Sunday, June 12, 2016

Making A Movie!: Creating A Horror Film Antagonist

Creating A Horror Film Antagonist

One of my favorite horror film elements is the design of paranormal or supernatural characters (costumes and motives specifically). Conversely, I get really frustrated when the storyline builds up backstory on a villanous unseen force, and then reveals it as a goofy blob of bad CGI. There are a lot of other important requirements for a good horror antagonist that seem to go neglected in many modern horror films.

Though the Mudheads are the headliner of the film, but there is another character who leads the protagonist to the point of no return, opening up the door for our favorite slimy mud monsters.

This character is a reoccurring apparition, themed to represent fear, weakness, and death in the protagonist's life. The spectral humanoid entity is literally and metaphorically haunting Arlo - partially reflecting his conscience, but also propelling the storyline. In act one and two, this type of character's primary function is to build fear and tension for the audience. The look of the character and questioning their motives are what we focus on before we know the plot. By the end of act two, the story has divulged the motives of the character, which then becomes the primary focus, causing aesthetic takes somewhat of a backseat.

In the beginning, it's important to see the protagonist unknowingly stalked by a sinister entity. Because the goal is to focus audience attention on motives and appearance/costume, the filmmaker then becomes obligated to create mystery with shots and sequences that hint to who or what this entity is, shots that conceal the character either with light or depth of field, and most frequently, jump scares.

That may seem like a long and in-depth route to this topic, but it's a very significant element in all filmmaking. So let's talk about the best images, sequences, and set-ups based on antagonistic characters in horror (or any genre) film. Characters like Michael Myers (Halloween) and Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th) are perfect, polished and easy to digest examples, but what are some others?

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