By Ian Long
Horror offers writers and directors ways to make cinema that's vibrant, powerful and entertaining.
My Writing Horror Now workshop on July 12 aims to refresh the ideas of people who already love the genre - and to help newcomers see its many possibilities.
So, to lure you in, here are 6 reasons why you should be writing Horror.
1. The Creative Challenge
Horror is an extremely malleable genre which gives writers the chance to reform the world and its possibilities at will. It also blends in interesting ways with other genres.
Think of David Cronenberg’s comment that his film THE BROOD (1979) was a more truthful account of a marriage break-up than Robert Benton's KRAMER VS KRAMER, released in the same year.
The workshop will look at ways of making new stories from this “blending” process.
Take up Horror's creative challenges and give your imagination free rein!
2. Politics, Society, Religion, Sexuality
Are you deeply concerned about any of these issues?
Do you want to comment on them in ways that will reach large audiences and start debates?
The genre’s visceral, unbound quality lets you talk about social and political ideas in ways that are devastating and memorable.
Think of recent films like GET OUT and UNDER THE SHADOW. Or older ones like CARRIE, the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and JAWS.
All of them had intriguing depths and important things to say about the way we're living.
Horror cuts to the chase, dealing with deep, primal issues that other genres skate around.
3. Visual and cinematic qualities
Horror intensifies stories which might otherwise lack cinematic interest, opening up visual possibilities, heightening emotions, increasing stakes.
In other genres, a problem may be talked about, or acted out. In Horror, it’s embodied … by a 'monster'. And it’s up to you how that monster looks, acts and sounds.
4. Popularity with audiences (and critics)
Did you know that Horror is the most profitable film genre?
Producers are always looking for good, original Horror scripts. And many popular TV shows (DEXTER, HANNIBAL, BEING HUMAN, etc) have strong horror aspects.
Lots of the movies that “break out” of their home territories and achieve international success are in the Horror genre (TROLLHUNTER, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, THE ORPHANAGE).
And when the films are good, the critics will also come on board; all these films were very well reviewed.
5. A Great Tradition
Horror has no lack of cultural or intellectual credibility. Many great writers have contributed to the genre – from Daphne du Maurier, Susan Hill and Hilary Mantel to Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka and Honoré de Balzac (not forgetting Mary Shelley).
Join this gilded roll-call with your own contributions!
6. Horror isn’t polite
At times when cultural mores become a little rigid, some outlet is necessary for us to say the unsayable, and to give vent to the dark things that underlie our psychology and culture.
Horror is always going to provide these opportunities (humour does something similar - and there's a strange bond between these seemingly very different genres).
Use Horror to indulge your inner punk-rocker, to be provocative, and to experiment with divergent ideas. Audiences will love you for it.
For more information on the workshop, and to book, click here.
THE ONLY PLACE TO TALK ABOUT THE CRAFT OF SCRIPTWRITING.