Attention Independent Film-Makers

Posted: October 8, 2010 in Braak

Especially, hey you guys!, that made Werewolf:  The Devil’s Hound, which I just saw on Chiller.  Chiller has to fill their entire programming schedule with horror movies, so I figure they must just take everything they can find.  24 hours, 7 days a week, that’s a lot of movies.

Anyway, I want to set some ground rules here for indie film-makers, especially ones that want to make horror movies.

1.  All of your actors have to be good.  All of them.  If you want to do a movie that has six characters, but you only have four good actors and two bad actors, FIND TWO GOOD ACTORS.  Here are some things that do NOT qualify people as good actors:  they are you friends; they have big boobs; they are really “dramatic”; they are totally really funny in your history of cinema class.  If you don’t know whether or not a person is a good actor (and, really, you probably don’t) find a really good actor and ASK THEM.

2.  Get a writer.  Seriously, don’t write your own movie.  In fact, your best bet is to get a writer that you hardly know, because he won’t get any of your dumb inside jokes and so won’t try and put them in the movie.  Like, remember how you had that scene where the German guy can’t set up his folding table?  Or when they used virtual-reality controlled robots to fight the werewolves?  That was dumb.  A writer who wasn’t your friend would have told you that.

3.  “Theme” is actually pretty important.  I know, I know, you wanted to mash up action and comedy and horror, like in Shaun of the Dead.  But that’s actually pretty hard to do, so stop.  “Slapstick” isn’t something that works in horror movies.  Remember how in An American Werewolf in London there was no scene where a guy with a crappy German accent couldn’t put a folding table together?  Or where a fat guy uses a virtual-reality robot to fight a werewolf?  Right.

4.  You need likeable characters.  In fact, really, all of them should be likeable.  That means no fake stupid nerd characters that some guy gets a lot of laughs from in his improv troupe.  Because if you do that, we won’t care when they die.  And if every character in your movie is some hilarious “character”, then we won’t care when ANY of them die.  And we didn’t!

If your main character is turning into a werewolf, and he becomes a monster-man and starts chasing a random thug that just tried to hit him with a chain, well, that’s confusing.  “Being chased by a monster” doesn’t automatically make us sympathetic.  “Getting murdered horribly” doesn’t automatically scare us.  So, when the random thug gets murdered by the werewolf, no one gives a shit.

5.  Don’t put random chain-wielding thugs in your werewolf movie.  There is no way to put this scene in that doesn’t make it obvious that you wanted to put a scene in where the werewolf eats a guy.

6.  What the hell is wrong with you guys?  And how the FUCK did you get a 1.2 million dollar budget for that piece of crap?

  1. Moff says:

    In my defense, I was pretty drunk when I made that. I mean, when you spend most of $1.2 million on booze, that will happen.

  2. deb says:

    BTW, these rules should also apply to every movie on Lifetime. Except, you know, for the werewolf stuff.

  3. I think the last question is the only one which needs an answer, and it’s still confusing. “How did they get a budget?” They asked.

    Lifetime werewolf movies! Mother daughter bonding while running away from killing monsters who were possibly once the polite step father the daughter never liked. Awesome.

  4. Tommy Deelite says:

    Chiller has to fill their entire programming schedule with horror movies, so I figure they must just take everything they can find. 24 hours, 7 days a week, that’s a lot of movies.

    Considering the number of horror movies out there, its really not. Chiller’s movie choices baffle; aren’t the rights to bad 80’s movies almost free? Its like Troma gave them Stockholm syndrome or something.

    Also, it seems Chiller was infected in utero with the FX pathogen — playing the same movie back-to-back, or the newer A-B-A-B variant.

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