The formula to a bloody good horror movie

By Cesar Perez |Staff Writer|

10003696_10200969659842920_5640297748387229044_oHorror movies, whether you love them or hate them, are bound to give you a good scare and have you terrorized.

But what exactly makes a great horror movie?

I believe a groundbreaking horror movie is more than just providing a few cheap jump scares, it has to rattle, shake, and leave you mesmerized till the very end.

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the biggest influential film directors, leaving a legacy with his most famous films, “The Birds” and “Psycho,” which have influenced movies like Brian De Palma’s “Carrie” and John Carpenter’s “Halloween.”

CSUSB Professor Charles Metts stated in an email interview, “If the horror director has studied Hitchcock, then they’ll understand the role that suspense plays in creating another kind of tension.”

The Shining movie poster

“The Shining,” directed by Stanley Kubrick, is a great example of a horror movie that builds suspense and tension.

Great and iconic horror films all seem to follow a similar formula.

They all have a unique and original plot, the musical score is haunting.

They unveil an iconic villain, and rely on atmosphere and suspense to scare audiences.

But the tasks of terrorizing audiences is not easy, and it is something that only a few directors can accomplish.

Films that truly scare audiences leave them wanting to look at the screen, but also wanting to look away, and as Metts wrote, “Often we get caught up in looking at things that we don’t really want to see and that is where the tension lies.”

Great horror movies from the 1970s include but are not limited to films such as “The Exorcist”, “Carrie”, and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

These films show little to no blood, and rely more on suspense and atmosphere, giving their films that dark and disturbing tone that leave audiences cringing in their seats.

Slasher films from the 1980s revolutionized horror with films like “Halloween”, “Friday the 13th”, and “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which have all been remade and updated for a more contemporary audience.

Although these slasher flicks show more blood and provide more jump scares, it is the simplicity of their plots and their mesmerizing villains that have allowed these horror films to stand the test of time.

Third year student, Jeremy Sandoval, believes that a good horror film should include, “blood, scary music, and things that pop out unexpectedly.”

8XFymnalaStGxqZPOeto0y1eeZ5Following these slasher flicks of the 80s, there were many horror films being released but under-performed with critics and audiences, and horror films were not taken seriously anymore.

It was not until 1996 when the film “Scream” was released and the horror genre was reinvented.

“Scream” directed by Wes Craven has everything you would want in a great horror film.

The film has an amazing and terrifying opening, the plot is unique and original, an outstanding musical score, great acting, and an iconic villain that has become a popular costume every year around Halloween.

In the 21st century, films like “Paranormal Activity” do not show any blood, or hardly anything at all. Sometimes less is more, and in this case it allows audiences to use more of their imagination and builds the suspense even further.

First year student Jordan is not a fan of horror movies but says that a great one is, “a combination of suspense and good effects.”

Halloween is just around the corner, and if you’re in the mood for a scary movie, know that it’ll take more than a few jump scares to leave you truly terrified.



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