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How To Write A Serial Killer Screenplay

Adam Scott

Love horror movies and writing screenplays? This article will discuss how to write a horror movie with a serial killer into a screenplay.

Yes, this will be a horror story in more ways than one!

Today, I want to discuss how to make a thriller out of a horror movie. With how horror movies have been garnering all the attention nowadays, there have been people who take it as an opportunity to delve into the genre and give it a twist.

The serial killer genre has been around for centuries. Based on crimes committed by a killer known as a serial killer, we will be discussing a different twist on the genre.

I won't be focusing on murderers who are mainly targeting victims because of their personal likes or dislikes; instead, I will be writing about how the serial killer is made. And yes, this will be a horror story in more ways than one.

Creating the villainman wearing button-up top

What kind of monster would a horror movie character want to see as his/her arch-enemy? For instance, Michael Myers, played by Nick Castle, isn't the kind of a person you want to mess with, but he's such a popular character because he has provided the motivation to scare the living daylights out of us.

Sure, we've all seen Michael Myers dead a couple of times, but what good would that be?

There are some characters, in their own way, who can be considered in this category, and here's what we need to do.

Discover the evil within the character

When coming up with a character for a movie, it is very important to create a character who is evil and yet may seem to be good. A serial killer movie character is definitely going to have to be this type of character.

This is because in a horror movie, the villain is probably the main character. Therefore, creating the bad character before the good one will make the viewer go on a roller coaster ride.

In any form of entertainment, the good guy will be exposed and the bad guy will be revealed. In a horror movie, it's even more extreme because of the absence of one of the main characters.

This means that the audience has to get to know the antagonist before they'll be able to hate him.

Don't make it all about your villainBrooklyn Villains 

Took this photo in Manhattan was inspired by text & texture at Brooklyn wall

This photo was taken as part of the #Unsplash awards #street challenge.

One mistake a lot of aspiring screenwriters make is to introduce their villain in a very explosive way. They will introduce a villain to give their villain so much hatred that the audience may feel inclined to hate the villain too.

That's very bad, because we want the audience to be with our main characters to the bitter end. Instead of instigating hate for your villain, make it so they are sympathetic to the villain.

Make your audience sympathize with the antagonist, because ultimately, we have to care about the protagonists to be able to relate to them.

Have your villain visit the past

One character who does this well is Leatherface, played by Tex Avery. From what is known about him, he did not do anything bad to anyone.

He did what had to be done to survive. But he needed to work to have his revenge.

He had a very unique job. He worked in a slaughterhouse where he slaughtered cows and he was the one who peeled off the skin from the cows.

People would only come to him if they had a really ugly, misshapen cow. From all of this, Leatherface didn't do anything wrong.

He was just born a monster.

In a horror movie, the villain has to not only be the one who perpetrates the crime, but also the one who wants to see it happen. If the villain is the one who is the culprit, then what's the point of watching the film?

It would be a waste of time for the audience if the villain was so terrible and they are getting a backstory about how he/she is bad. It's a terrible feeling to watch a villain with a tortured past.

Using the characterAnonymous black man in mask against urban arched bridge

The characters are the heart of the film. Just as the hero must lead the way, the villain also needs to carry the film.

All of the characters in a horror movie should have at least one main purpose. The audience should not have to change gears every time the hero does something.

The villain should be the only character in the film who does not care about what the hero is doing. The only character who is more evil than the hero is the villain.

That is a simple and accurate description of who the character must be.

Why is it important to get a villain right in a horror film? Because they must be scary and be the one who gives the audience nightmares for the rest of their lives.

They also must be the one who would actually do horrible things to an innocent person.


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