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Horror Films Special Effects and Cinematography

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1740 words Published: 31st May 2017

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From our child hood we have been imagining ghosts and seeing imaginary things that are almost improbable to exist to give us terrific fears and these fears come to haunt our dreams. Watching a horror movie gives us that old feeling of fear and makes us emotionally attached to the film. The horrific images from the movie with its special effects and sudden sounds would make many watch them even though it’s scary. But almost all the horror movies end after balance is restored and everything turns to normal to give the audience a sense of satisfaction.

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The dissertation is based on the “Study of cinematography and special effects in a Horror movie”. In the recent past camera, lighting and special effects are of greater importance and fame, so it will be worth exploring those topics. As far as the technical aspect is concerned a brief research of how these kind of films are being filmed from the shooting spot itself, will be very useful for an aspiring artist to get a better idea about its development. Horror films go back as far as the onset of films themselves, over 100 years ago.


The researcher was interested in watching horror films from his childhood and he was deeply interested in these genres. In his childhood the researcher was very much impressed with the serial mainly called Genmam-X and Marmadesam. The drama that he staged in his schooldays with horror and scary effects as the theme was applauded well by the audience. The tremendous response from the viewers made him start learning the concepts and idea relating to this genre and finally concluded with this concept.

It is difficult to show scary effects in screens. If the director gets his requirements from all the technicians the film will be successful, otherwise it will not. In order to get success the film must contain interesting characters and it also depends on their acting. And in terms of technical aspects the cinematography and special effects play a major role. In Indian cinemas, there is some response for these kinds of genre when compared to Hollywood. The main aim of the upcoming short film is that after seeing this, many people have to change their mind to see horror films also. So the main thing that the film should contain is better cinematography with matching special effects. Instead of concentrating on the story alone, cinematography and special effects should be given more importance.


To give the thrill the viewer expects mainly the use of the camera, lightings and Special Effects, Were Script play the secondary role.

Statement of the problem:

The main purpose of adding the special effects is to frighten the viewer. When it goes beyond the limit it might not be watched by many people. In this situation it may go to another genre of hardcore horror. It may scare people but it will create some abnormal effects in the minds of some people.


How is cinematography in horror films different from other films?

What are special Effects?

How is Special Effects done in horror movies?

A Study of the cinematography for horror movies.

How is make up done for horror movies?

Research Questions:

What are Special Effects?

Colors and intensity of lights?

Camera trick and technique in cinematography?

Special Effects (Make up) for horror movies?

How the horror movies getting winning changes?

Significance of the study:’

‘Horror movies’ are the best platform to find rich special effects and lighting and Much interesting camera handling which gives the viewers a different experience From other films. The study through this dissertation is to understand The cinematography in horror films and application of special effects in them.

Table of content

Chapter 1| Introduction

1.1 | Aim

1.2 | Statement of problem

1.3 | Research questions

1.4 | Objectives

1.5 | Significance of study

Chapter 2 | Review of literature

2.1 | Movies

2.2 | Websites

2.3 | Books and articles

Chapter 3 | Research Methodology

Chapter 4 | Horror films

4.1| Definition

4.2| History

Chapter 5 | Introduction to Cinematography

5.1 | Camera

5.1.1 | Lens

5.1.2 | Filters

5.2 | Depth of Field and Focus

5.3 | Aspect ratio and Framing

5.4 | Camera Movements and Camera Angles

5.5 | Lighting

Chapter 6 | Cinematography in Horror Films

6.1| over View

6.2 | Camera Works in Horror Films

6.2.1| Camera Movement and Angles

6.2.2| Analysis of Movie Shots

6.3 | Lighting

Chapter 7 | Different between Normal films and Horror Films (Cinematography)

Chapter 8 | Special effects

8.1| History

8.2 | what is Special effect

8.3 | Planning and use

8.4 | Live Special effect

8.5 | Make up

Chapter-9 Integration of dissertation with project

Chaper-10-Analysis and conclusion




Psycho (1960) and the director is Alfred Hitchcock. The cinematography is done by John L.Russell.

Psycho is one of the best Hollywood horror movies best for lighting. In one scene the psycho is going to kill the lady who is taking her bath were the lighting was done very well to signify the horror. It is considered to be the best cinematography, in 1961 by “John L.Russell” .Oscar was nominated for this film.

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The Thing (1982) directed by John Carpenter with Special Effects by Rob Bottin.

The movie was taken in 1982. In that period they used special effects and visual Effects and make up. The makeup was so realistic that it attracted the viewer Quickly. A human is transformed to a demon easily and the scene is presented very effectively which will fascinate the people. . The comment was that it was too scary. This shows how they have applied VFX and SFX. And the Best special effect 1982 “Rob Bottin” Saturn award was nominated for this



Van Helsing and the director is Stephen Sommers.The cinematography is handled by Allen Daviau.

The movie Van Helsing comes under the genre of horror and it came out in the year 2004. In this movie they followed a really nice cinematography. Actually this movie came out from the comic that Van Helsing is a ghost hunter who will be roaming around the earth in search of ghost, In this movie also he is coming to a village in search of the ghost. There are two interesting characters in this movie. One is the Frankenstein and the other one is the wolf character which was in the custody of the villain. The extra ordinary thing about the movie is that the CG In early days, man used special effects and later it got developed into visual effects. In this movie there are many visual effects shots. A few examples include the climate sequence where the ordinary man transforms into a wolf — that is a quality CG work in the industry. Further there are many VFX shots in the movie. Special effects include the blood bossing from the mouth and the usage of the miniature in the movies where Gabriel (hero) taking the Frankenstein away from the village.

Most of the shots were shot inside the studio and they were composited later. Usage of expressive and breath taking matte paintings added to the quality of the movie. The cinematography of the movie plays a major role because of the proper establishment and composition.


Mirror-2 directed by Victor Garcia. Cinematography is done by Lorenzo Senatore.

It is really a kind of hardcore killing movie where we can find the hero who is replacing the old security guard in the office. The main concept behind this movie is the revenge by the girl who is killed by the head officer. And he is killing the people through the medium mirror. The main success behind the movie is the lighting and cinematography.


Saw-4, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and cinematography by David Armstrong.

This movie is the successor of the three early parts. The success behind the movie is the usage of the equipments and the method he used for killing others. In the first scene of the movie the villain killed the victim by tying the body to a steel bed and the axe was in a to and fro motion just above the stomach of the victim where it got peeled into many pieces.



This Media Studies Factsheet was researched Written by Steph Hendry

The horror films are not from this period. Those films were taken from the very early times where they only depend on the special effects and the camera tricks .At that time also some nice pictures came namely the Frankenstein a ghost which was made by a man by assembling many internal organs .This is the fact, that behind the creation of the ghost namely Frankenstein, is one type of ghost. There are many types of ghost that may include the external ghost which was having its own appearance and they will have some special characteristics. The Internal ghost is that it will enter one’s body and it will do some thing inside the body of the character. This is the kind of ghost and others include the vampire. Mostly all the thriller movies have this type of ghost, there will be a character sucking blood from the humans and using them for their existence. They will be more like humans living with them but they will have some special characteristics

In the earlier periods the ghost will be only living inside the cave and later the living area of the ghost also increased ,no matter where the ghost are living- it may be at school, it may in our home or inside one’s soul no matter where it will be. So we can go to the place as we wish when going for this kind of genre. And nowadays time is also not a matter for the ghost it may come at day time or it may come when we are sleeping and when we are in dream. The only fact is that vampire can roam around the world during day times.

(Reference: www.darkwebonile.com )accessed on



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