If you're looking for a little inspiration for your horror project, Diego Carrera has compiled a stunning retrospective of the entire genre that will most certainly do the trick. The video, edited in a manner that is subtly eerie in and of itself, spans 122 years of film history; Carrera selects a title and scene every year from 1893 through 2015.
The video displays just how little techniques have changed since 1893. The genre may have divided into further genres through the years—slasher, found footage, and torture porn, to name a few—but the scariest movies are the ones that successfully pull off the same scare tactics as their predecessors, just in new and different ways.
As technology and VFX developed, there are certainly more avenues to reach that scare. Films like David Cronenberg's Videodrome and John Carpenter'sThe Thing are heavy on the practical effects, but part of the reason they're so terrifying is because they're just that: practical and realistic.
What we can gather from the scenes selected is that the real focus of the horror filmmaker should be on building character and setting atmosphere with light, movement, and mood.
David Cronenberg's 'Videodrome'Once you hit the 1970's, the chills really start coming; it's clear that this is the decade in which experimenting with horror reached its apex. From Alien to Jaws to The Exorcist to The Shining, this was truly a revolutionary decade.
So far, however, the 2010's really have held their own, as we have seen an interesting increase in interest from independent filmmakers in horror. Just look at the past three years: The Babadook in 2013, It Follows in 2014 and The Witch in 2015. These have been some of the most exciting releases of the past three years, regardless of genre.
To read more about what makes a successful horror, check out our coverage of The Lower East Side Film Festival's horror/thriller screenwriting panel featuring Ted Tally of Silence of the Lambs fame and master of the gore-score, Jeremy Saulnier.