‘Psycho’ relies heavily on the generic conventions of a horror film:- An isolated setting is used where no one else is staying apart from our key protagonist Relies heavily on sound effects to build up the tension and fear within the audience Uses shadows and silhouettes frequently throughout – especially in the famous shower scene. Brutal weapons and blood is used Fits into the slasher horror sub genre by the brutal murders that take place. However it does not rely as heavily on them as recent films such as ‘Saw’ who base the shock on torture and terror.• The split personality towards the end of the film mixes the sub genres of horror. This puts a more psychological twist on the film. The killing he does creates the tension and fright within the audience.
‘Psycho’ was released in 1960. Psycho was the first ‘slasher’ horror to be introduced Before ‘Psycho’ horror films were extremely gothic and relied heavily on science fiction. Ghosts and monsters still remained the heavy feature in horror films instead of a human playing the antagonist or murder. This was seen in films such as ‘The innocents’ and ‘Zombies’. ‘Psycho’ was one of the first films that played on the idea of someones mind driving them to kill other people. ‘Psycho’ was only one of the few films that used a woman as they key protagonist and this influenced the horror genre dramatically. Women were used to express their vulnerability and fears more since the release of ‘Psycho’ and the role of women in the horror genre changed dramatically.
A convention I would use from ‘Psycho’ would by the psychological horror side to the film. The idea of the split personality is very interesting and would be fun to play with in my own trailer. In my trailer I would avoid the conventions of brutal weapons and murders that are seen within the film. This is because it would be hard to film and these scenes would also not feature in a trailer for a film. They are built up to for the actual film rather than the trailer. The conventional isolated setting would be interesting to use in my own trailer as it established the scene and creates the ideas of isolation and vulnerability. The use of sound effects within the film is also I convention I would use within my trailer. The sounds help to build up the tension and create the fear within the audience.
Saw relies heavily on the conventions of blood and brutal weapons to create the genre of a horror. Saw is a splatter/slasher horror as it deliberately focuses on the gore and graphic violence as well as using a particular psychopath killer. In this case he is known as ‘Jigsaw’ Saw lacks in psychological mind games and instead concentrates on brutal violence to play on audience fears and make them feel uncomfortable. Saw does not rely on setting the mood or meeting the conventions of setting the scene before an incident happens. Instead it jumps straight into the action and shocks the audience straight away. Audiences are intrigued and fascinated by horror films such as ‘Saw’ as it meets the requirements of the Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory. The audience watches the film in shock but in an unusual way it is comforting to know that there normal lives are not like the film and when they leave the film, it will not happen to them. It is a horror movie that is relying heavily on the shock and reaction from the audience than keeping the high amounts of tension and building up to the horror moments like psychological horrors. Saw does not rely on the audience getting to know characters and protagonists well and creating a connection. They shock does not come from what is happening to the characters they have got to know, but by the brutal deaths that different people face.
The first ‘Saw’ movie was released in 2004. Early in the 2000’s the return of the sub genre of zombie horrors were brought back in films such as ‘28 days later’ and ‘The return of the living dead’. ‘Saw’ was one of the first films in the 2000’s to bring back the return of extreme and graphic violence into horror films. ‘Saw’ concentrated on the emphasis on depictions of torture, suffering and violent deaths which had not been previously been used before. This saw the emergence of this particular genre and saw many films similar to it follow. These included ‘The Torture’ and ‘Hostel’. Before ‘Saw’ the release of films such as ‘Scream’ had created a chain of horrors concentrating on the teenage market. ‘Saw’ moved away from concentrating horror films on teenage protagonists and influenced the genre into more extreme violence and torture of all ages. This played of many different age ranges fear rather than just the teenage market. The success of the sub genre ‘Saw’ started was confirmed by the six sequels that were made in the same way. The Saw film series holds the Guinness World Record of the highest-grossing horror franchise in history. Many people however criticized the ‘Saw’ movies as being a copy of the film ‘Seven’ which was released in 1995. Entertainment Weeklys Owen Gleiberman compared the plot to Seven saying, "In a blatant imitation of Seven, Saw features a lunatic sadist whose ghoulish crimes are meant, in each case, to mirror the sins of his victims. The twist here is that the psycho doesnt do the killing"
The concentration of extreme violence and terror is a convention I would challenge within my own trailer as I want to concentrate more on a physiological horror where aspects like this are not as important. I would also avoid this convention of ‘Saw’ movies as it limits the target audience that could see my trailer and therefore the market for the film. Within in my own trailer I would also challenge the convention that ‘Saw’ uses by not setting the scene and getting a connection with the key protagonists. I believe it is very important in a trailer to see life before the horror event takes place to show the extreme contrast, especially in the short time frame a trailer allows. I also believe it is important to gain a connection with the key protagonists so I can play with the audiences fears and emotions more within my trailer once they get to know them and guess how they would react to certain situations. This would help to keep the audience on edge and constantly frightened. A convention I would like to use within my trailer is the huge elements of shock that the ‘Saw’ movies create. Although I would like to build the tension more than these movies, the huge element of terror and shock created by the scenes in this movie is something I would like to incorporate in my trailer.
