Investigate how far thetrailer for Dark Shadows conforms to genre conventions Melissa Shearer Candidate number: 2157
Explore the nature of the Horror genre and the pleasures it offers the audience. Why is it so popular?The nature of the horror genre is generally to evoke feelings of dread, disgust and fear in themind of the audience. Some people find great pleasure in horror films, whereas others find itdistasteful or upsetting.Pleasures that the horror genre offers:• Diversion – horror texts are often so different to normal life that they provide the audience with an escape from their day-to-day lives. This can release stress in the audience and make them feel more relaxed.• The audience can also acknowledge a side of them that enjoys and appreciates the creativeness of the killing, as these horror films often stimulating the imagination.The pleasures that the audience get from watching horror films are often things that somepeople do not like to experience, such as fear. This is why the horror genre can also be veryunpopular among people who like to feel safe in their environment, as a key aspect of horror ismanipulating the normal aspects of day to day life, and distorting them. This is effective becausepeople feel they can relate to the day to day aspect represented, but the horror aspects added toit gives them a sense of adrenaline.Horror is also a very popular genre because the tension and fear builds the adrenaline of thereader, and gives them an enjoyable rush of excitement.
Conventions of horror genre• Darkness • Old houses• Shadows • The moon• Coffins • Murder• Symbols of death – crows etc. • Crime• Isolation • Ravens• Skulls • Entrapment• Fog/mist • Strange adaptations of day-to-day or• Blood ‘normal’ situations• Supernatural • Flickering lights• Jump cuts • Silhouettes• Candles • Bodies• Madness
Representation of vampires in the mediaThe image of vampires in the media is one that has changed greatly over time, Originally,vampires (such as Count Dracula, the main character in Dracula) was seen as a monster, asportrayed by the extended fangs, odd skin colour and expression. They were also seen as beinga large threat to a normal society, particularly to women, as they were portrayed as preying oninnocent young women to drink their blood.The modern image of vampires is very different. They are often portrayed today as being verysimilar to humans visually, and so are often shown as blending in to normal society and living acontrolled life with humans. This is shown in films such as Twilight, where the main vampires donot reveal themselves to be vampires to any humans. They are portrayed as much lessdangerous in the modern media, and seen as being mainly human, as opposed to a monster.These changes could be because of the modern audience’s acceptance of things that in the1950s, would have been seen as unacceptably horrible, however the increase in the popularityof the horror genre has made people more comfortable with supernatural concepts.Technological developments have also allowed the image of vampires to become more normal,as the special effects developments have allowed filmmakers to make vampires seem human,but provide supernatural aspects that could not be achieved as well with the makeup that wasaround in the 1950s, when vampires first started to be a feature of films.
Movie trailersWhat are film trailers?Films trailers are an important part of a film’s marketing campaign, designed to inform potentialaudiences about a film to encourage them to pay money to see it at a cinema.Why are they made?Trailers are made to attract the potential audience of a film and make them want to go and seethe whole of the film in the cinema.How do they work?They work by showing the Unique Selling Point that a film has, such as a popular celebrityactor/actress, an interesting plot or extravagant special effects.Who are they for?Film trailers are aimed at the same audience as the film they advertise. This way, the audienceknows that if they like the trailer they will most likely enjoy the rest of the film.Where do we see them?Cinemas, on TV, online and promoted by poster and radio campaigns. They are usually releasedas the film is being edited, so that people get excited for the release but not too early that theyforget about the film before its release.
Large house, old, often associated with the Bright, daytime scene contrasts the typical time of day that you’dhorror/gothic genre due to creaking and darkness expect to see a gothic castle Shadows – foreboding, make the house seem creepy and as if something is being hidden – also links to the title of the film View from slightly below – makes the house and the main character in front of it seem larger and more important to the Music is old-fashioned and gives the audience an audience idea of the time period that the film is set in
Warm, sunny tones of colour – reds and golds signify wealth and Johnny Depp is a well know actor, very popular and very liked – something that the audience can Over the shoulder conversation shot romance recognise and might go and see the film because of him Also can give an idea of genre, as Johnny Depp often appears in films which are gothic or comedicOutside in thenatural light, sunnyand brightPathetic Fallacy – the sunny and pleasant weather reflects the happy emotions of the characters Clothes signify the time period – 1700s Balcony suggests romance and grandeur Early introduction suggests that these are the two main characters
Bubbling and brewing suggests some form of curse or evil potion,Cauldrons associated with the gothic genre – witchcraft Also hides what is actually being brewed from the viewer – makes them which is normally what witches are shown as making in the wonder what the purpose of it is gothic genreNight is the time when (stereotypically) most dark and foreboding Clothes are those particularly associated with witches due to the time period when they were most common Stereotypical image of a witch in the gothic/supernatural genrethings happen in the gothic genre, as they can be easily hidden – – young, beautiful womanthe darkness of the scene suggests that they do not want to beseen
Takes place at night as most things do in the gothic genre,Coffins are a feature of the gothic genre, signifying death implies that there is something to hideDangerous, needs to be held in with chains – makes the audience Not knowing who or what is inside provides an aura of mystery,wonder what is inside and want to know Chains contradict the idea of death provided by the coffin – makes the audience of the trailer want to buy a ticket to see the suggest that there is something alive in there film so that they can know what is inside that requires so much protection
