Horror is a genre that is near and dear to every indie filmmaker's heart—or, at least, should be. It's is deeply rooted in independent cinema; the 1960s not only saw a huge boom in independent film production due to the fact that indies didn't have to adhere to the Hays Code, but they also saw an explosion of indie horror B-movies. They were cheap, relatively easy to make, and didn't need above-the-line talent or movie stars. Fast forward several decades and horror film production is still counted as a desirable (and smart) way to cut your filmmaking teeth.
So, why aren't more horror films taught in film school? I mean, students are typically working with little money, little experience, and few resources—which is pretty much the situation for most horror film productions. So, it stands to reason that horror films would be the best teachers on how to make a film with limited means because many of the tricks and techniques commonly used in horror work so well for low-budget filmmaking. Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow notes this in his latest video, providing, also, ten horror flicks that should be taught in every film school everywhere.
You can learn pretty much anything from anything, so if you prefer to learn from "the best" films ever made, then more power to you. Can you learn just as much from an indie film of any genre? Yeah, you probably can. However, horror films provide some really great practical approaches to low-budget filmmaking that you may not get from most Hollywood tentpole productions.
All opinions aside, the films from Sudhakaran's list can definitely teach you valuable lessons on everything from storytelling to low-budget effects to establishing mood to creating tension.
- Night of the Living Dead
- Spoorloos (The Vanishing)
- Black Christmas
- Open Water
- Exorcist III: Legion
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Bay of Blood
- Purana Mandir (the Ramsey brothers)
Which horror films would you put on the list? Share your thoughts down in the comments.