Halloween is just around the corner and to help you prepare, we’ve found some of the classic horror film camera techniques used by producers and filmmakers, to make their work as thrilling as possible.
You don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to create some of the classic scary scenes in horror and Halloween films. With help from us and a bit of creativity, you’ll be well on your way to creating some fantastic filmography.
Read on to get the insider knowledge on how some of the industry’s biggest producers created the iconic Halloween film scenes we all know and love.
1. Carrie (1976)
This classic Halloween horror, based on the novel by Stephen King, utilises many horror film camera techniques to create a sinister atmosphere. However, the most notable one is the ‘jumpscare’.
The jump scare technique is designed to make the audience jump out of their seat with a sudden change in image, sound or event. This is a technique that has been used in many horror films, however, Carrie was one of the films that kickstarted the trend.
View the iconic Carrie jumpscare scene here.
2. Blair Witch Project (1999)
If you’re a fan of iconic horror films, you’ll most likely have seen the Blair Witch Project. This film tells the tale of three filmmakers when a journey through the woods goes wrong.
The Blair Witch Project popularised the use of ‘found footage’. This is a technique that most people associate with films such as Paranormal Activity, however Blair Witch is one of the most classic examples of ‘found footage’ usage.
This involves some or all of the film being portrayed as if it were uncovered film or video recordings. This helps to create a scary atmosphere by putting the audience in the protagonist’s shoes and experiencing all the frightening aspects through their eyes.
3. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
One of the most used horror film lighting techniques in Halloween films is in fact no light at all.
Low-light and darkness is synonymous with many horror films, as it creates a sinister atmosphere with ease and adds an air of uncertainty, with the audience being unaware of what may be lurking in the shadows.
John Carpenter utilises this effectively in ‘Halloween’. Much of the film is shot in dark light, creating sinister shadows and silhouettes designed to spook the audience.
4. The Grudge (2004)
The Grudge is set in Tokyo, Japan and tells the tale of an American family starting a new life in the country. Unbeknown to them, they move into a house with a horrific history and become inflicted with a number of terrorising supernatural occurrences.
This film uses another of the classic horror film techniques, close-ups. Close-ups of the frightened protagonist or the thing that’s scaring them can frighten the audience with ease.
In The Grudge, there are many close-ups of the ghost ‘Kayako’ with bloodshot eyes and a ghostly, pale face. It’s these up-close shots of all the gruesome details that make a horror film.
5. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Dr. Frankenstein and his monster pretty much sum up Halloween. Whilst Bride of Frankenstein is almost reaching its hundredth birthday, the classic techniques used in the film mean that it still stands the test of time.
One of the main techniques used in this film is the Dutch angle. This is when a scene is filmed on a tilt or angle and the end result portrays an effect of unease or uncertainty.
This technique is often used in horror films as it easily portrays the confusion and puts the audience in the main character’s shoes.
How are your filmography skills?
Whether you’ve finessed your filmography skills or you’re just starting out, these classic horror film techniques will help you create a scary scene worth shouting about.
For information on the best hosting platform to show off your finished work, read our article on the best hosting platforms for professional videographers.
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