Writing Horror — Ari Asters Formula For Turning Loss In Character’s Life Into A Horror

Rahul Patil
2 min readFeb 11, 2022


What if you wake up one day and lose something that is probably the most important thing in your life?

It could be your family, lover, best friend, car, money, job/business, dog, cat, some secret super power or it could be even your desire to live life.

A big loss that is at the core of your being is never just a single thing that’s taken away from you, it generally represents a bigger calamity that is waiting ahead (or it could also come in the form realization or need that is necessary for the growth of character in life).

In a symbolic term it has a Domino Effect — one event setting off a chain of similar events. Or a Slippery Slope —a first step that leads to a chain of related events, contributing massive effect over time.

Ari Aster (writer-director of Hereditary & Midsommar) writes horror stories about characters living in a trauma of losing their family.

According to him the real horror for most of us is the idea of losing our whole family, it is extremely unbearable, something that we can never imagine, especially when we are young.

Grief is the real horror — So in movies by making these deaths more gory and tragic, Ari Aster creates trauma in the lives of main character(s). And the supernatural theme behind these events serves as a narrative.

Both of his films are about characters suffering from grief & trauma by the loss of their family, but disguised this loss & tragedy in a horror genre.

This shows how you can write your own story of loss, disguised in a style or genre you love the most.



Rahul Patil

Writer and aspiring film-maker. Here to write about the art of storytelling, movies, books, practical psychology and new things that I'm learning.