These films use a mix of CGI, puppetry, makeup, and sound to terrify audiences.

Well, we’re halfway through 2020, which means we’re that much closer to Halloween. I like to start celebrating early and was happy to discover a new video from Insider that offers a peek behind the scenes at some of horror’s recent blockbusters. I love to see how filmmakers achieve their scary visuals, especially with practical effects.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video below, then read through some key takeaways!

The average indie filmmaker might not have access to all the CGI, prosthetics, and puppetry used in movies like UsChild’s Play, or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but a video like this can be an inspiration as you start working on horror projects of your own.

For instance, take the importance of sound in A Quiet Place. All you apparently need to create those creaking alien limbs is lettuce and celery. (Zapping grapes might be a bit more difficult.) Sound and silence in horror is incredibly important in creating effective tension, and you can do it affordably if you’re smart about it. What characters hear or don’t hear can be terrifying and atmospheric.

For creature flick Crawl, the film crew built their own set they could flood and used CGI to create those man-eating gators. Again, you might not have the budget for that, but you still might consider finding ways to utilize a single location as they did in this film. Almost the entire movie takes place in or under the house and features one or two actors, and it’s terrifying the whole time!

Having the ability to maintain tension in limited locations and with a small cast is going to be extremely beneficial as we move toward resuming filmmaking during the pandemic.

Finally, Ready or Not is able to reflect part of the lead character’s journey through the evolution of her costume.

Ready or Not
Credit: FOX Searchlight

This is a smart way to actually “show” character growth. And again, there’s a way to do this on a limited budget. You don’t have to have a character in an extravagant lace wedding gown. You can do the same thing with sweatpants and a t-shirt!

What are some of your favorite horror films from the past couple of years? Let us know in the comments!

Cre  :nofilmschool.com