‘Paranormal Activity’ uses ‘found footage’ and is mostly filmed by hand held cameras to give the effect that the supernatural activity is more realistic and we are realizing their fate at the same time that they are. It is a supernatural horror film which plays of psychological horrors. The film works by creating and building up tension throughout out the day and the action happening at night. This creates fear and worry within the audience every time we see the footage being filmed at night. The film does not heavily rely on blood and gore to be a horror film, instead it plays of the audience psychological fears and builds the tension slowly to reach the climax point. The tension and fear is built in the film by the paranormal activity getting worse and worse every night. This builds on the audiences fear of the night and dark as well as them expecting something worse to happen each night. The film still uses the convention of blood at the very end but this is not what has created the shock and fear within the audience throughout the film. The film does not use the conventional isolated dark setting and instead uses a modern house in America. I believe this plays of the audiences fears even more and makes the situation seem more realistic and relatable.
‘Paranormal Activity’ had the influence on the horror genre by cleverly creating a low budget horror and showing the effect of how cleverly you can build tension and play on the audiences fear. ‘Paranormal Activity’ also showed the effect of the home filmed video footage instead of trying to convey professional filming to create the fear. The terror and anxiety in this film was created by the realism the home videos created. Many films towards the end of the 2000’s were becoming remakes of older horror films such as ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’. ‘Paranormal Activity’ moved away from this and created a genre of horror that played heavily on psychological fears and relied on no blood or brutal weapons at all. ‘Paranormal Activity however is never bland, and tends to make viewers believe what theyre seeing is plausible, such that every creak, groan, and bump in their own homes just might not be what they think it is. That is the true effect of this sub-genre of horror movie; the injection of possibility into the viewers psyche.’ Often, the thought of something happening, whether positive or negative, is more impactful than the actual event. This is why moviegoers will (for better or for worse) probably see an influx of movies like this. Better, because hack-and- slash is tired, and worse, because the suspension of disbelief only has so long of a shelf life. To be more specific, most of what the viewer experiences are sounds - bumps, keys falling, etc - which allows the imagination even more to work with. We hear the thumps, hear them getting closer; the anticipation for what we might see works its magic.http://voices.yahoo.com/paranormal- activity-strikes-home-horror-genre-gets-5168571.html?cat=40
A convention from ‘Paranormal Activity’ that I would use would be the use of the hand held camera and footage. I think this makes the film look more realistic as the protagonists are filming all the action themselves and it looks as if they are wanting to find out what is going on rather than them being filmed. The hand held camera also creates the effect of fear within the audience and for the key protagonist. I would also use the conventions and same techniques that the film uses to build tension and play psychological mind games with the audience. I want to avoid the brutal violence and torture and build on the audience fears through the tension built. I want to explore the ideas of a supernatural horror like ‘Paranormal Activity’ I would use these conventions and build tension by slamming doors and lights switching off as they are easy to create with the camera and resources that I have available. These conventions will be able to appear more professional than if I tried to convey a torture scene. I do not have the equipment, actors or settings to make my horror look believable. This would be the easiest sub genre to convey.
‘An audience can be described as ‘a temporary collective’ (McQuail 1972) – I would disagree with McQuail with the idea that audiences change all the time because an audience that is interested in watching a horror genre are attracted back to the same codes and conventions. The target audience for a horror varies between ages but all are attracted to watch a horror film due to the generic conventions that it includes. Though there are different sub genres of horror, the same audience continues to watch them and each horror film does not attract a different audience. ‘…the tendency to concentrate solely on why audience consume the media rather than extending the investigation to discover what meanings and interpretations are produced and in what circumstances i.e how the media are received’ (O’Sullivan, Dutton &Rayner 1994) – I believe this theory to be true for the horror genre. We watch a horror film for the fright and terror of it and not to receive a moral message at the end. In most horror films, the issue is not resolved at the end meaning there is no satisfaction or moral messaget aken away from it. Audiences watch horror films for the anxiety and the thrills they receive from it and then walk away at the end and forget about it. It does not leave them pondering with moral issues. For example , the cultivation theory does not relate to the horror genre as it does not make you take anything in particular away from the film or affect the way you learn and think about the world.