Anyone with a camcorder can make a horror film, the easiest kind of film to make and maybe the most fun, too. Horror films, especially zero budget films, test the limits of a director’s creativity. Grab your camcorder and start planning your 65-minute horror film.
1. Start with your monster(s) by trolling through the house and cheap junk shops for potential costumes: an old mop, distressed camouflage clothing, a dented helmet. Use your imagination to turn them into things that go bump in the night. Broken tools or toys make great space weapons after the hot glue gun gets done with them. Collect odds and ends from yards on trash day. At this price, you can afford to have three or four scary monsters and kill some of them off during the film.
2. Scout out free locations to film. Nearly everyone lives near historic buildings, old cemeteries or streets that look scary at night. Many public buildings such as schools and libraries will let you film in them (but ask permission first). Even a backyard can stand in for a swamp or a car can provide a location.
3. Get lots of friends in on the act. Plan some mob scenes or kill six or seven unsuspecting teenagers in one sequence. Film mob sequences during the weekend when people can attend.
4. Write a script, which doesn’t have to be much more than detailed descriptions of five set pieces. As in “Anaconda,” provide at least three settings in which to scare (the boat, the river, the abandoned mill). Each of the set pieces should advance the plot, which in this case means learning more about the monster(s).
5. Sweeten the finished film with post production music, sound effects and screams. Invest some time in polished credits, but remember: Many films today bypass opening credits or only provide the title before the actual film experience.
6. Publicize your magnum opus by making a three-minute trailer and posting on popular video sites such as YouTube. Email influential bloggers or high-profile sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, inviting them to review your film.
7. Create a web page for your film so potential investors can contact you or Hollywood producers can hire you to make a movie for real.