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Cinematography Of Horror Movies Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 2410 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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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 Lewton’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 in exploring those topics. As far as the technical aspect is concerned a brief research of how these kinds of films are being filmed from the shooting spot itself, which be very useful for a 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 using 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 name hardcore horror. It may scare people but it will create some abnormal effects in the mind of some people.


How in cinematography in horror film different from other film.

What are special Effects?

How is Special Effects where done in horror movies

A Study the cinematography for horror movie.

How will doing Make up 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.



Reference: “psycho” (1960),

Director : Alfred Hitchcock,

Cinematographer: john L. Russell

Psycho is a one of best Hollywood horror movie. I saw this movie little before. I thought it was the best example for lighting. In the film I saw one short where the psycho is going to kill the who is taking her bath .in that scene the lighting was pebbly done well. Then 1961 best cinematography, Black and White “john L.Russell” for the Oscar Nominated for this film.

Reference: The Thing (1982),

Director : John carpenter

Special Effects: Rob Bottin.

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

Effects and make up. Make ups are that much realistic that will scene the viewer

Early. In that a Human is translating to a demon easily and the scene was

Presented very effectively which will scene the people. Even the lighting works

Are also very nice. And I watched this movie online. In each every comments

Was that it was too scary this shows the how the applied VFX and SFX. And

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


Reference: Van Helsing,

Director : Stephen Sommers

Cinematography : 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 really a 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 for a village in search of the ghost. There are two interesting characters in this movie that one is the Frankenstein and the other one is the wolf character which was in the custody of the villain. The extra ordinary think 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 shorts the few examples includes the climates sequence where the ordinary man transforming into a wolf that is a quality CG work in the industry further there are many VFX shorts in the movie special effects includes the blood bossing from the mouth and the usage of the miniature in the movies where the Gabriel( hero) taking the Frankenstein away from the village.

Most of the shots where shooted in inside the studio and they where composited later. Usage of expressive and breath taking matte paintings added the quality of the movie. The Cinematography of the movie plays the major role because of the proper proper establishment and composition.

Reference: Mirror-2,

Director : Víctor García

Cinematography : Lorenzo Senatore

I recent watched this film 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 where 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 that the lighting and cinematography.

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Reference: Saw-4, Director : Darren Lynn Bousman

Cinematography : David Armstrong

This movie is the successor of the early three 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 the to and from motion just above the stomach of the victim. Where it got pealed into many pieces where it was very real.


Reference: This Media Studies Factsheet was researched

Written by Steph Hendry

The horror films are not from this age those films are taken from the very earlier times where they are only depend on the special effects and the camera trick in 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 this is one type of ghost where there are many types of ghost the may include the external ghost which were having their own appearance and they will have some special characteristics. The Internal ghost is that it will enters once body and it will do some think inside the body of the character this is the kind of ghost and other include the vampire mostly all the thriller movies haves this types 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 date raised the living area of the ghost also increases no matter where the ghost are living it may be of school, it may be of our home or inside one’s soul no matter of where it will be. So we can go for the place as we wish when going for these kinds of genre. And nowadays time is also not a matter for the ghost tit may come on day time or it may come when we are sleeping and when we are in dream the only fact reaming is that vampire it can roam around the world during day times.

Reference: www.darkwebonile.com

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.

Reference: http://www.horrorfilmhistory.com/index.php?pageID=1980s

Horror Film History

– A Decade By Decade Guide to the Horror Movie Genre

1980’s Horror Films.

Horror movies of the 1980s exist 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)

Towards the end of the decade, horror movies were considerably ‘dumped down’ to attract their target audience, with body counts through the ceiling, and little attention being paid to plot and credibility. Horror movies were designed to appeal to aficionados of the genre and no one else, stuffed full of in-jokes and unnecessary, OTT gore. It looked as though the genre might have gone into tailspin – sequel piled upon sequel, endlessly recycled plots, lower and lower box-office receipts hence lower and lower budgets, and a loss of respectability which meant that respected writers, directors and actors shunned working within the genre. But horror movies had been here before, at the end of the 1940s, and once again the genre successfully managed to reanimate itself. Eschewing a luminous blue serum, horror went back to basics, and refocused on that basic of all evils, ‘man’s inhumanity to man’.

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 become 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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