Hollywood Screams, Special Effects

Here is some information about how to do your own special effects on a limited budget. Cheap ways to make your slasher movie look real.

Green Screen

The Chroma Key Effect or Green Screen is now very affordable for the average movie maker. If you want to do good effects for a slasher film or sci-fi or space movie, the low cost video editors are now available with great effects packages. I use Magix Pro 14 to make my effects. The low cost (under $75) editing software has unlimited tracks for video and audio. It also has dozens of built in effects for audio as well as video. If you want to make a black and white movie, that can be done with Magix. If you want to change the esisting colors and make them luminous or psychedelic, that is an easy thing to do.

Green screen is probably the most useful special effect for a video software. It is possible to have dinosaurs in your finished movie that are taller than skyscrapers. It is possible to stand in front of a green wall (maybe a wall covered with green poster board) and by inserting a video background behind you, you suddenly can be in New York City or Paris or on a dry desert or on the moon.

When you choose a video editor be sure to look for unlimited tracks (at least ten, but 99 is much better) and look for green screen or chroma key ability.


Cloning is an effect which requires a video editor which can do video Cropping. Cropping is when the video picture is sliced somewhere with a vertical cut. Part of the picture is chopped away. The video is then placed over another video which was photographed in the same location with the same camera angle and lighting. That means you can sit on one side of the sofa and talk to yourself on the other end of the sofa. You do a video of yourself as character number one, then quickly without stopping or moving the camera, you slide to the other end of the sofa and do the other part of the scene. You then slice the video between the two characters and stack one video on top of the other to make sure the conversation or action is in synch. You crop one video somewhere between the two characters so both characters can be seen at the same time. Make any necessary adjustments for brightness and your scene becomes you in two places.


Videos can be played while other videos are playing at the same time in some video editors. That is a needed effect when you are doing a fade from one scene to another or when you are doing a clone or green screen.

It is the video equivalent of the multitrack audio recordings. That also is a desired effect for your video editor. You want to have multiple tracks of audio going at the same time. You might want some mood music and dialog and sound effects all at the same time.

An FX Video

This video uses an overlay, cloning and green screen approach to creating an illusion. It was made with a low cost video editor called Magix Pro 14. This effect is now cheap and easy to do. It once was out of reach of low budget productions.

Hollywood Horror Effects

More Effects


Toy realistic looking dinosaurs and other animals are available from most low cost, one dollar type outlets. Green poster board is usually found there at low prices also. Toy cars can be placed in front of green screens and the resulting image can be used to place a "Hero" car at any location. You can use the models with still pictures of mountains and make them appear to go off the cliff. Imagine your scene and then think of how you can do it for free or at low cost.

Blood Effects

Blood spurts and exit wounds can be found at Detonation Films. Some of their effects are free and some are very low priced. It is also possible to make a blood stain for someone's clothes or their head or arm or leg by using Windows Paint or any graphics image editor such as GIMP, which is free. You can draw the blood stain on a green background and superimpose it over the video of the person. This works only if the person is standing or laying still. It is also necessary to chroma key out the green background and make the image larger or smaller as needed.

Stab Wounds

Stab wounds for slasher movies can be made like shown in the video. A knife blade going through a green poster board will give the camera a video of a knife blade with a green background. That background can then be keyed out and the knife blade can be positioned anywhere and made larger or smaller as needed. It can be a very realistic effect if you take your time with it and use a good chroma key editor.

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