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  • Marilena Gant

Recipe for a Spooky Voice Over


As someone who is a total scaredy-cat – shock horror – I’ve never really celebrated Halloween. Each year I dodge the spooky movies and haunted house attractions and instead I can’t wait to whip up a batch of cupcakes decorated with every adorably spooky topper I can find.


Just like my impulse to bake some spectral cakes, the scores of spooky spots advertising everything from cars to chocolates begins before the leaves turn brown. Conjuring up a spine-tingling commercial, complete with an unsettling voice over, is an essential part of many Autumn marketing campaigns.


Here is a perfect recipe for creating a spooktacular voice over to make your hair stand on end.


- Just like choosing a cake flavour before you begin baking, you need to decide the ‘flavour’ of your spooky spot. Are you thinking something à la Hannibal Lecter, that’ll leave us all sleeping with the lights on for the rest of the year, or something a little more vanilla and about as alarming as Casper the Friendly Ghost.


- Now that the fear factor level has been decided, to begin assembling your chilling voice over you will need one killer script - pun absolutely intended.


- Next you’ll need a sprinkle of intensity. Think of every horror film or spooky movie you’ve seen. It not only what a character says but how they say it. A deep and unnerving voice, an unsettlingly slow pace or an agitated rhythm are all techniques used by famously terrifying characters to shake us to our core. You’ll need to find a voice actor who can channel Freddy Kruger or Chucky in their sleep. Or perhaps you need an actor who can bring a cheeky pumpkin or quirky ghost to life.


- A dash of maniacal laughter. Nothing is more adorable and simultaneously terrifying in the right context, as a child’s laugh. It might be cliché, but a little creepy giggle or spot of maniacal laughter goes a long way.


- Mix it all together with an eerie music bed. Add a little Dias Irae, a Gregorian plainchant whose first four notes appear in almost every spooky movie since cinema began, and your audience’s blood will run cold.