Topic: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

I'm more than halfway finished with my slasher screenplay that I plan to develop. Currently my problem is figuring out if the protagonist (brunette woman)  should survive in the short

Secondly, does the killer need a motive / back story revealed in a short?

As a viewer of horror films would you be disappointed not learning a motive in a short? What if only the killer is left alive?

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

It depends on what your story is about if I'm honest, if you want to make another story continuing on that one then you would be better of making her survive. And I normally reveal a back story to a protagonist, but yet again it depends on how the story is going and what it's about.

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

AndyMetalfreak219 wrote:

It depends on what your story is about if I'm honest, if you want to make another story continuing on that one then you would be better of making her survive. And I normally reveal a back story to a protagonist, but yet again it depends on how the story is going and what it's about.

Good points. I'm going to keep her alive. Still having a problem with a back story.

The killer is just a guest in the motel room that wants to kill as of right now.

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

You'll work things out overtime. Just keep thinking of things and trying to make sense around it, or maybe make a connection between two people that don't know each other, try to make something happen that's not expected. I have a few stories up here to read, you can read if you want. Hope I helped!

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

Slasher flicks almost always provide a motive for their killers, and it's always some weird childhood trauma or a prank gone wrong.

Personally I think it's scarier if you don't know why.  Do we, the viewer, need to know why he wants to kill her?  Because if not, any back story you might provide won't matter and will only get in the way.

Remember the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Tell us what we need to know and nothing more.  There's a woman in a hotel room.  The man in the next room is trying to kill her.  That's all we need to know.  Now show us how she survives.

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

I'd say don't say why he's trying to kill her and all that, etc. If you want to progress the storyline on further with another Story. But if that will be it and nothing more, I normally wrap things up with explaining things but that's just me.

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

I wouldn't worry about a motive, it doesn't matter why he's killing people, all that matters is that he is. That's one problem with a lot of modern horror films, everyone thinks everything has to be explained to the audience.  Sometimes its better when there isn't an explanation.

Re: Short Thriller/Slasher Needs Help

While telegraphing a killer's motive may be a horror cliche (especially when done around a camp fire), there nonetheless needs to be some kind of reasoning behind the whole killing affair.  If no motive is even hinted at whatsoever, you run the risk of the audience (after seeing the short) saying... WTF was that all about and what was the point? And they most definitely will.

You NEED a reason for the guy to kill. Definitely.  The essence of ALL drama ever written is conflict. To buck that is not to be a horror maverick; it's just bad writing.

Having said that, perhaps you need not flesh out the killer as much as you should flesh out the character of the woman. Lots of people by their foolish actions, bad choices, and risque lifestyles bring about their own demise.  Perhaps write this woman as a sort of troubled person, whose life issues just happen - on a fateful night - run headlong into someone capable of killing given certain circumstances. The woman presents those circumstances, and the guy just goes off and WHAM. Spur of the moment - killing via act of necessity.  In such a case, only the smallest detail about the killer needs to be given to justify his violence.

Last edited by Bunshinsaba (2011-06-15 23:14:13)