Vladimir Propp was a Russian Soviet scholar who looked at 100 folk tales and came to the conclusion that
despite the large number of characters that appeared in the folk tales, there were only 8 character types:
1 - The Hero (seeking something)
2 - The Villain (opposes the hero)
3 - The Donor (helps the hero by providing a magic option)
4 - The Dispatcher (sends the hero on his way)
5 - The False Hero (falsely assuming the role of hero)
6 - The Helper/Friend (gives support to the hero)
7 - The Princess (the reward for the hero, but also needs to be protected from the villain)
8 - Her Father (Protects the Princess)
Whether this theory can be applied to Horror films is debatable and there are many criticisms such as the
fact that the theory relies on the idea that character's are either 'good' or 'bad' and 'heroes' or 'villains'
which can be seen as an over simplification as films of today are not so simple.
An example of this is a 'ROGUE HERO' which is a character that does both good and bad e.g. captain Jack
Sparrow from 'Pirates of The Caribbean'. This does not fit into Propp's character theory.
Todorov's Theory of Narrative
This theory suggests that conventional narratives are structured in 5
1 - A state of Equilibrium at the start
2 - Disruption/Disequilibrium (an agent of change)
3 - Recognition (that this disruption has occurred)
4 - Repair (trying to fix what has gone wrong)
5 - Reinstatement (back to the original equilibrium or a new
Just like Propp, Todorov's theory has many flaws also as horror does
not always follow in that order as there are movies that sometimes
even begin with disequilibrium such as 'Cry Wolf'' which starts off with
Myself and my partner (Leyla) made a PowerPoint presentation using
the film 'Eden Lake' to demonstrate how these theories do not always
apply to horror movies but can sometimes be found.
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