Good question, Ralph. Now, let's see if I've got this
right: You've seen all these horror films, which lead you to believe or
know that you can write a better screenplay than some of those that made it to
the screen, which has lead you to decide to write a horror script, and you want
to know how to write a good one. The one thing that seems to be missing in
the above equation is the part where you want to write a good horror
script. I'd make sure that that element is present because to write a
decent screenplay -- of any genre -- you're going to need to put in some
definite effort and time, and it's that little thing called "desire"
(or "want" or "I gotta have it or I'll sleep on thumbtacks till I
do"). But I digress. (Hey, that's a great idea for a horror
think of digressing again!)
Anybody reading this e-mail (and I know there are millions
-- or hundreds -- or maybe twenty -- of you), please don't steal my horror
script idea. (Hey, I just got another idea for a horror script!)
steal a script again!)
(sorry). Anyway, let's get to the crux of your question, Ralph.
(Hey, that's another great idea for a script!)
(Sorry, sorry). Where was I? Oh,
yes. Ralph, you want to know how to write a good horror script and sell it
for a lot of money. Well, the truth is you really don't have to write a
good horror script to get everybody to come see it so you'll make tons of
money. All you really need is a good horror trailer (I'm not
talking about the kind that go extremely slowly on the freeways, blocking and
scaring anybody who comes up behind them -- which would definitely be a horror
trailer.) There are certain elements a good horror trailer needs:
OF A GOOD HORROR TRAILER
It must flash over and over again as if you were at a party with a strobe light
and feeling nauseous after having a little too much of what everybody is having
in the back.
It must have a heart-pounding (possibly literally) and nails-on-chalkboard
soundtrack (if that's what you want to call it) that shakes your internal organs
to the point that they feel like they've turned to jelly.
It must have an inordinate amount of screaming in it, mostly by vulnerable,
extremely young and attractive and often not fully-dressed nubile, young women
(don't worry if you don't know what "nubile" means; nobody does; they
just use it with "young women" a lot).
It must have a very, very fast pace with everything happening so quickly that it
looks like the film has been sped up (which it often is), and so that lack of
substance and quality can be shown with such speed that nobody notices that the
film is bereft of any merit, whatsoever.
Once you have a trailer such as
this in place, have no fears: the young (not necessarily all nubile) will
pour into the seats (being sure to tell their friends on their cell phones
either to make sure to come and see the film or to stay very far away -- and
often they do so during the film, God love them).
But if you want to go that
extra mile, Ralph, and actually write a good horror script, here's a few
suggestions that might help you along your good horror script writing way:
Suggestions for Writing a
Good Horror Script
2. But, if you decide you
3. Find a way to make us
really care about what happens to your protagonist, who
is fighting great odds (such as very upset
and out of control mean people or less than
sharp weapons such as their teeth).
4. Don't worry about
contrived twists. The story is probably twisted enough. But if you
have a really good twist then, by all means, throw it into the mix.
5. If your
soon-to-not-be-alive sacrificial, supporting female is going to go into a dark
cellar or attic or cave or anything else dark and not exactly safe, by herself,
see if you can come up with at least one reason why she would do that.
6. When in doubt, or you
have no idea how to develop a good horror story with an enthralling storyline
and authentic and engaging characters, just put in a lot of gore.
And don't forget those screams.