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Necessary Evil: Horror Movie in Complete Darkness

07.22.2016by: Mike Catalano

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Hola, my horror hounds and welcome to another helping of scares that need to be there! The feedback on our last Ghostbusters 3 Necessary Evil was fantastic and I really wish the studio would give it a shot! This Friday sees the release of Lights Out in theaters and it got me thinking about how scary the dark truly is, especially in horror movies! Hence if a movie wanted to really be scary, what if it took place entirely in the dark? Could such a notion be pulled off? Let's all find out!

IDEA: A horror film where the large majority of its running time is set completely in the dark.

OUTLINE: First of all, let me make it clear that people will NOT be watching a pitch black screen with just sounds happening. That would be stupid. The characters will be trapped in complete darkness, but they will have lights on their phones and/or small video cameras. The audience still will be able to see people and things, but will have no idea what could possibly be lurking around a corner.

I'm not going to draw out a detailed plot outline for exactly the type of horror movie to make here. Rather, I'd like to focus more on the concept and load it up with scenarios and methods that can be used to really enhance the "darkness all around" theme. We'd have to pick a setting where the scares would really benefit if darkness reigned supreme. It would have to be someplace fairly large to give the characters plenty of room to move about (and stumble) or get lost. A warehouse seems too conventional. Caves have been done before. I like the idea of a creepy mansion, but that too has a kind of been there, done that feel. But how about a large mortuary whose owner's house is connected to it?!

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Once the setting is a go, we need a reason for the darkness. A massive blackout can work and I say we also add a bit of a supernatural element to it. That way, it will seem more believable as to why the characters are stuck in the darkness, unable to escape out the nearest door. Being locked up in complete darkness inside a mortuary and its connecting house where ghostly activity is present sounds like one f*cking frightening time at the movies!

Lastly, since this is a horror movie, you've gotta bring on some inventive attacks and kills that fully embrace the dark surroundings. With the only way for the audience to see anything being through the characters' various flashlights, you can get away with some pretty shocking reveals of dead bodies. If the ghostly spirits end up possessing the characters, having someone get beaten to death with their own flashlight could make for one grisly visual. Plus, anything that goes on in the mortuary section could easily invoke some chills. Coffins and embalming machines should be properly utilized. The fact that the neither characters or the audience will be able to see what's coming is a huge advantage for any fright master!

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WHY IT COULD WORK: This has never been done before! It isn't found footage, although some scenes can be shown through a character's camera. What I'm saying is horror audiences love a new type of subgenre whenever it comes out. And they KNOW how scary the dark can be, especially in scary movies. I think the idea will definitely pique the curiosity of many and if the film is actually done well and inventively, it could be huge!

CHARACTERS: Since I didn't write up an actual plot, the possibilities of characters could be endless, though I feel that having the owners of the mortuary as well as a group of grievers would be obvious choices. You could throw in possible spirits of those who are recently deceased, which could factor into why the darkness and the haunting is occurring in the first place.

CONCLUSION: Who doesn't like seeing something fresh within our beloved genre?! I've seen so many horror movies with short scenes in the dark where you had no idea what was going to happen next because the characters couldn't see! Viewers begin to feel desperate for the lights to go on! Could you imagine how intense an entire film refusing to relent that feeling would be?! Again, the audience won't be staring at a black screen for 90 minutes, but only a select amount of visuals will be revealed. I don't want the audience to feel cheated. I want them to feel scared shitless!

Alright, give it to me straight. Do you think this idea of an entire horror film in the dark could actually work? Or have I had one too many Guinnesses (that's a dark beer, get it?!)? Do you have any bright ideas that would work in this type of film? Kindly fire them bullets below! And if you have any ideas that you think should be made into horror reality, let me know at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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Extra Tidbit: Has anything scary ever happened to you in the dark?

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