Blood Sweat and Tears

Exploring the Making of a Horror Scene


Photo Courtesy of Double Feature on Creative Commons

With this fall series, reporter Isaiah Prophet shines some light on the effort and work that goes into the different elements of horror films as well as some trade secrets. 

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

If you’re a fan of horror movies like I am, then you are probably very familiar with the genre’s use of special effects.  From slasher films such as “Friday the 13th  or more modern retellings such as the “It” franchise, gore in horror movies has been synonymous with the genre for decades. But that wasn’t always the case. 

One of the most iconic horror films was the movie “Alien” which was filmed in 1979. In one of the movies now iconic scenes, a worm-like entity bursts from one of the crewmate’s chest in a gruesome display. In order to make that scene happen they had to stuff the chest cavity full of real guts and organs from the butcher shop. In addition, in order to get a true reaction of horror from the actors the cast was not warned beforehand of how the scene was going to take place in their scripts according to The Guardian.

Blood is another important element in many horror films, classic or modern. Most fake blood or “Kennsignton Gore” as it is sometimes referred, used to be as simple as chocolate syrup for use in black and white films. But in 1972 a man by the name of Dick Smith who perfected the fake blood recipe according to Slate. His recipe had the right color, consistency, flow and it could even soak into clothing just like real blood. 

Costume makeup has been an important part of horror movie design since color television, makeup has the ability to make wounds appear real and make monsters come to life. During the filming for the movie “It” Alec Giles and Tom Woodruff utilized prosthetics made from foam latex and even dentures to emphasize features on the actors face in order to transform him into the killer clown according to Buro

All of these elements together bond to create the iconic scenes in cinema we love today. The work that goes into a full-length feature film is oftentimes neglected and overlooked. With this fall series, I hope to shine some light on the effort and work that goes into these films as well as some trade secrets.