What is Horror? Horror films aim to trigger an emotional response from their audience. They do this by playing on the audiences most primal fears. They often have scenes which may startle the audience through supernatural or macabre. Horror films also usually overlap the thriller genre.
What is the difference between a horror and a thriller?A lot of people get confused between what the difference is with a horror and a thriller film. A thriller film is something that contains a lot of excitement, suspense and mystery, which our piece contains. A horror is something that is an overwhelming feeling that is caused by shock and usually plays on people fears and contains things such as monsters and blood. Our piece does contain elements of both the two genres; however, we see it more as a horror, especially when studying other horror films such as Jennifer’s Body and Scream 4, two films we think are quite similar to our own.
The History of the Horror GenreHorror films from the start have had a supernatural appeal, and the first ones started off as silent shorts. The horror film genre came to light in the late 1980s, one from the time and the most well known is Le Manoir du diable, also known as The Haunted Castle made in 1896. This was said to be the first ever horror film and was the first vampire film.Budgets for horror films rose during the 1960s and the publics interest in horror’s led to a range of serious supernatural-themed films, for example The Exorcist (1973) was and is said to be the most feared movie to watch from the audience and was able to break the record for horror films.
Horror Sub-genreThere isn’t just one type of Horror, horror comes in a range of different shapes, and here are the types of horror genres out there:• Body horror – shows realistic obliteration or deterioration of the body, for example, the Human Centipede(First Sequence) (2010)• Comedy horror - this combines both themes of comedy and horror fiction, for example Beetlejuice (1988)• Gothic horror - contains elements from both gothic and horror fiction, for example The Phantom of the Opera (1925)• Kiddie horror – this is aimed at a younger audience that only play on common fears . It contains less gore, and usually has a young protagonist, for example Monster House (2006)• Monster movie – contains creature or monsters, for example Cloverfield (2008)• Natural horror - contains mutated beasts, carnivorous insects, and animal and plants that are usually harmless, into killers, for example The Birds (1963)• Psychological horror contains supernatural and ghosts and uses such things as fears, beliefs and eerie music to create suspense and tension, for example The Ring (2002)• Science Fiction horror - contains murderous aliens, mad scientists, and or experiments gone wrong, for example Alien (1979)• Slasher film - involves a psychopathic killer who goes round killing a series of different people using a knife or axe, for example Scream 1996)• Splatter film - focus on the gore, usually contains a lot of special effects and a lot of blood splat, for example Saw (2004)• Zombie film - contains creatures who either corpses or mindless humans, for example Resident Evil (2002)
Conventions of a Horror GenreSetting- Isolated or small community- Urban atmosphere – dark streets, ghost town, narrow alleyways -Abandoned houses, insane asylum -Cabins, barns, subways, underground tunnels, graveyards, dark woods etc
Conventions of a Horror GenreTechnical Conventions- High and low angles – dominance and innocence- Point of view shots – see it through the monsters eye- Handheld – feel of terror and unknown (like Cloverfield)- Ambient diegetic sound and non diegetic – footsteps and heartbeats- Extreme close ups of victim
Conventions of a Horror GenreIconography- Visual style- Non naturalistic lighting- Props – chainsaw, candles, mirrors etc- Monsters – vampires, werewolves etc Narrative Structure - Classical narrative structure – leaves a sequel or left for closure - Hero protagonist who is on a mission to kill or solve a problem
Conventions of a Horror GenreTypes of Characters- Protagonist – hero or villain- Villain – monster, alien, serial killer- Immoral teenagers- sinister children- Police officer- Demons, ghosts, zombi es, stalkers
Conventions of a Horror GenreThemes- Good vs. evil- Religion- Supernatural- Nightmare- Insanity- Revenge- Darkness- Envy- Murder- Mass murder
Looking at horror film certificates – The DescentThe Descent is a horror film which is rated as an 18. Its an 18 because it contains the following factors:- sex & nudity 4/10- violence & gore 10/10- profanity 8/10- alcohol/drugs/smoking 6/10- frightening/intense scenes 10/10This shows high levels of each factor, therefore pushing it into the 18 certificate classificationWithin the trailer you can see that the film is following some of the conventions of a horror film such as using blood, playing on people fears (claustrophobia) and the lighting (areas arent well light and they are a lot of shadows)
Looking at horror film certificates – Jennifer’s BodyWhere as when looking at Jennifers Body the film is rated as a 15. Its a 15 because of the following factors:- sex & nudity 7/10- violence & gore 8/10- profanity 8/10- alcohol/drugs/smoking 4/10- frightening/intense scenes 8/10Although the numbers are actually higher than most in The Descent, the reason behind it being a 15 instead of an 18 is because the fact that it is a horror film and its violence/gore and frightening/intense scenes arent as high as in The Descent, its been classed lower, even though it has high profanity and sex/nudity.Within this trailer you can see some of the sexual references and frightening scenes that classed it as its classification, and how it is seen as a horror film.
Horror Film Poster Analysis – The Grudge stereotypical dark image, the bold, fonts colours - emphasis on horror themeCovered face – female, showsevil character - character ishiding something.-Pale face – ghostly or death – -Eye – makes the audiencecontrasts with black feel uncomfortablebackgroundBold fonts - draws attention Title - Red - colours shows danger, blood and death –Appeal to Sarah Michelle stands out – streams ofGellar fans -notable – above black hairtitle Slogan - “It never forgives. It Colour - black - common never forgets” - white font - convention in horror films - stands out- short sentences death and evil creates suspense. “it” – not human
Horror Film Poster Analysis – Sorority RowBurning house – lives Positioning of girlsburning away – victims – shows there close- Link to hell – hinting relationship – likeon the storyline sisters – emphasis on the nameSurrounded by darkness “sorority”– surrounded by a darksecret – typical horrorconvention“They share a killer Title – font emphasisessecret” – hints a story on the Greekline – there’s a secret – background of amaybe someone got sorority – slashedkilled, or they are going underlining – like bloodto be killed – hints at a slasher film
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