We’re not quite finished talking about the horror genre for today. Joining the conversation is Rona Mark, Directing and Screenwriting Instructor at IFI and avid horror movie watcher. “To my mind, horror is the most liberating, transgressive, and expressive film genre there is,” says Rona. “Many of the great directors have tried their hand at it and so should you!”
Check out Rona’s tips below for creating a truly terrifying movie-watching experience.
- On screen, the scares often come not so much from a good monster, but from a great, horrified REACTION to the monster! Get those terrified reaction shots on screen.
- The suggestion of violence is often more powerful than on-screen violence. I’m no prude about violent scenes, but sometimes, literal attempts to portray violence fall short of my imagination. Let the viewer imagine the horror.
- Creating the atmosphere is half the battle. A movie like The Exorcist (1973) scares partially because it feels like the impossible is happening in the real world. Whereas, a movie like Suspiria(1977) creates a world unattached to reality, one that relies on dream logic and expressionistic sets. Music, set design, lighting, and camera moves should all come together to create a nightmarish (and stylistically coherent) atmosphere.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN from IFI!
— Rona Mark is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. She received her BA from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and MFA from Columbia University. A few of her festivals and awards include: Best of Fest—Edinburgh International Film Festival; Filmmaker Magazine—Audience Choice Award; Scenario Award—Canadian International Film and Video Festival; second place, Best Short—Galway Film Fleadh; Best Comedy/Best of Night—Polo Ralph Lauren New Works Festival; BBC’s Best Short Film About the Environment—Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival; Opening night selection—Three Rivers Film Festival; Hong Kong International Jewish Film Festival; Irish Reels Film Festival; Seattle True Independent Film Festival; NewFilmmakers Screening Series; Hoboken International Film Festival; Miami Jewish Film Festival; Munich International Student Film Festival; Palm Beach International Jewish Film Festival; Pittsburgh Israeli Jewish Film Festival; Toronto Jewish Film Festival; Vancouver Jewish Film Festival. Finalist in Pipedream Screenplay Competition; third prize—Acclaim TV Writer Competition; second place—TalentScout TV Writing Competition; finalist—People’s Pilot Television Writing Contest; Milos Forman Award; finalist—Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Film Awards. Current feature film projects include screenwriter/director/producer, Strange Girls—Mdux Pictures, LLC. Screenwriter/director, Shoelaces. SLC, 2007.