I think we can all agree that horror movies will never go out of style. Places like Blumhouse have made sure they are always profitable ventures. There are lots of different kinds of movies within the horror genre, but if one kind has the most legs and the most chances for a sequel, it's monster movies. I'm not just talking about Swamp Thing and The Blob. I'm also talking about people like Freddy, Jason, and Michael Meyers. True monsters that with some DIY attitude, you can create at home. 

Today, I want to take you through some ideas for you to use do-it-yourself methods to create movie monsters you can shoot and spin-off into theatrical success. These are not promises, but strategies to help jolt your imagination. 

Let's get started. 

How to Create Your Own DIY Horror Movie Monster 

I tried to divide this topic up into a few different informative topics. I hope that we can discuss all of them in the comments and get a strong thread going of people helping other people create and see their ideas come to fruition.

The goal here is to choose things that you don't have to be a master artist to accomplish. Lean into the skills you have, and hire people to help with the rest. 

Ideation and Motivation

The first thing you want to do when creating a horror movie monster is to go to the very root of the issue. What kind of story are you trying to tell? And what's the backstory of the monster you want to create? Is this a transformed person? An otherworldly beast? One of the undead? The root of the character is crucial to how you can build it yourself.

This might feel like a holistic approach, but I assure you it's important. The reason is that the very idea for the character is going to dictate what they wear, how we view them, and how the audience reacts when they see them.

Think about a movie like Scream where the killer wears a generic costume head to toe. Nothing is more DIY than just all black and a mask. Or Halloween, which was a low-budget masterpiece that used a spraypainted mask as well (and it was William Shatner). 

Still, something like The Blob takes a lot more effort. It's done with camera tricks and special effects. You have to build things, but that doesn't mean it has to be expensive, it just needs some backstory as to why it looks a certain way. And maybe you can change the story so you don't actually have to see the extent of the monster.

Like when Jaws didn't show the shark for a while, maybe you can just see claws, or shadows, or other things that are relatively free to showcase. 

Once you have the idea and backstory for the character, you can get to building it. 


Audiences today are savvier than they have ever been before. You need to convince them of what's happening onscreen with strong visuals. There are lots of professional makeup artists like Stan Winston out there doing amazing jobs teaching people how to do certain kinds of makeup. 

Some of my favorite movies have utilized makeup to truly change people. There are a ton of helpful tutorials online to help you DIY in any situation. And before you say, "That's too hard," think about Night of the Living Dead. That team achieved so much with minimal makeup and a shooting style that helped their zombies pop. 

My first piece of advice would be to visit YouTube and look for the specifics of what you need. That might mean vampire makeup, werewolf, or even just scrapes and scars. This is why writing that backstory is so important. You'll know what you need. 

We have a whole breakdown of horror movie makeup, effects, and other tutorials to help you out. 

I would also bring costuming in here. What can you cover with a costume or prop so that you don't need to spend a lot of money doing full-body work? Again, just adjust what's going to be on camera. 

Memorable Accessories 

Think about Freddy's knife fingers, Jason's hockey mask, and the Scream knife and voice—those are all relatively cheap ways to scare an audience and get them to buy into the story you're trying to tell.

Add something that makes the audience remember your character. Again, these things can really help sell your story even if you're not working with a lot of money. And they're all homemade, just like your killer or monster would have. 

But what if you want something more animalistic? Well, what about creating footprints, claw marks, or artifacts left behind from your skulking beast? You can leave ooze on bodies, on the ground, or just large pools of blood.

If you need to see the monster, consider only using flashes of them—like shooting prosthetic teeth, claws, and mixing in found footage where you can just to add the elements of a scare without blowing your credibility with the audience. 

Again, this is all about adding to the character with things you have or can do cheaply. Think outside the box—or cage! 

Camera Tricks

Horror movie cinematography is as inventive as it is spooky. It's given the pressure of adding to the audience's experience as well as conveying the story.

Think about how people do jumpscares and pan to reveal monsters waiting. To make sure the camera adds to the story, think about creating your monster through point of view. A POV shot is a trope in horror, and you don't even need make-up or any special effects. You just have to move the camera like it's a beast and follow the prey. 

There are lots of cool ways your cinematography can play with shots we've seen and expand on them with your vision. We even made our own video essay about the subject. 

Aside from the shots you saw there, there are some other cool techniques I thought we should talk about.

Like shooting through glass (or shower curtain) to give voyeuristic impressions. You can also underexpose shots, to add darkness and show where needed, like to shield a monster. I also love using haze or a fog machine, which can add a creepy element and again, be part of the ruse of only showing the finished parts of a monster. 

We talk so much about the darkness in these movies, but you can also add some color. Use gels and cast cool shadows or create a motif for when the monster arrives and leaves. Be bold and subvert tropes and expectations.

The camera is your friend and can hide all, or highlight the best parts of your work. 

Summing Up DIY Horror Monsters 

I hope there were some helpful hints inside this article that got your creative juices flowing. Whether that is a few new movie ideas, the desire to pursue writing a horror screenplay, or just the knowledge to create some excellent fake blood.

Creating your own monster movie could be your low-budget ticket to Hollywood, and having a convincing antagonist will surely help you stand out from the crowd. 

Let us know what you think in the comments. 


Check out more from No Film School and Blackmagic Design's Horror Week!