It’s difficult to make a horror film that can make a big enough impression with audiences to spark an entire franchise. Many directors have attempted to capture an audience with stunning monsters, open-ended story lines and intense special effects. However, audiences are difficult to please and it’s not uncommon for these movies to fall directly into obscurity.
But there are times when a horror movie is good enough to really get the attention of horror film addicts and the general movie-goers as well. These films, for some reason or another, just have the chemistry of a horror film concocted in a perfect manner to attract an audience and keep them wanting more.
For the aspiring horror film writer, these films are crucial for understanding what balance of story and characters is necessary to create a perfect franchise and the best way to start is at the beginning. Contained in the list below is the premiere films of several different successful franchises spanning from the 1970’s to today. Upon close observation, an aspiring screenwriter may be able to recognize a pattern and therefore figure out a “formula” for creating the perfect scary movie. For those who choose to set upon this journey, I wish you good luck in finding the Holy Grail of the horror industry.
- (1968) Night of the Living Dead Script [Transcript]
- (1978) Halloween Script
- (1979) Phantasm Script [Transcript]
- (1980) Friday the 13th Script
- (1984) Nightmare on Elm Street Script
- (1984) Children of the Corn Script
- (1987) Hellraiser Script
- (1988) Child’s Play Script
- (2004) Saw Script
- (2007) Paranormal Activity Script