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    A question about the Usual Suspects of Horror
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    Senior Member Eric Boellner's Avatar
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    If you're watching a horror film, and it uses all the standard tricks in the bag for scaring you, do you think less of the film as a whole, even if it scares you? For instance, The Conjuring uses some sleep-walking, some people being dragged out of bed, some thumps from other rooms, plenty of doors slamming on their own, etc. The movie was scary enough, I mean the tension was pretty thick at times and I think that's a sign of how well-directed the film is aesthetically. But does the standard bag of tricks make the film cliche? Or are the cliches acceptable because they're well-used?

    Asking because I'm writing a script I may or may not try to shoot for the fest, and wondering about my usage of the bag of tricks. I'm scaring the s--t out of myself writing this script, so I think I'm doing something right, but as a constant self-editor, I want to make sure I'm not overusing horror tropes. Looking forward to this discussion.

    -EMB

    P.S. Hope it was okay to post this here!
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    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    You can use old tricks, but you must use them well.
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    Totally Usable Mod Stephen Mick's Avatar
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    I think it's hard to say without seeing what you're working on, but I agree with Chris. Use them smartly. Use them in new ways maybe we haven't seen before. Use humor (if appropriate) in the context of the "standard trick" to make the scare more effective. Use them as a misdirection to reveal the real scare.

    And don't overuse them.



    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Boellner View Post
    If you're watching a horror film, and it uses all the standard tricks in the bag for scaring you, do you think less of the film as a whole, even if it scares you? For instance, The Conjuring uses some sleep-walking, some people being dragged out of bed, some thumps from other rooms, plenty of doors slamming on their own, etc. The movie was scary enough, I mean the tension was pretty thick at times and I think that's a sign of how well-directed the film is aesthetically. But does the standard bag of tricks make the film cliche? Or are the cliches acceptable because they're well-used?

    Asking because I'm writing a script I may or may not try to shoot for the fest, and wondering about my usage of the bag of tricks. I'm scaring the s--t out of myself writing this script, so I think I'm doing something right, but as a constant self-editor, I want to make sure I'm not overusing horror tropes. Looking forward to this discussion.

    -EMB

    P.S. Hope it was okay to post this here!
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    Senior Member Matt Harris's Avatar
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    great question, and great responses by keaton and mick.

    this is a gray area. whats scares haven't we seen? what's left? are we just mimicking other movies?

    my 2 cents is, if you know you're using the same techniques in your movie that you have seen in others, then strive harder for your own genius.
    don't be lazy.
    Matt Harris
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    Producer Mod Brandon Rice's Avatar
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    I think it always comes down to story. Look at all the great directors and writers. They use a lot of cliche but the story and script are usually so good you don't even notice!
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    Producer Mod Brandon Rice's Avatar
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    Eric on a side note its awesome to see you here and I hope you can get a short shot for this fest!
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    Senior Member ZazaCast's Avatar
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    If it's scaring you just writing it, I'd finish the script, shoot it and get it in the fest... what better way to get solid input. There's no law saying you can't re-shoot, re-edit, tweak & re-tweak until you get it just right. Take the advice already given and run with it! I look forward to seeing this one.


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    Senior Member Eric Boellner's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great responses, guys. I think what made me nervous about my use of the tropes was the story felt a little lacking, but I figured out the problem and I'm now rewriting.

    Thanks, Brandon. I'm looking forward to participating in my first DVXfest!

    -EMB
    "Trying to make a movie in Hollywood is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it." - Douglas Adams


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    Producer Mod Brandon Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Boellner View Post
    Thanks, Brandon. I'm looking forward to participating in my first DVXfest!

    -EMB
    Please subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL to see all of my projects.

    New short film THE APPOINTMENT now available to see!


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    More Cowbell Pictures Michael Anthony Horrigan's Avatar
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    Creepy is almost always better than the 'jump out' scares that most filmmakers are ready for. But creepy is harder to pull off.

    I really enjoyed The Conjuring. But it didn't scare me. Made me jump once, and that was mostly due to a very loud sound cue, but it didn't leave me with the feeling that lingers afterwards from seeing something really intense/scary.

    I really enjoyed it though. If you could pull that kind of movie off, you would clean up.


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