Horror script is one of the most exciting narratives to write. As with any form of writing, creativity is key, but with this specific genre, there are certain rules. Your audience kind of expects these rules to be followed or else your horror script will be a flop. So if you’re thinking of writing your very own script, here is a simplified version of the script blueprint you must follow.
10 Key Elements of a Horror Script
- The punch
Every good script starts with a punch that immediately hooks its audiences. Start your horror script with a suspenseful scene. Remember Wes Craven’s horror, Scream? It starts with that memorable scene with Drew Barrymore on the phone with a mysterious caller.
- The weak spot
Next up in your script, as you introduce your protagonist, make sure you also introduce his flaw. Every hero has his weak spot. This will help your audience in empathizing with him. Before you put him in a precarious situation, you must first establish that he is someone worth caring and worrying for. The people must see that he is human and would want him to succeed in the end. If you remember in the horror movie Signs, Mel Gibson portrayed a priest who lost his wife and therefore lost his faith.
- The fear
After exposing your hero’s flaw, the next part of your horror script is a slight variation of the flaw, which is the fear. Every hero has one. There’s the usual fear of heights, or maybe fear of being in tight spaces. In the monster horror hit Jaws, action start Roy Schneider’s character has fear of water. And since Jaws is majority water-based, in the end of the film he had to overcome this fear by going in the ocean to kill Jaws.
- There’s no escape
A good horror script often points out a scene that shows the main protagonist or protagonists cannot escape the problem they are encountering. In Stephen King’s The Shining, there was no clear way for Jack Nicholson to leave the haunted hotel.
- The tease
In your horror script, make sure you don’t give it right away. Show a little foreplay. Tease your audience so that they hang onto their seats literally. Allow them to freak out and get excited at scenes that turn out to be normal ones. Think eerie screeching sounds and then turns out it was just the wind or a cat.
- The attack
The meat of the horror script is during the evil attacks of your monster or whatever antagonist you have. After some teasers and foreplays, its time to show what horror your monster is made of.
- The crime scene investigation
Of course every horror script deserves a scene where the hero, together with the audience, pieces together all the evidence and analyze what the possible reasons are behind all the horror.
- The confrontation
After the investigation, there definitely has to be the scene where the protagonist faces his own fears and the monster. The hero often uses his brains, more than his physical skills, to defeat whatever horror he faces.
- The outcome
After the confrontation and supposed defeat of the horror there is, we are supposed to be back to the beginning, where everything was before the monster. But the protagonist must exhibit some change, whether positive or negative, from his experience. In the movie Signs, Mel Gibson restores his faith and practices being a priest again.
- The continuation of evil
Of course a horror story usually doesn’t end that way, the last part is often a glimpse that says that evil still lurks and that the monster is not yet fully defeated, and may return again someday. Thereby implying that the horror script will have a sequel.