Have you ever wondered how many horror or thriller films achieve the aesthetic of the perfect villain? From monsters to serial killers to creepy strangers, these characters have filled our screens with their dark and ominous background that signals they are the villain in this movie. Sure, they have creepy dialogue and strange style choices, but these characters are also always shrouded in an eerie or dim setting that makes them even scarier. Lighting techniques performed by the lighting department and their grip lighting technicians make these characters truly become haunting. Let's take a look at some of the lighting techniques that turn the main character of the movie into a villain.
When a scene is completely dark and you see an ominous face flash before your eyes, you will want to jump right out of your seat. Light flashes work to create intrigue and surprise in the scene. This technique allows us to see flashes of a haunting image or character so that our brains try to fill in the blanks, which adds to the suspense. Creating intervals and flashing lights can make the audience feel uneasy about what is going on, which makes any character a villain.
Using the color that is most associated with death is common for horror films. Red reminds the audience of blood, fire, and hell. It also symbolizes danger. Often times, you'll see villains appear in red lighting to alert your brain that they are bad or that something scary is about to happen. This symbolism works in the lighting effects of a film to add to the suspense and horror.
Shadows that are made on faces, silhouettes, and prominent use of background shadows all make the images on the screen seem distorted. This allows us to question exactly what we are seeing, which allows our brains to play tricks on us and assume the worst. It also plays on our fear of the unknown, and this creates a great deal of suspense and intrigue for viewers.
Everyone knows what long shadows are, as they appear in mostly every horror movie. Whenever a villain or antagonist is walking across a deserted field or empty room, you can typically see their shadow cast on the wall or the background as they walk. This long shadow makes them appear almost unhuman and monster-like. Long shadows work well for creating suspense, especially when it is contrasted with dim or moonlit backdrops.
These are some the lighting techniques that can add horror into the scene to immediately turn any main character into the villain of the movie. Our grip lighting technicians work diligently behind the scenes to make the lighting shine at just the right angle and shadows cast over just the right part of the character's face to make this happen. If you are looking for quality lighting equipment or grips, contact us to hear about how we can help you with your filming needs today.