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The 5 Best Films to Watch to Learn Horror Filmmaking (Part 7)

New Takes, New Sub-Genres and Terrifying Images


This is Part 7, so if you haven't seen the other six parts, I would click on my name on this article and view them. You don't have to view them in order, but know that there are six other sections. I hope you're watching as much of the genre as you can. I've always maintained the idea that you need to watch as many horror films as possible in order to learn as much as you can about the craft. 

Poltergeist

Poltergeist is an excellent film to learn about the trend of 80s horror. It uses all those maxims you see in The Sixth Sense, The Exorcist and even films like Carrie. I would watch this film in order to study normality and abnormality and how it shifts from one to the other. I would pay close attention to a scene entitled "All Sightings" in which the poltergeist is seen by those in the house. 

Final Destination 2

Final Destination 2 is known as one of the best of all the Final Destination Series of films and there is a very good reason for that. This body horror satire is a perfect demonstration of how to make someone laugh at something that they shouldn't be laughing at. It makes you ask yourself where you draw the line between what's disturbing and what's funny and makes it into an enjoyable gore-riddled film. Check out the scene entitled "The Elevator Accident" - it is a great example of this gore-enhanced satirical horror film. 

The Strangers

The Strangers is one of my favourite home-invasion horror films because of its ability to make you feel uncomfortable. There's a difference between discomfort and scare and discomfort is more difficult to create. I love the way in which The Strangers keeps that tension whilst also making it feel unsafe, uncomfortable and completely normal - there's nothing unusual about the couple whatsoever and therefore, that makes it look uncomfortable. It could, in most terms, happen to anyone. 

The Grudge

One of the world's most incredible horror films, The Grudge is an exciting and intense experience that you can only watch properly in the dead of night. The atmosphere is not overly dark, but perfect for the setting. The characters are all representative of normal, ordinary people and the girl that haunts them is perfect for the role. It's both a spacious and claustrophobic experience. Just watch "The Crawling Scene" in which the character sets the place alight whilst holding her dead friend and how the "Grudge Girl" comes into the scene. This is perfect for studying hauntings properly because seriously, it's a film that, if you watched it in your early teens, it shook you. 

Silent Hill

Silent Hill is an under-appreciated film. I would say it's pretty incredible in the fantasy-horror sub-genre and deserves more respect as an intense experience of the fantastical world. I would use this film as a ground for making a film with little realistic ground, so not something like Final Destination in which it's supposed to be satirical on real life. Silent Hill has nothing to do with reality whatsoever and yet, still manages to make you feel uncomfortable and a bit grossed out. So, I highly recommend the film - and check out "Christabella's Death Scene" for more insight on to the fantasy/horror sub-genre. 

Conclusion: 

I hope you enjoyed Part 7, and Part 8 will be on its way shortly. I also hope you're watching some of these films, especially if they apply to your next project. There's many films to watch and we've only covered 35 of them. 

Good Luck on Your Next Project!

Read next: The Sacrifice
Annie Kapur
Annie Kapur

English and Creative Writing (B.A)

Film and Writing (M.A) 

Working on a Film PhD

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Interests: Film and Novels 

Music: Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley and the 40s, 50s and 60s

Favourite Film: I'm Not There

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The 5 Best Films to Watch to Learn Horror Filmmaking (Part 7)
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The Sacrifice