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  • 1. By: Miriana Younan
  • 2. Introduction  I will be discussing four different sub-genres that exist within the larger genre of Horror. These sub-genres include Possession, Slasher, Psychological, Supernatural and Gothic.
  • 3. Supernatural  A convention that always occurs in supernatural horror is that it is normally set in a home or other everyday places. A supernatural presence is not something that someone can escape from or fight against this is what makes this sub-genre so terrifying. Supernatural films are usually set at the protagonist's home because it creates that fear that your safe place is not safe at all and it being supernatural you don’t know what could happen next. The supernatural object creating fear is a ghost, spirit or a curse.  There are two common narrative of supernatural horrors that tend to be used. One revolves around the idea that a new family are moving in a home that turns out to have a history and to be haunted. Soon they are being tormented by paranormal events, such as in The Amityville Horror.  The other common narrative that is also used is when a person is either cursed or a spirit comes after them for example in Drag Me To Hell, where Christine is cursed.  It is conventional for this sub-genre to use orchestral music as it suits the scenes presented. Contrapuntal sound is also used to create fear and terrify the audience for example when something terrible is going to happen by adding sound that is meant to be sweet and innocent it scares the audience more as your are turning something innocent into something terrifying, by adding a child's laughter to a scene it becomes sinister. For example in Amityville horror as the woman walks past a room you hear a child's laughter.
  • 4. Psychological  A psychological horror does not contain gore and weapons, psychological plays with the mind of the audience making them feel vulnerable.  The killer normally has a twisted mind and that acts as an instigator of fear and is, in effect, their ‘weapon’. A disturbed or tormented individual is the main antagonist who may come back to get revenge on their victims. The may be a child this could be because it terrifies the audience even more because they are turning an innocent child into a devil/monster . Most of the times the victims tend to be female and this could be because the fact the mothers are maternal and the female audiences watching will be able to relate.  Psychological horror are set normal settings like big houses, schools and hospitals. These types of settings creates realism for the audience and they are able to relate to them. They will also feel vulnerable as they feel their safe place ( their home) is not safe from anything and that danger can invade their safety.  In psychological horrors, the ‘monster’ looks normal too; they are normal and even attractive sometimes on the outside, but have purely distorted minds.  Psychological horrors often feature a really good twist towards the end.
  • 5. Slasher  Most slasher films have a final girl which survives till the end. The features of the final girl are suggestive that she is not very feminine to suggest that she has the kind of qualities required to out wit h killer and survive. Their costume is generally quite conservative and they are normally the most clever out of the friendship circle. The final girl always survives to the end, generally she has a chase scene to endure and at the end of this there will be the confrontation were the killer is defeated, killed or warded off. The final girl will usually be a brunette, not very sexual and she may be unpopular amongst her circle of friends.  The slasher villains are portrayed as mentally deranged and/or physically deformed individuals who were traumatized in many instances at an early age. The killer in slasher films is usually male, his identity is often hidden and unknown, as they usually wear a mask , this gives the effect of not knowing the killer , the killer staying unknown and the victims always staying aware of who it could be a close friend or an enemy . The costume that hides their body and makes them look more physically imposing. The killer is usually big and strong which makes it impossible to kill him. Slasher killers tend to prefer brutal hand held weapons such as knives, axes, machetes and chainsaws. This gives the killer an up close and personal relation with the victim, that he will be killing.  Many slasher films feature a group of teenage friends and most of them end up dead which usually leaves one survivor who is usually the final girl. The group of friends tend to be young, attractive and high school or college aged.  There are two main types of locations in the majority of horror slasher films, suburban neighbourhoods and woods. More commonly used is suburbs, this helps to leave the audience with a sense of fear because it is a place that you would consider to be safe in. The location could be part of the killer’s identity as it could be associated with a bad childhood or a significant event which the killer was involved in. Examples of existing major films which take place in surban areas are Halloween and Scream, Casey is home alone in an isolated mansion in a wealthy suburban – meaning there are plenty of rooms and places for a killer to hide with limited neighbours or towns nearby. Another location is woods, which is rarely used in slasher films, but it is still used. An example of this is Friday the Thirteenth, which took place in woods by a lake
  • 6. Possession  Possession films are usually based on an object or a person being possessed by an evil spirit. This then leads to them showing abnormal, scary and horrific behaviour as if manipulated by evil itself. Audiences will see characters levitating, contorting their bodies or speaking in strange voices or languages. They may even kill animals or eat insects.  Possession films use religious imagery, especially Christian or Jewish religious artefacts e.g. Crucifix, due to the fact that priests and religious figures are often drafted in to perform exorcisms or to get rid of the evil present. It also creates more of a scare factor as people who are religious will be more terrified as they believe this could happen to them. The great history of the religions featured in possession films leads the audience to believe that the evil spirit has also been in existence for a long time, meaning that it is hard to get rid of the evil spirit.  Possession films are usually set in the home or isolated locations with lots of dark history and the location is normally a large house or even a place of worship. The place of worship ties in with the religious imagery convention of the genre. These places are normally old which gives the the audience a sense that the place has a lot of history and evil has been there for years and will continue to be there and terrorise its next victims.
  • 7. Gothic  Gothic horror films were popular in the 1920’s , 30’s and 40’s. Gothic horrors feed on our darkest fears and desires, and conjure up creatures of the night into being. The monster is usually mythical, such as vampires, werewolves, headless horsemen and ghosts that either try to kill or haunt their victims. Gothic films are usually set in a isolated location such as a dark misty forest or a big house/ mansion in the middle of nowhere in far off mystical lands that the audience would never visit. Castles and graveyards also feature.  Gothic horrors are often set in the past and use dark shadows and lighting.
  • 8. The sub genre chosen by my group  My Group and I decided to choose the Possession sub-genre because we believe that it is the most interesting genre to create a film in. There are many conventions to follow and challenge and there are also many different narrative possibilities. Since Possession films are becoming increasingly relevant in today's society, it would make sense to create a film that will appeal to a wide range of audiences that like to watch the latest Possession films such as "Insidious 2" and "The Possession".  Since the sub-genre is one of the more sophisticated Horror sub- genres, we can target a sophisticated audience that understands the many codes and conventions of the genre.  Not only will the film be interesting for the audience, it will be very interesting to create the film itself in all stages of production, from brainstorming narrative ideas to story-boarding to filming and to editing. We believe as a group that the project will be very interesting to produce and will allow our creative ideas and thoughts to flourish. This will allow us to develop as media practitioners because of the great opportunity for creative ideas.

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