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Hi Barry

Horror is popular. Some readers complain that Steven King isn't scary etc.
Since you have written a successful horror screenplay, would you give a few tips on writing horror?

I myself have written horror.



Hi Demetrius,

The horror genre, like other genres, has many sub-genres, and writers often take the liberty to straddle or step over the boundaries. For example, would you call THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS a horror pic? Or THE REVENANT?  

Zombie movies are almost all in the center of the genre, but there are twists as in WARM BODIES, which turns out to be a love story with a redemption ending.

Therefore if you want to write a horror screenplay, you're almost obligated to go far afield, come up with new twists, while still creating a Villain that is homicidal, terrifying and seemingly invincible.

The genre cannot be treated with condescension. This type of story has been honed and polished over hundreds of years. Respect it, or don't write it.

When you are outlining your horror-flick you have at least two options regarding the Hero: he or she can be alone against the villain, or the Hero can have a Bonding Character who helps the Hero defeat the villain.

In THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Jodie Foster has an incarcerated Bonding Character, Hannibal Lector, who assists her in finding and defeating the Villain.

On the other hand, many other movies set up a on-on-one

The Hero of a horror movie needs to be created as an innocent, unsuspecting, but clever and resourceful person, who is randomly targeted, or who accidentally falls into the path of the evil Villain.  

In the horror movie, the Hero spends about three quarters of the movie escaping and eluding the pursuit of the Villain, and the last quarter of the movie evolving into a "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more" person. The Hero then devises an attack strategy to seek out and destroy the Villain.

The Villain is the character that you need to work hard on to create the most frightening beast you can.

To write a professional horror script the writer must watch hundreds of films of the genre in order to immerse himself or herself in the kinds of twists, surprises, shocks that the horror movie need. If a writer really works at this, he or she will be ready to write one.  

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Barry Pearson


I`m a credited writer on nine feature films. My latest movie, IRON ROAD, which stars Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill, opened as feature, then aired as a four-hour miniseries on network television. Sun Li, the Chinese star, won the best actress award at the Roma Fiction Fest recently. I’ve produced more than 300 episodes of television drama, including 13 episodes of Deepwater Black, and 106 episodes of Katts & Dog (Rin-Tin-Tin, K-9 Cop in the U.S.). I've answered over 1200 All Experts questions!


I've been in the business of writing and producing feature films, television series, and MOW's for over 20 years. You can check me out at this URL

You can find my books on Amazon. See DON'T LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR STORY ( is a stripped-down readable summary of copyright, full of entertaining anecdotes and real-life examples. Read about the true horror stories that clearly show you what you need to do to avoid the misfortune of having your literary material stolen. Find out: * How to take simple inexpensive steps to protect yourself, before, during, and after you write your literary work. * How copyright law applies to writers of literary works. * How literary works enter public domain, and how you can use it to your advantage. * What aspects of literary works are protected by copyright, and what aspects are not protected. * How to create documentation that will prove your copyright entitlement in the event of an infringement on your rights. * How you can protect yourself if you are contracted to write for television. You’ll also get a FREE sample of an Option and Purchase Agreement, a contract used in the acquisition of rights in a literary property—a contract that you and your lawyer can customize for your property. Written by a writer, for writers, Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Story will help you protect yourself against plagiarists and anyone else who might infringe your right of sole ownership. ------------- Also on Amazon, my book of four short stories, THE TWENTY-BUSHEL RACER. A man’s redemption from bitterness enables him to become a loving father. A teenager discovers the importance of his attachment to the people in his life and the place where he is growing up. A man, who has for years considered himself a coward and a betrayer of his comrades, musters the courage to stand up against a pair of would-be assassins. Two young men, who grew up in the same town, meet unexpectedly, reminisce about a girl they both loved when they were boys, and unveil a truth that changes both their lives.

Master of Arts degree (Drama)

Awards and Honors
Among my awards are Best Screenplay, Best Picture, at the International Film & Television Festival of New York for THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EDWIN ALONZO BOYD, Best Screenplay, Feature Film, at the 12th International Film Festival in Sitges, Spain for PLAGUE, and a Special Jury Award, Feature Film at the San Francisco International Film Festival for PLAGUE.

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