400+ Free and Paid Halloween-Themed Assets for Your Next Horror Film
Ready to start shooting your own horror film? Here are 400+ horror-themed assets that will add thrills and chills to the project.
Over the past couple years, we’ve written and created an enormous amount of content about Halloween and horror-themed filmmaking. So, I figured: Why not round it all up and breakdown every element and insight we’ve published about creating your own horror film? So, to start this off, let’s talk a little bit about the horror genre and what goes into creating something that brings on the scares.
Genre Breakdown of Horror
Like any genre, horror can be divided into different sub-genres. Horror is all about scaring your audience, but there are different ways to scare your audience. It’s important to know these differences so you can include, exclude, or choose to ignore altogether when writing your next masterpiece. So, let’s discuss the sub-genres!
- Slasher: Think John Carpenter‘s Halloween as the slasher that inspired a million slashers. The idea is simple — a serial killer killing everyone in his way while trying to get to the film’s hero.
- Zombie: This is self-explanatory, but zombie horror is arguably the most wildly beloved sub-genre of horror. If you’re looking for some truly incredible, low-budget inspiration, look no further than George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead (1968).
- Folk: This sub-genre features the exploration of natural, rural regions and historical horrors. You know, think folklore! We actually created an entire guide for this sub-genre! For some recent examples, look at Ari Aster‘s Midsommar or the original Wicker Man.
- Body: Time to get weird. Body horror puts a mirror to the audience, as we’re forced to examine what can go wrong with our bodies. There are often monsters, creatures, and possessions in these films. For good examples of body horror, check out The Fly, Alien (yes, it’s body horror!), or Videodrome.
- Found Footage: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Made famous by The Blair Witch Project, this sub-genre often has the film’s characters holding the camera, telling the story themselves. Personally, I find these films the most terrifying of all the sub-genres and I can’t even explain why.
Now that we know the basics of what horror films can be, let’s look at some free assets for you to use that’ll amplify the terror in your own horror film.
FREE Mysterious Fog Overlays
Fog is a multifaceted tool for filmmakers. It can add mystery and terror to a scene, add sadness to a drama, or just boost the production value of your shoot. When making a horror film, fog creates an ominous feeling within the audience, as it calls upon the greatest fear of all — fear of the unknown. This free overlay pack is super-easy to use, so keep it in mind when you shoot and match the lighting setting with a fog-friendly environment.
FREE Volumetric/Dust Light Pack
In the same vein as fog overlays, volumetric light can add an ominous, unknown weight to your scene. Think of a character walking through an old house as the killer lurks nearby. Having volumetric light and dust overlays in the scene can make the house seem like it’s been empty for a long time, as dust floats in the air.
These elements work in Premiere Pro, After Effects, FCPX, and most other NLEs. They’re free, so you can add them in, play around with them to see if they fit the scene. If they don’t? Take ’em out!
Carnage Blood Pack
Horror means blood! I mean, it doesn’t always mean blood, but more likely than not, you’re going to need some fake blood thrown somewhere into your film. Whether it’s stabbings, gun shots, or monster carnage, there are ways to avoid having to blow your budget on squibs and practical effects that you messed up for one reason or another. This pack allows you to throw the clips and composite onto the shots seamlessly. If you need a tutorial on adding these assets into your workflow, click the link below!
Right now, we’re offering 15% off on the Carnage pack and any Halloween video clips on Shutterstock! This coupon is valid through November 30, 2020. Only standard online licenses, excluding Custom and Enterprise pricing. Use the promo code SPOOKY15 at checkout.
80 FREE Cinematic Ominous Sounds and Atmospheres
A horror film’s score is just as important as the visuals (if not more). Controlling an audience’s level of terror is made infinitely easier when you have a scary soundscape to work with, as it builds and swells at the times you need it to. Think of these sounds as directing your audience on how to feel.
Best Halloween/Horror Music
If you’re going for more of a traditional score approach, we have a giant selection of horror/Halloween-inspired royalty-free tracks that you can use in your film. We’ve got playlists ranging from traditional, string-heavy sounds to more Stranger Things-y synth-inspired tracks.
- Our Favorite Halloween Haunts
- Traditional Halloween Score
- Modern Horror Sounds
- Strange 80’s Synth Horror
FREE Action Elements
One element of horror that I feel gets overlooked is the action element. The genre itself requires a certain amount of action — characters are killed, doing the killing, and/or running from something trying to kill them. Whether you’re making a slasher or zombie flick, you’re going to need sparks, impacts, dust, and smoke effects at some point. You might only need one or two elements, as there are usually limited number of action moments in horror, but it’s important to make them as believable as possible in order to really engage your audience.
How to Add Practical Effects
Let’s move away from the post-production assets and get into practical effects! Robbie Janney made this ridiculous tutorial last year to demonstrate how easy it is to create body props for your next gory scene. The ingredients are super simple — throw in Alginate Molding Powder and water. From there, you need to paint the body part (in this case, he created a hand), so that it replicates the actor’s own body part. In addition, Robbie demonstrates how to create fake blood, as well as fake guts. It’s a lot of fun and cheap! If you’re making a zombie flick, this tutorial is for you.
The Single Greatest Tutorial on Horror Filmmaking
Now, I just couldn’t not include this video. David F. Sandberg might be my favorite YouTuber of all time. Not only does the guy walk the walk (directing major motion pictures like Shazam and Lights Out), but he just gets what YouTube is supposed to be. His short films (posted on his channel) are incredibly well done and effective. However, he always follows them up with a how-to breakdown and they’re everything you’d want them to be — and more. If you’re interested in making a good horror film, watch his videos, be inspired, then take what you learned and apply them to your own story.
Looking for more free stuff? We have it here.