Secret Directives

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


From "Action!" to "Cut!", there's a secret to horror film gestalt.

Submitted: November 15, 2017

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Submitted: November 15, 2017

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Recently, it has been inquired of me why so many horror film directors are so bad at directing horror films.  I am thankful to all those who hold my expertise in high enough esteem as to seek my views on this occult matter.  As I am cautious about seeming critical of the creative efforts of another, rather than critical analysis, I shall frame this discussion as helpful hints.

The answer, of course, is that the type of horror film directors described above don’t conduct enough research and they don’t apply enough effort toward acquiring a thorough command of the English language (or the language in which they are filming).

Language is a very powerful device for communicating ideas, therefore, the higher the lingual skill level and the greater number of words which a director commands in vocabulary, the more profound are the shocking scenes such a proficient horror director can invoke upon the Big Screen.

Also, the directors to which the aforementioned inquirer refers are in the mode of appealing to the viscera instead of the mind. In spite of some opinions of horror, stories of the grim do require intelligent research, characterization, and plotting in order to deeply intrigue readers or viewing audiences.

As an interesting exploration, make note of the tremendous variety of sentence structure and terminology in ghoulishly successful horror (the original stories upon which the films are based) such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, Dagon, The Fall of the House of Usher - then compare the lofty literacy echelons of those haunting classics with the lower stratum of the mediocre products of the lackluster directors about whom we discourse.

A movie relies upon a script or screenplay, so writing is critical to direction. Often, horror movies are written and directed by the same person (which, if the movies are bad, goes a long way in explaining why they are so bad).

In the Exorcist, language plays a key role as Father Damien Karras records the blasphemous profanity of the howling, bellowing evil spirit - how many demons are talking? What language are they speaking? What are they saying? Add this to the technical terminology of the field of psychology and the film’s illustration of the history of the Catholic Church’s involvement with the eerie ritual of exorcism, and you have a striking example of the crucial significance of exhaustive research, mastery of language, and vast repertoire of vocabulary terms which all combine quintessentially to result in consummate direction of an emotionally disturbing horror film of lasting fright gestalt for viewing audiences.

A director who conducts in-depth research and who commands a masterful skill with language and revels in a highly developed vocabulary will direct horror films of unfading flesh-crawling thrill for audiences.

While penning Cloak of the Devil, I kept an encyclopedia compendium, a writer’s handbook, a dictionary, and a thesaurus within reach at all times. If the horror directors about whom you inquire would do the same, the films they direct would show extensive improvement in the power to terrify audiences with the blood-curdling mysticism of deliciously creepy, nail-biting, gut-wrenching horror.

To cold-bloodedly mortify moviegoers, it is the deep-seated fear instinct that resides in the mind (the amygdala) to which horror directors should appeal. Research and lingual proficiency are paramount to accomplishing the macabre goal of directing ghastly horror movies that mercilessly crawl through the synaptic nervous system with the diabolical fear spawn of a possessing demon.

The mysteries penned by suspense author Sean Terrence Best are at your fingertips via Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and many other booksellers.


© Copyright 2018 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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