect Contacts
Custom Creatures
9mm SFX : Custom Contact Lenses
Mold Making, Mold Rubber and Casting Resins From Smooth-On
Frightcatalog.com
SPFXMasks – Original Silicone Masks
Special Effect Supply Home Page
Dapper Cadaver
Arsenic Fashions
The Scarefactory
TheHorrorDome.com
Di Stefano Productions presents Corpses For Sale.
Post Mortem Studio Rentals – Medical Movie Sets, Horror Props, Tombstones
BJ Winslow -Prop Maker, Painter, Art Department, Prop Rentals.
Halloween Town Store

Scary Film Locations


Eastern State Penitentiary
Opacity.us – Urban Ruins
Infiltration
Former West Virginia Penitentiary
Mansfield Reformatory
Kirkbride Buildings – Historic Insane Asylums
Forgotten NY
Metro-Detroit Urban Exploration
Urban Atrophy
Derelict London
London Cemeteries
Haunted Places Directory
Forgotten Ohio
Abandoned.ru – Abandoned plants and factories, unfinished buildings, industrial sites
Modern Ruins Photographic Essays
NewEnglandRuins.com
Google Earth Horror Movie Locations
Grave Addiction
New England colonial cemeteries and gravestones
Top five Australian horror film locations
Kolmanskop: a ghost town in southern Namibia
Film Locations Travel Guide

Digging Up An Audience

You’ve survived the production now it’s time to avoid the distribution nightmare. It may seem easier to raise the dead then find distribution, but today there are more options then ever before.

Film Festivals can be a great place to start. Festival addresses and submission requirements frequently change. Dead Harvey and Unstoppable Pacific maintain a good updated list of Horror Festivals. Also, make sure to check out Without A Box to find an extensive list of all festivals and tools help you streamline the submission process.

There are a lot of small indie horror distributors out there, but make sure you do your research otherwise you can get murdered. Call around to the places mentioned below and get an idea of how much your film is worth in the marketplace. A good place to find phone numbers and other contact information is Everyone Who’s Anyone. Another great place to research distributors is Variety’s AFM (American Film Market) exhibitors list. Don’t let them scare you. Get on the phone and make a killing!

If all else fails you can try DIY Distribution. Check out the list of companies below and you may be surprised at some of the new options out there.

Horror Film Festivals


New York City Horror Film Festival
Brings the best independent horror films to New York.

Screamfest Los Angeles
Annual horror film festival.
Shriekfest Horror/SciFi Film Festival
Annual horror/sci-fi festival and screenplay competition held at Raleigh Studios.
Creepfest
Includes event and submissions information for the annual independent horror film festival and Gothic Pagan Halloween ball.
Cinema Wasteland
Annual movie and memorabilia expo held during October, celebrating the drive-in era of horror and sci-fi movies.
H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
Film adaptations from student, amateur, and professional filmmakers.
Eerie Horror Film Festival
Contains event and programming information, entry forms, and photos from past entries and winners.
Dead By Dawn
Annual U.K. horror film festival held in Edinburgh.
Cinenygma
Annual fantasy, horror, and science fiction festival held in Luxembourg.
Cinemuerte International Horror Film Festival
Includes news and event information for Western Canada’s largest annual genre festival.
Donostia Horror and Fantasy Film Festival
Held in San Sebastian, Spain.
Festival of Fantastic Films
Celebrating science fiction, fantasy, and horror films in Manchester, U.K.
Exofest International Horror Film Festival
Short and feature screenings, bands, and more.
Sacramento Horror Film Festival
Film festival from the horror and sci-fi genre held at the Colonial Theatre, Sacramento, CA.
After Dark Horrorfest
After Dark Horrorfest is a three-day horror film festival in 500 theaters across the country, featuring eight previously unreleased movies considered too graphic or disturbing for general audiences.

Independent Horror Distributors

Amazing Movies
American World Pictures
Anthem Pictures
Artist View
The Asylum
Brain Damage Films
Camp Motion Pictures
Dimension Extreme
Elite Entertainment
Indican Pictures
Mainline Releasing
Maverick Entertainment Group
Media Blasters
POPcinema
Shoreline Entertainment
Silverline Entertainment
Taurus Entertainment
Tempe Entertainment
TLA releasing
Troma Entertainment
Unearthed Films

DIY Distribution Companies

null
IndieFlix
IndiePix
CreateSpace
Withoutabox
Breakthrough Distribution
B-Side
E-Junkie
Echospin
NeoFlix
Cruxy

Packaging


70 Horror, Blood and Gore Photoshop Effects and Brushes
Horror Fonts
Classic Crime & Horror Covers
35 Photoshop Tutorials for Designing Your Own Posters
Design a Sin City Style Poster
Designing Cover Artwork for an Indie Film
Free CD / DVD Case Templates in PSD Format
CD and DVD Artwork Templates

The Article that Won’t Die

We could go on forever, but we have a deadline and the clock is about to strike midnight. We’ve skipped over some import aspects of filmmaking, but that’s what the rest of our site is for. Make sure you subscribe to our RSS Feed to insure your Filmmaking I.Q. always remains high, and of course be prepared for the inevitable horror sequel. Until next time kiddies, pleasant screams!
CHUD.com
Dead Harvey
Indy Mogul
The Groovy Age of Horror
Old Time Radio at The Monster Club
Fangoria
All Things Zombie
The Horror Channel
Bloody-Disgusting.com
Rue Morgue