So ya wanna be a millionaire, huh? Well, lucky for you I happen to be in the
business of making people's dreams come true, so I've got just the thing for
all you greedy young folks out there: the slasher movie. That's right, kids,
ever since Scream horror has been hot in Hollywood, and there's nothing
hotter than the brain-dead teen slasher picture. As recent box-office has
proved, such horror 'think pieces' as Lost Souls or The Cell appear to be
too 'high-brow', 'sophisticated' or 'good' for your traditional teen
audience, so all you budding young screenwriters and directors would do well
to focus you attentions to something a little more 'popular', or 'stupid',
to try to appeal to the most profitable demographic, i.e. those YM reading
teens who need to go see movies like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
over and over again because the plot gets a little tricky. Anyway in the
interests of further glutting the market with crappy movies, I've put
together a simple 10 step program to write the perfect slasher movie. Enjoy,
kids, 'cause you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.
- Buy at least $100 worth of screenplay-writing handbooks and software
programs. Next, let them sit on your desk until at least one full inch of
dust has collected on top of them. Your offering to the great gods of hack
writing is now complete. If you're running short on time or live in a
particularly dust-free house, just set some money on fire. This is how Jerry
Bruckheimer makes movies.
- Create a villain, preferably one with some variety of creepy mask. Since
all the good ones have already been taken (hockey mask, ghost face, William
Shatner), try to come up with something so ludicrous you can't even think
about it without giggling like a gassed-up schoolgirl, like a fencing mask
or a burlap sack. Remember, no matter how stupid it seems, your target
audience has so vastly reduced their IQ with drugs, insipid cell-phone
conversations and intra-mural sports that they find car commercials
frightening. Speaking of IQ...
- Reduce your own intelligence. Remember, you can't write to retards
without being at least partially brain-dead yourself. I suggest either
carbon monoxide poisoning or repeated blows to the head. Try to conserve
enough brain cells to work your cell-phone so you can call your agent, but
not enough that you can use phrases like "character motivation' and 'social
relevance' without giving yourself a headache.
- Hire some actors from the wide and wonderful world of night-time teen
soap operas. These people are only slightly brighter than their fans, so
they won't be able to read the script or fully realize what a terrible
career move they're making. Alternatively, just hire anybody who's been on
the cover of Teen People in the last month. This is a gold mine for
- Make sure your props I mean actors have strong characters. Don't bother
creating some of your own, just mix around the stock characters from their
respective TV shows. For example, give Buffy some of Brenda's bitchiness,
and a touch of Joey's vibrating eyeballs. Although variety is the spice of
life, many people have sensitive tastebuds, so spare them anything that even
smells like originality.
- Get a studio to throw some money at you. Do this by pitching the movie
using the "____" meets "____" approach. It doesn't have to make sense as
long as it uses movies that made a lot of money, like "Carrie meets
Homeward Bound", or "The Exorcist meets Strictly Ballroom".
- Start shooting. If you don't feel like directing the movie yourself, hire
someone with a background in music videos or commercials. Since they have
absolutely no attention span, as evidenced by their one-word names like McG
of Charlie's Angels or Tarsem from The Cell, they will better be able to
spoon-feed your movie to the audience in bite-sized, easily digestible
three second chunks.
- Write a script. Or better yet, just borrow someone else's. The current
favourite nowadays is John Carpenter's Halloween, which has been remade 57
times in the past twenty years despite having only seven sequels.
- Edit the movie. Remember, long takes without edits bore the audience. So
does dialogue. And plot. Just make sure there's lots of blood, flashing
lights, and shiny things. They like shiny things.
- Sit back, relax, and start 'writing' the sequels. If you need help
with that, just check out my handy "Guide to Teen Slasher Movie Sequels"
located on the last page.