Horror Screenwriting

Are you writing a horror screenplay or thinking of writing one? Maybe a TV show like The Walking Dead? Then this is the classfor you!


This course will teach you the fundamentals of horror screenwriting and the horror genre. You will learn how to craft and focus your skills to create compelling and effective horror content including: 

  • Discussions of the genre and what is a “horror film” or TV show

  • How to craft a compelling story

  • Creating strong characters

  • Create a mise-en-scene and texture

  • Utilize sound design

  • Directing

  • Creating a scare sequence

  • Discussions of genres and sub-genres

  • Global horror markets and how to sell overseas

  • Examining the concept of “formula” and how to utilize or avoid it

  • Discussions on FX and creating monster and creatures

And More!


You can’t really talk about indie horror without talking about Dr. Rebekah McKendry. She has become synonymous with the genre, first as a journalist, then as a podcaster, and now as a filmmaker. She’s a rare breed in the genre, both a creator and professional appreciator, deeply entrenched in all aspects of the genre. She has been and continues to be one of horror’s greatest champions.

Her debut feature, All the Creatures Were Stirring, a Christmas horror anthology co-written and directed alongside her husband David Ian McKendry, might as well be called “Indie Horror: The Movie,” seeing as it stars the most recognizable cast of names and faces in indie horror this side of Tales of Halloween: Morgan Peter Brown, Matt Mercer, Jocelin Donahue, Stephanie Drake, Mark Kelly, Amanda Fuller, Jesse Merlin, Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Graham Skipper, and more, and even features cameos from indie horror filmmakers like Chelsea Stardust, Axelle Carolyn, and Mike Mendez. 

McKendry’s follow-up, Psycho Granny, was shot for MarVista Entertainment and made its debut on cable’s Lifetime network. Like Creatures before it, the film is very self-aware, leaning into the “Lifetime movie” camp of it all, often bordering on comedy with its tongue planted firmly in cheek. Both of her films so far require a certain level of sophistication—an awareness and understanding of the ways in which each plays with its respective subgenre—to be fully appreciated. 

In addition to her work behind the camera, McKendry has helped shape the horror genre for nearly two decades in her position as a journalist for Fangoria, as the Editor-in-Chief of the former, and as co-host of multiple hugely successful horror podcasts: first the Rondo Award-winning Killer POV, then Shock Waves. Both were among the biggest and most influential horror podcasts online—they were The Beatles of horror podcasting—and helped fans such as myself discover countless obscure titles and indie gems like The Battery that might not have otherwise seen the light of day. I've heard some podcasts that approach horror films academically and I've heard some that approach horror films as enthusiastic fans, but McKendry’s shows consistently do both better than any other podcast (and I've listened to a lot of them). Depth is never sacrificed for the fun of talking about horror movies, nor vice versa.

Now a professor of film at USC, McKendry also co-hosts the bi-weekly Colors of the Dark podcast, a deep-dive show into various horror topics and careers, alongside her Shock Waves and Killer POV host Elric Kane; the pair also host a spin-off show, Deep Cuts, available to Patreon subscribers. Everything from Italian horror to aquatic horror (McKendry’s favorite subgenre) to new releases are discussed in detail with the same reverence and enthusiasm as their previous collaborations, and the result is a show that loves and celebrates horror in a manner that’s infectious and informative. McKendry’s contributions aren’t just behind the camera or behind the podcast mic, either. She co-founded the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship for Female Filmmakers to help give a voice to women, another of the countless ways that McKendry supports independent horror. The genre just wouldn’t be the same without her.

Other classes at Story Expo by Rebekah:

Horror Filmmaking