Comedy aspect – playing on the traditional idea in the gothic Intended to make the viewer laugh, making them want to see thegenre that vampires do not have reflections rest of the film Gives the audience an idea of the type of comedy that they can Bright, modern plastic toothbrush juxtaposes the old fashioned expect from the film, so that they know whether or not they will appearance of the person using it enjoy the film Bright colours of the mirror gives the idea that the film was set in the 70s
Blonde women often associated with beauty and lust in the Slower scene in the middle of a fast-paced trailer and music stops – tells us Scene is meant to be romantic due to the positioning of the people romantic genre, but stereotypically can be seen as dangerous about the relationship between the characters, and also makes us laugh enough on top of each other because of this to want to go and see the film in the cinemaTongue is meant to beused in a romantic way,but makes the sceneseem more comedic dueto the length and shapeof the tongue being sounnatural Elements normally associated with the supernatural genre providing a comedy vibe to the scene Lying on the floor suggests desperation Shows a range of genres (romance, comedy, gothic horror) at once by involving aspects of each, appeals to a larger audience
Shot from underneath – makes her seem smaller and weaker Straightjacket suggests that she is dangerous, despite the angle making herthan others, gives the audience a feeling of having power over her look weak – gives the audience a mixed impression of herMadness andentrapment areoften part of thegothic genre Dark room suggests that she is being hidden from normal people, Staring right at the camera makes the audience feel could imply that she is in some way dangerous or different, as this uncomfortable and guilty is generally what gothic films are based around Also makes her seem evil, her eyes stand out as the lightest thing in the frame
Normal, everyday setting – makes the audience feela sense of recognition and comfort Angled from below – the three vampires seem powerful Acting casually, blending in with the Vampires are appearing as normal people humans around them – makes them seem more human, so the audience feel that they can connect with them
Supernatural elements starting to be introduced – seems normal, but has powers that cannot be human, but are not unusual or strange enough to make the audience feel uncomfortableForest can be quite a creepy setting in vampire films (especially at night). This scene in the dayis quite normal, but the fact that it is in the forest far away from any people makes theaudience think that something could happen
Unusual representation of vampires – usually they do not use physicalstrength to fight, as they usually have the upper hand – audience feels asif the characters are brought down to their level, as if they can relate Normally vampires are very solitary and do not know of or are associated with any other vampires – the gathering of two together is unusual but can make the audience more familiar with the situation
Analysis of dark shadows poster • Set in a castle – convention of the gothic genre, • Creepy slogan – word ‘demons’ can mean a personal thing to the audience but is also associated with strange/unusual creatures • Font is sharp, dark and serif – the same text as would be used on a gothic genre poster • Colours are largely dark, splashes of bright colours represent the comedy aspects of the film, as these are the characters which are intended to amuse the audience.• Vampires (as shown in the classic way here) are a convention of the supernatural genre• Red often signifies danger or lust – gives a clue as to the personality of the character wearing it• Unconventional roles – female villain, male hero, usually other way round• Gothic/archaic architecture, feature of the gothic genre• Shadows/mist make things seem hidden, more difficult to see things and builds suspense• Main character is played by Johnny Depp – shown at the front because he is a well recognisedactor who many people would pay to see
Comparison of the two trailersThe trailer for Dark Shadows conforms more to the classical image of a vampire film; the main character has a verysimilar image to that of Dracula, and the actions of the vampire show that they have been living for a long time, forexample the way that they speak and their inability to use modern technology. This gives the audience the pleasureof intensity; they feel as if they get a lot out of the short amount of time they spend watching. As well as this, it alsooffers a diversion from their normal, monotonous lives.The fast-paced action of the trailer also his is very different to the trailer for Twilight, as the Twilight trailer makesvampires seem as if they are more similar to humans. They look almost the same, they act the same, and they canonly be told apart by a few minor differences. They have also changed their behaviours to fit with the moderntimes. This makes the audience feel as if they can relate to the characters more, and feel as if they understand thesituation even if they don’t.This could be a reflection of the target audience of each of the films. The humour and the scenes shown in the DarkShadows trailer attract an audience around the age of 15-25, as these are the people who like this kind of humourand are the main viewers of gothic/comedy films. However, the trailer for Twilight appeals to a much youngeraudience, as it has no humour or scenes which younger children would not understand, and also gives a sense ofaspiration for some young people.Due to the conventions it expresses, the trailer for Twilight is much more fitting in the Horror/Romance sub-genre,as it does not contain very much violence or other conventions of horror, but it does have some supernaturalelements mixed with romance from the main characters.This is a contrast to the trailer for Dark Shadows, which is much more centralised around the Horror/Comedy sub-genre. We are told this from the humour used throughout the trailer, and the significance of the main character intrying (to the amusement of the audience) to fit in to a more modern society.