The first scene in a horror film should, ideally, set the tone for whatever else is to follow. In a lot of ways, one might consider the opening shot of a horror movie (or any movie) to be the most important part of the entire experience – it is, after all, where the relationship between filmmaker and movie-goer is originally forged.
For instance, Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre wastes no time perfectly setting the tone. In its opening moments, the film combines a radio broadcast, two dead bodies and one of the most sickening sound effects in cinematic history to firmly illustrate how unsavory the following experience will be.
On the flip-side, there’s no denying the importance of ending on a high note. Mistakes made in the early moments of a film will always be more easily forgiven than a terrible final minute.
Think about the recent ending of David Robert Mitchell’s new-classic It Follows. After our protagonists think they have rid themselves of the sexual transmitted entity that has been stalking them we see them walking down the street hand in hand. Meanwhile, someone follows close behind. Cut to the end credits. It’s perhaps one of the best ambiguous endings in the horror genre since John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Anyway, there is pretty cool ongoing online series called “First and Final Frames,” which juxtaposes the opening and ending scenes in classic movies.
Zach Prewire expanded on this idea by creating his own version focusing on horror films, from the original Halloween to everything including The Blair Witch Project, Hellraiser, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, The Evil Dead, Open Water, It Follows, and many, many more.
It’s an interesting experiment that can show just how important the first shot is as the final one, and the best of movies find a way to come full circle. There’s nothing like a perfect little button to send the viewer off to the end credits…
Oh, and, just in case… SPOILER ALERT!
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
[via Plot Point Productions]