The Ultimate Horror Unit

Time to wrap up another unit! from my previous posts you can tell that our unit this term is horror. This unit involved examining some of the most famous horror movies and literature and creating our own movie/trailer.

Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?

This is how we answered the question as a class, (this is our final project for the unit, a class horror movie/trailer)


Horror movies aren’t just about murders, blood and gore, they have so much more to them! Our unit started off with a field trip to Seattle. On this trip we visited the MO POP museum as well as a haunted house!!! During this trip, our goal was to identify what makes a horror movie scary and why people are scared of certain things. To add to that, we had to discover why people like horror. For example, after we went through the haunted house (Georgetown Morgue) everyone wanted to go again. The haunted house was terrifying, every kind of fear was in the house! For some reason I wanted to go again, and by the end everyone was full of adrenaline.

In class we watched a short documentary, Why Horror”. The documentary touched on the main aspects of why people enjoy horror movies. Something that was interesting was the aspect of a safe flight, meaning you know that you are not in danger. It also depends on your culture, what bothers them and how they approach life and death. 

The MO POP had an excellent horror exhibition that answered many of our questions.

I had never thought about how many factors of horror there are (the unknown, unseen, unconscious, etc.). The factor that scares me the most would have to be the unexpected, you expect reality to function, something shatters our expectations and we feel shock and distress. This factor would fall into the category of the element of absence, the other element is the element of presence. This includes categories such as helplessness, urgency and pressure. Out of these helplessness is for sure the more unnerving, simply because you have a lack of power and can’t make your own choices. It’s the feeling of isolation, the only one left and can’t call for help you literally feel helplessness.

After taking the time to analyze other horror movies such as Get Out, Halloween and Frankenstein, as a class we discussed the continuity and change and what societal issue the movie reflects. For each movie we wrote a post answering questions about the continuity and change as well as the filming techniques and dialogue. Watching these movies was crucial in order to really depict what we wanted to include in our own movie and how to tell a good story with not just dialogue but using foreshadowing, symbols and actions of the characters. Halloween used some really interesting techniques that told the story from different points of view (POV) from the murderer and the victim. From watching these movies, we were also able to discuss the social issue that the movie is reflecting on. Go check out my posts about the horror in each of those movies! 

One of our first major milestones was reading the novel Frankenstein. This novel was a great introduction to our horror unit. What I found so interesting about the book is how many perspectives Mary Shelley represented. By having so many perspectives gave you a better insight of each character making the novel more engaging. In this story it is not so clear who the monster truly was, some people may think it’s Frankenstein’s creature and others could think it was Frankenstein. In THIS post I explained who the monster is in my opinion.

Moving on into the movie/trailer, for this horror unit our project was something very different compared to our previous assignments. Just like our Winter exhibition in Grade 11 this project was a class production. The reason I called it a movie/trailer is because originally our class was assigned to create a horror movie but with a short timeline we were only able to make a trailer. We had to use the knowledge and resources we were given and apply them to a final creation. I personally really enjoy class projects mainly because everyone has unique ideas and different talents and when we put all the ideas together we can create something pretty cool. Obviously working as a class can also be a challenge because there are so many ideas and we had to stick with one and I think that is what was the most challenging as well as producing a schedule where the majority of the class were available.

I did not realize how many different roles there are in a movie production!! Our class followed the format and assigned many roles to make this movie possible. Within the roles we had a key creative team that consisted the director, producer and story writer.

I originally put myself forward as director because I had a certain vision for the movie but I was then assigned to the script team where I could contribute to the story line. It was also good for me to be in the script team mainly because it made me step outside of my comfort zone. The script certainly took the longest, it involved writing and consulting with the class and then revising, it was a long process but eventually we developed a decent script!

We decided to focus on the issue with stereotyping teens and the issues that lead to that. We had decided it was going to be about a bunch of teens staying after school to clean up a prank they pulled, an angry janitor ends up taking revenge on the teens. The script for sure took patience and it taught me the importance of critique and how to take it in a positive way. During filming I was also assigned to the lights along with Calum. Our role was to collect the lights and set them to the appropriate setting as well as transporting them to the scenes. 

Sorry for the bad quality

We all as a class were dedicated to this movie and worked after school and on weekends. To ensure everyone was updated on the filming days detailed call sheets were created.

There were many ups and downs with filming but overall it was a super fun experience. I learnt so many lessons about working with a vast team. Our movie was never finished and it simply came down to communication. We had to work with a short timeline and we couldn’t quite get all of the shots done in time. We also didn’t take into consideration how long it would take to get from scene to scene with all the props, lights and camera operators. The editors did what they could with the footage and created a really good trailer instead.

To conclude, I learnt so much from this whole project from looking at issues in society, analyzing horror movies and their deeper meaning, but most importantly how to work as a team and manage time and communication. These skills are for sure transferable to future projects or even future jobs.

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