Codes and Conventions of slasher filmsPresentation Transcript
Codes and Conventions of slasher films. Callum Sands
What is a Slasher film?
A slasher film is a sub-genre of the horror film genre. In most slasher films there are many familiar codes and conventions that can found within the "slasher”, such as:
a psychotic masked killer stalking and systematically butchering a group of young adults.
away from parent supervision and usually up to no good.
Until eventually the "virgin/final girl" prevails and seems to destroy the killer thus stopping the carnage from continuing.
But the killer often comes back in multiple sequels declining in quality and media interest. These sequels often going straight to video. But to completely understand what a slasher film is we need to look at these codes and conventions in more detail.
The Killer Stereotype of a slasher film killer is often that the killer is a supernatural boogie man wilding a machete. The killer is an ordinary person who has suffered some kind of great trauma abuse or injustice in there life and there killing streak is a way to get revenge and forward angers trailing from past events. The victims are never random but linked with the killers past.
The Killer The killer is masked to console the killers identity until the final scene, if unmasked there identity is again kept secret and only revealed in the final scene. The killer is often large and overtly asexual and sexually ambiguous even thou it is always implied that the killer is male with extreme burst of masculinity.
The Killer The biggest convention with the killer is that they appear to have unrealistic immortality/indestructibility and super strength of this character. This is done so the killer can always come back in numerous sequels and rain terror once more. One of the most common conventions in the slasher is the point of view from the killer shots, first achieved by John Carpenter in Halloween . Jason is depicted as a supernatural force depicting him as being raised from the dead via electricity; this version of Jason—a zombie serial killer rather than a mortal superhuman-- would become the standard depiction for the rest of the franchise, until 2009's reboot
Weapons Weapons of choice include; swords, razors, axes, machetes, arrows, chain-saws, power drills, hammers, spears, saws, scythes, hatchets, darts, sickles and pitch forks. Basically anything that slashes and also any other sharp or pointed objects lying around. Also sometimes a specific weapon is reserved for a specific victim.
Characters Virgin/Final Girl sensible type who generally refuses to take part in any illegal or sexual activities. sole survivor of the psychos killing spree the character who finally defeats the killer
Other frequently used character types include:
the cheerleader/bimbo (usually the first to be slaughtered)
the badass or outcast
the prom queen or popular girl (also a bimbo)
the nice guy
the nerdy kid ( who sometimes develops into the final/virgin girl)
the token black guy
The only adult characters in slasher films seem to be 1 of 3 character types. Either the killer himself/herself, the elder wise person who gives advise on how to defeat the killer or the less than helpful authority figure usually a "cop" who refuses to believe or acknowledge there is a psychopathic killer on the lose.
Settings High school, college, summer camp, the creepy house at the top of the hill, the hang out in the woods and blood can even be spilled on the comforting streets of suburbia.