The horror genre is a unique genre because its sole purpose is to scare the living daylights out of a person. Throughout the last century, the genre has evolved to meet the increasing demands of the movie-going public. New techniques, plots and monsters are developed every day to shock people and bring out their innermost fears. Whether a person is afraid of demons, darkness or animals- there is a film maker who is dying to take that fear to another level.
One of the classic genres of horror films is based on ghosts. Ghosts are pure fodder to the horror film maker because it is something that cannot be understood. Some people believe that ghosts are good while others believe that ghosts are bad. Some believe that ghosts do not exist while others attest to the opposite.
The general indecision that people have about ghosts makes it easy for film makers to come up with new plots and reasoning as to why ghosts exist. They determine the level of power a ghost has as well as their ability to bend time, space or circumstances in their favor. There is no right or wrong answer, so the film maker has a lot of room to be creative.
Film makers and writers would do well to read some of the following scripts. These scripts are composed of some of the best ghost stories that have ever graced the cinema screen. They show the infinite amount of creative control that a film maker can have when making a ghost story film. It also shows how much more potential has been untouched by film makers, and are diamonds yet to be discovered.m maker has the freedom to change as much or as little as he wishes.
Keep in mind, not all of the films listed below are horror films. But the original ideas make them interesting tools for a horror film maker to learn from and build upon.
- (1939) Wuthering Heights Script [Transcript]
- (1980) The Shining Script
- (1980) The Fog Script
- (1982) Poltergeist Script
- (1990) Ghost Script
- (1995) Casper Script [Transcript]
- (2001) The Others Script [Transcript]
- (2002) Dark Water Script [Transcript]
- (2007) Paranormal Activity Script [Transcript]
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