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Horror genre research

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  • 1. Horror Genre Research
  • 2. Horror The horror genre has the capacity to scare its audience by inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere through the use of particular forms and conventions. Most horror films consist of the same type of settings, props, themes, character types etc. This is because by using these same forms and conventions you know what reaction to expect from your audience.
  • 3. SettingsThroughout horror films the typical settings which are used are : • Graveyards • Lofts/Basements • Isolated/Abandoned areas/buildings • Haunted houses • Or a place with a hidden past which specifically links in with a character or plot. Most of which are usually set at night time when a character is alone, this is done to create suspense and build tension making the viewer fear for the character as we know they are in danger. However on some occasions the settings can differ as they can be done within different times of the day but still within an isolated area an example of this would be The Hills Have Eyes; director Alexandre Aja has chosen to set this film in the desert during the day:
  • 4. Examples of Horror films with these settings would be: The Strangers: Set in an isolated vacation home. Silent Hill: Set in a desolate town. The Others: Set in a darken old house.
  • 5. Cinematography The way in which a camera is angled can have a huge impact on how the shot is represented. Canted angles and hand held camera movements are common in horror movies as this shows the shots are off balance therefore suggesting chaos and danger. As well as this horror films also use extreme close ups to show the facial expressions of characters clearer, making it easier to understand their fear so that we then empathise with them. This is shown throughout the trailer for „House At The End Of The Street‟…
  • 6. High angle and low angle shots are used within certain horror films to represent the weakness/vulnerability of the victims and the power of the killers. High angle = Weakness Low angle = Power
  • 7. Mise-en-sceneIn order to create an effect and impact on the audience most horror films consist of the same colours, props etc to signify the genre. Colours most often associated with the horror genre are dark such as black, white, red, grey. These use of colours make it easy to identify a genre if you see them on a film poster/advertisement for example: The film poster for „Dark Skies‟ makes us instantly think it is part of the horror genre through the use of grey, black and red. As well as using these colours this poster also uses shadows and a lot of space to represent isolation. These dark colours are also used throughout film trailers, especially to create inter- titles, to make the audience frightened and uncomfortable. This is shown clearly in the trailer for „The Descent‟
  • 8. Other forms of mise-en-scene which is used throughout horror films are props. The most common props used in horror films are weapons such as : • Guns • Knives • Axes… The most popular prop however is blood which is used in any horror film to disgust the audience and induce fear. Examples of horror films which use props are:
  • 9. ThemesThe themes of horror are used to scare and thrill an audience. The horror genre offers a combination of real life and the otherness, this mixture intensifies the horror as it creates the idea that your nightmares and worst fears could come true. Typical horror themes include: • Hauntings/Ghosts • Revenge • Religion • Demons/monsters • Good vs Evil The theme of a film usually links in with the narrative structure too. Horror films usually begin in a state of equilibrium where everything is fine until a complicating action occurs, causing disruption. The antagonists then either does or does not overcome this. Most horror films end in a state of disequilibrium. Most of the time they have a cliff hanger and a never ending plot usually resulting in a sequel.
  • 10. Examples of films with this type of ending are : The Hills Have Eyes: Made into a sequel Saw: The plot always cliff hangs Friday The 13th: The antagonist always survives at the end
  • 11. Character Types These are the different characters within a film that the audience identifies with, they can then decide whether they do or do not like this character.
  • 12. Character types within a horror film: • The Protagonist: this is commonly a women that overcomes their fear and is usually the smartest of the group. They tend to come face to face with the killer thus resulting in the theory of „The Final Girl‟, however they usually do not survive. An example of this would be Jenny from „Eden Lake‟. • The Sex Appeal: this is usually also a women. This character type is commonly the first to die and is always the first to show her body. An example of this would be „Chugs‟ in „Sorority Row‟.
  • 13. The Unlikely Hero: this is the character which surprises the audience due to their behaviour/appearance and ends up saving the day. An example of this would be „Doug‟ in „The Hills Have Eyes‟ due to his “nerdy” appearance. The Antagonist: This is the “Bad Guy” throughout the film which both characters and the audience fear, this tends to be any villain/killer within a film. An example of this would be „Dr. Heiter‟ in „The Human Centipede‟.

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