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Special Effects on a Budget

Some film genres rely more on special effects than others, and horror is right at the top of the list. When making a horror film, you need all sorts of special effects from fake blood to open wounds and special make-up to help actors appear good and dead! However, if you’re working on a low-budget film and only have a few hundred quid to spend, how can you create realistic special effects without going over-budget? Fortunately, there are ways you can make your own special effects for your low-budget horror movie without having to break the bank.

It is possible to make fake blood of all kinds, sugar glass for breaking and to use make up in all kinds of ways on a budget. Doing so will make your special effects look as realistic as those in big-budget horror films.

To make fake blood, all you need is a mixing bowl, a cup of golden syrup, a tablespoon of red food colouring, a teaspoon of yellow food colouring and water to change its consistency. To give the fake blood a congealed look, mix in a tablespoon or two of corn starch to thicken it up. Adding green or blue food colouring to the fake blood mix will make it look like artery or vein blood. For an oozing effect, add some chocolate syrup to give it a more realistic appearance.

For sugar glass, which can be used to make fake windows or beer bottles, mix one part liquid glucose with two parts water and three and a half parts sugar. Then, heat in a pan on medium heat before pouring the mixture into a mould of your choice.

As for creating realistic cuts, bruises and gouges, all you need is an ordinary range of cosmetics. For cuts, draw the outline of the wound with brown eyeliner. Then, fill it in with red lipstick, cover with finishing powder and add green, brown and light purple eye shadow for it to have the desired effect. For your fake cuts to look fresh, simply add a thin layer of Vaseline (see below for more tips).

The possibilities are endless, check out this video of how to make a realistic looking throat slash! Thank god for the internet.

When it comes to make-up, using light and shade is vital. Judging it correctly will make the characters in your film look more realistic. To do this, apply dark or light cream or powder, and you can create all sorts of body effects.

By following these tips, if you manage to get your film into a cinema, your special effects may not look as good as they do on the big screen, but they’ll still look pretty awesome and show what you could do with a bit more cash!

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