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Special Effects In Horror Movies

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 2252 words Published: 9th May 2017

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From our earliest days, we use our vivid imaginations to see ghosts in shadowy shapes, to be emotionally connected to the unknown and to fear things that are improbable. Watching a horror film gives an opening into that scary world, into an outlet for the essence of fear itself, without actually being in danger. Weird as it sounds, there’s a very real thrill and fun factor in being scared or watching disturbing, horrific images. Horror films, when done well and with less reliance on horrifying special effects, can be extremely potent film forms, tapping into our dream states and the horror of the irrational and unknown, and the horror within man himself. (The best horror films only imply or suggest the horror in subtle ways, rather than blatantly displaying it, i.e., Val Lawton’s horror films.) In horror films, the irrational forces of chaos or horror invariably need to be defeated, and often these films end with a return to normalcy and victory over the monstrous.

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The dissertation is based on the “Study of cinematography and special effects in a Horror movie”. In the recent past camera, lighting and special effects are of greater importance and fame, so it will be worth exploring those topics. As far as the technical aspect is concerned a brief research of how these kind of films are being filmed from the shooting spot itself, will be very useful for an aspiring artist to get a better idea about its development. Horror films go back as far as the onset of films themselves, over 100 years ago.


The researcher was interested in watching horror films from his childhood and he was deeply interested in these genres. In his childhood the researcher was very much impressed with the serial mainly called Genmam-X and Marmadesam. The drama that he staged in his schooldays with horror and scary effects as the theme was applauded well by the audience. So he started his concept and in addition to that he added makeup also. The tremendous response from the viewers made him start learning the concepts and idea relating to this genre and finally concluded with this concept.

It is difficult to show scary effects in screens. If the director gets his requirements from all the technicians the film will be successful, otherwise it will not. In order to get success the film must contain interesting characters and it also depends on their acting. And in terms of technical aspects the cinematography and special effects play a major role. In Indian cinemas, there is some response for these kinds of genre when compared to Hollywood. The main aim of the upcoming short film is that after seeing this, many people have to change their mind to see horror films also. So the main thing that the film should contain is better cinematography with matching special effects. Instead of concentrating on the story alone, cinematography and special effects should be given more importance.

Research Questions:

What are Special Effects?

Colors and intensity of lights?

Camera trick and technique in cinematography?

Special Effects (Make up) for horror movies?

How the horror movies getting winning changes?


To give the thrill the viewer expects mainly the use of the camera, lightings and

Special Effects, Were Script play the secondary role.

Statement of the problem:

The main purpose of adding the special effects is to frighten the viewer.When it goes beyond the limit it might not be watched by many people. In this situation it may go to another genre of hardcore horror. It may scare people but it will create some abnormal effects in the minds of some people.


How is cinematography in horror films different from other films?

What are special Effects?

How is Special Effects done in horror movies?

A Study of the cinematography for horror movies.

How is make up done for horror movies?

Significance of the study:’

‘Horror movies’ are the best platform to find rich special effects and lighting and

Much interesting camera handling which gives the viewers a different experience

From other films. The study through this dissertation is to understand

The cinematography in horror films and application of special effects in them.

With the gathered knowledge a short film based on horror story will be filmed.




The name of the movie is Psycho (1960) and the director is Alfred

Hitchcock. The cinematography is done by John L.Russell.

Psycho is one of the best Hollywood horror movies. I saw this movie some time back. I thought it was the best example for lighting. In the film I saw one shot where the psycho is going to kill the lady who is taking her bath .In that scene the lighting was done very well. The 1961 best cinematography, Black and White “John L.Russell” Oscar was nominated for this film.


The name of the movie is The Thing (1982) directed by John Carpenter with

Special Effects by Rob Bottin.

The movie was taken in 1982. In that period they used special effects and visual

Effects and make up. The make up is so realistic that it will attract the viewer

Quickly. A human is transformed to a demon easily and the scene is

Presented very effectively which will fascinate the people. Even the lighting

Effects are very good. And I watched this movie online. The comment was that it

Was too scary. This shows how they have applied VFX and SFX. And the

Best special effect 1982 “Rob Bottin” Saturn award nominated for this



The name of the movie is Van Helsing and the director is Stephen Sommers.The cinematography is handled by Allen Daviau.

The movie Van Helsing comes under the genre of horror and it came out in the year 2004. In this movie they followed a really nice cinematography. Actually this movie came out from the comic that Van Helsing is a ghost hunter who will be roaming around the earth in search of ghost, In this movie also he is coming to a village in search of the ghost. There are two interesting characters in this movie one is the Frankenstein and the other one is the wolf character which was in the custody of the villain. The extra ordinary thing about the movie is that the CG In early days, man used special effects and later it got developed into visual effects. In this movie there are many visual effects shots. A few examples include the climate sequence where the ordinary man transforms into a wolf — that is a quality CG work in the industry. Further there are many VFX shots in the movie. Special effects include the blood bossing from the mouth and the usage of the miniature in the movies where Gabriel (hero) taking the Frankenstein away from the village.

