Vampires, Sharks and Zombies, Oh My!

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by Shant Yegparian (@shantyegparian)

Ever since George Romero’s classic zombie films such as Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Spielberg’s Jaws, and even Hollywood’s golden age with multiple tales of Nosferatu, we’ve seen filmmakers pull inspiration from these classics.

What’s great about monster films is that audiences already know the legends and myths. It’s been a part of movie culture for over one hundred years.

In modern cinema, we’ve seen intense zombie films heavily influenced by Romero’s such as 28 Days Later, but we’ve also seen successful spoof’s such as Shaun of the Dead.

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Though we may never see a shark movie as good as Jaws, there have been some good ones that are right behind this fan favorite. This past year, The Shallows came out with a tight budget of $17 million (pretty small compared to other studio releases). The film grossed close to $117 million worldwide, and was liked by both audiences and critics.

When it comes to vampires and werewolves, we can’t forget about one of the biggest franchises to hit the YA and teen audience, the Twilight series. Whether you hate or like those movies, we saw a resurrection of vampire and werewolf films as a result.

Around the same time as the Twilight films, we saw a remake of The Wolfman in 2010 with a $150 million budget and other versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula tales.

There will always be an audience for these kinds of films.

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The next time you browse through Netflix, you can count dozens of zombie films. While 99% of those titles aren’t as great as Romero’s, they are still getting tons of plays and views. Zombie aficionados will watch a zombie film no matter how bad it is just because they are die-hard fans of the genre and yearn for these kind of movies.

People love to get scared, especially in the safe environment of a fictitious film. The “what if” factor always comes to play. What if a zombie apocalypse was to break out? How would you survive?

The one con of these movies is that at times they can be over-saturated and repetitive in the story line. People already have a negative connotation when it comes to zombie films as the marketplace is flooded with them. But if you come up with a unique spin on the genre, one that audiences haven’t seen before, instantly your premise moves to the top of the pile and you will stand out from the competition.

If you’d like to write or direct these kind of movies, make sure you reserve your free online ticket to Genre Summit 2.  Do you want to learn how to create an original zombie apocalypse? How about crafting the ultimate villain, whether it be a shark or vampire? Or maybe you want to learn more about jump scares and other horror “hacks”? You’ll also learn a ton about loglines from LA Screenwriter’s own Angela Bourassa. Sign up for your free pass today — the fun starts on Halloween.

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Shant Yegparian is a multi-optioned, award-winning screenwriter, and published author. Shant is the founder and host of genresummit.com, an online event that showcases how top genre filmmakers and writers perform at the highest level.

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