What makes a good creature feature?
Creature features are a common hallmark of horror films. Given the amount of such movies, you need to make yours stand out from the pack. A quick way to enhance your horror screenwriting is the think about what scares you? Is it blood, spiders, goo, sharp teeth? Your monster should contain the elements that scare you the most.
Movie monsters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They could be mutated lizards, humans or other object. It could even be a hybrid.
Whatever form you decide your monster will take, make sure it’s a worthy adversary for humans.
By worthy, I mean, make them immediately stronger than people. The main goal of your monster is to hurt or kill people. The main goal of your main characters is to slay the beast. Herein, lies your ability as a screenwriter. Work out a unique plan to capture and destroy the monster. Escalate the stakes and don’t make it too easy for your main characters to succeed.
The whole purpose of your creature is to test your main character; their resources, their abilities and belief they can win. After all, creature features are a metaphor for the challenges we face and the faith that we can overcome them, albeit battle-scarred.
In true horror film form, I think the second turning point is one of the most important parts of your screenplay. Just when the audience thinks the monster is about to be destroyed, it gets a second wind, a elevated or new power, or a significant loss to the main characters.
This leaves the third act wide open for the final efforts of the beast to be taken down. Be particularly mindful of the ending. If your horror creature can’t be destroyed, at least they can be contained and the threat removed. This leaves your horror movie franchise open to a sequel or ten.
If your monster is a mutated human, the goal is to change them back to human form, such as The Hulk, or in the case of Frankenstein, to create a companion for them.
A goal can be redemption, containment, destruction, or change back to their original form.
How to create a monster
Type of Monster
Think about the budgetary parameters of your creature. Will they be an actor wearing a latex mask and growling a lot, or do they need to be created from scratch? Will there be lots of CGI or animatronics involved such as Chucky?
Look of Monster
This is more than what the monster looks like. Is it a doll, like Annabelle, a deformed character such as Freddie Kruger, a mutant animal like Godzilla (okay, Sharknado fans, you get a special shoutout), or a human in a scientific experiment gone awry, such as Frankenstein or Jekyll and Hyde.
World of Monster
Establish and maintain the world of the of the monster. What turns them into monsters? Vampires must act act night and must be afraid of light. In the case of The Hulk, anger sets him off.
Creature horror screenplays are a respected literary form. They explore moral, ideological and cultural concerns of society.
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