Most of the shots were shot inside the studio and they were composited later. Usage of expressive and breath taking matte paintings added to the quality of the movie. The cinematography of the movie plays a major role because of the proper establishment and composition.


The name of the movie is Mirror-2 directed by Victor Garcia. Cinematography is done by Lorenzo Senatore.

I recently watched this film. It is really a kind of hardcore killing movie where we can find the hero who is replacing the old security guard in the office. The main concept behind this movie is the revenge by the girl who is killed by the head officer. And he is killing the people through the medium mirror. The main success behind the movie is the lighting and cinematography.

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The name of the movie is Saw-4, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and cinematography by David Armstrong,

This movie is the successor of the three early parts. The success behind the movie is that the usage of the equipments and the method he used for killing others. In the first scene the villain killed the victim by tying the body to a steel bed and the axe was in a to and fro motion just above the stomach of the victim where it got peeled into many pieces.



This Media Studies Factsheet was researched

Written by Steph Hendry

The horror films are not from this period. Those films were taken from the very early times where they only depend on the special effects and the camera tricks .At that time also some nice pictures came namely the Frankenstein a ghost which was made by a man by assembling many internal organs .This is the fact, that behind the creation of the ghost namely Frankenstein, is one type of ghost. There are many types of ghost that may include the external ghost which was having its own appearance and they will have some special characteristics. The Internal ghost is that it will enter one’s body and it will do some thing inside the body of the character. This is the kind of ghost and others include the vampire. Mostly all the thriller movies have this type of ghost, there will be a character sucking blood from the humans and using them for their existence. They will be more like humans living with them but they will have some special characteristics

In the earlier periods the ghost will be only living inside the cave and later the living area of the ghost also increased ,no matter where the ghost are living it may be at school, it may in our home or inside one’s soul no matter where it will be. So we can go to the place as we wish when going for this kind of genre. And nowadays time is also not a matter for the ghost it may come at day time or it may come when we are sleeping and when we are in dream. The only fact is that vampire can roam around the world during day times.



Horror movies have been around since silent movies. Obviously being scared is something the audience want. The horror movie received a huge revival in the late 70’s early 80’s (Omen and Nightmare on Elm Street) but died a sad death in the late 80’s and throughout most of the 90’s.

However, with the advent of the horror smash parody Scream the genre is, once again, extremely popular.

What was frightening back in the silent movie days and what is frightening now may well have changed. As society changes so do our fears.

For example, when moving image was first invented footage of a moving train caused fear in the audience because people really believed that the train would come straight out of the screen.



Horror Film History

– A Decade By Decade Guide to the Horror Movie Genre

1980’s Horror Films.

Horror movies of the 1980s existed at the glorious watershed when special visual effects finally caught up with the gory imaginings of horror fans and movie makers. Technical advances in the field of animatronics, and liquid and foam latex meant that the human frame could be distorted to an entirely new dimension, onscreen, in realistic close up. This coincided with the materialistic ethos of the 1980s, when having it all was important, but to be seen to be having it all was paramount. People demanded tangible tokens of material success – they wanted bigger, shinier, and faster, with more knobs on – as verification of their own value in society.

1980’s Horror Movies

The Shining (1980)

The Thing (1982)

Videodrome (1983)

Nightmare on Elm St (1984)

Fright Night (1985)

Re-Animator (1985)

The Fly (1986)

The Hitcher (1986)

Near Dark (1987)

Hellraiser (1987)

The Evil Dead

Child’s Play (1988)


Reference: http://www.horror-movies.ca/horror_17523.html

Horror Movies and Special Effects

Posted By Poppa Scotch,

Horror is a genre that puts everything on the line in regards to the physical boundaries of at least semi explainable human anatomy and any and all possible items that can be used to destroy it. There are decapitations, eviscerations, monsters, dead animals, rotting corpse and pretty much anything else that you can think of that have already made their way into horror cinema.

The invention of the green screen and computer generated background really are only limited by the artist’s imaginations, which in turn is an amazing tool for filmmakers. They can turn skylines into post apocalyptic landscapes, they can transform a crappy warehouse into Times Square, and they can even add massive crowds of people to create a larger than life sporting event. My gripe comes from when the filmmakers (or special effects houses) get lazy.

It’s no secret that the appeal for a large number of horror fans is the gore killing, and the absolute carnage. Considering the main focus, the effects have to be believable to the viewer. Through our many years of growth and development of horror film viewing, special effects have come a long way as well as presenting us with a base of what we as viewers believe that gore should look like.



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