In horror movies, it is often the case that there is a mixed gender group of around 5 people. This
group is commonly made up of two couples and the friend, often in teen horrors. The women in
horrors are often slim, with long hair who are sexualized and showing nudity and are quickly
made a victim, or there is often the ‘final girl’ as in Evil Dead and Creep. Men are often showed
to be courageous and naive but its is usually the most confident male to die first, leaving the rest
of the group to panic.
CHARACTERS IN HORROR
In the 2013 Evil Dead the
characters consist of 5
friends, two couples and
the little sister of David.
Sexualized women in horrors
are often the desire of the killer
and are quickly made a victim as
the group are attacked.
In Shrooms the most confident
and cocky character is killed
first, leaving the others to
dismiss his disappearance as
him playing a joke on them.
Horror films usually set their location in remote places, where any chance for
help is far away. It is unusual for horrors to be set in the daytime in cities,
unless it is apocalyptic films. Another reoccurring location for horror films are
abandoned buildings, particularly hospitals.
LOCATION IN HORROR
Both, Cabin in the Woods and Evil Dead are
set deep in the woodlands, this makes the
film more prone to disruption for characters
as there is no one around to witness and
there is no landline to call for help.
encounters is a
film is set in an
There are various types of themes throughout the horror genre, lots of which consist of a
masked killer. Other films often include a monstrous other and a common theme of horror is a
paranormal threat, apocalyptic films are also reoccurring.
THEMES IN HORROR
Films that feature a
• Paranormal Activity
• Paranormal Entity
• The Conjuring
• The Last Exorcism
• The Exorcist
• The Haunting in
• The Woman in Black
Films that feature a
• The Strangers
• Friday the 13th
• Texas Chainsaw
• The Hills Run Red
• My Bloody Valentine
Films that feature a
• The Hills Have Eyes
• Wrong turn
• The Descent
• Silent Hill
• 30 Days Of Night
• 28 Days Later
• The Mist
• Jeepers Creepers
• 28 Days Later
• 28 Weeks Later
• World War Z
• Dawn of the Dead
• Night of the living
As I have already discussed masks in horrors which would be the most vital prop for many films
it is also common in many horror films for the antagonist to be armed with a weapon, this could
be a knife, in slasher films such as Scream, something more brutal, such as the pick axe in My
Bloody Valentine, or they could use there own hands, (or mouth in the case of
zombie/vampire/cannibal films). It is also usually the antagonist will have a more powerful
weapon than the protagonist, as this puts up more of a fight and therefore produces more
tension in the audience as they watch the protagonists fate.
PROPS IN HORROR
For antagonist Jason, he
uses his very famous
props of a hockey mask
and machete. Leaving
his victims the only
choice to outrun him.
Here in the Texas
Leatherface’s most famous
props are his skin mask
Freddy Krueger is
recognized by his hat,
stripy jumper and his
weapon of destruction
is the blades that come
from his hands.
Slasher killer scream
is most commonly
known for his mask
and blooded knife.
For many horror films, the issues that surround the film are often ignored due to the cover of the
horror. For example, British horror film Eden Lake surrounds political issues of the division of
social class. This is seen as a ‘hoody horror’ as the antagonists of the film are teenagers from
lower class families and the protagonists are a couple from middle class.
ISSUES IN HORROR
In Eden Lake the characters to the left are very
disrespectful and rude, and they take an immediate
disliking to Jenny and Steve because they are of a higher
class and because Brett thinks they think they’re better
The characters are presented very differently, from the
teenagers in hoodies and tracksuits carrying knives, whereas
Jenny, a nursery teacher and Steve are shown to be more caring
and yet still be the victim. It also shows that there is evil in all
of us as Jenny kills two of the teenagers.
It is quite common in horror films for there to be an inequality when it comes to gender, as often
females are shown to be the damsel in distress that needs to be saved. However, there is also
often a ‘final girl’ that empowers the women in films, this is evident in the British horror, ‘The
Descent’ and in the remake of the ‘Evil Dead’ however the brother of the final girl sacrifices
himself for the survival of his sister.
It is more than often the case that the antagonist is a male stalking his protagonist victim, who is
likely to be a girl, this is shown in Halloween.
GENDER DIVISION IN HORROR
There is a number of generic conventions in horrors concerning the mise-en-scene, characters,
narrative, location and props. Commonly used in horror films;
GENERIC CONVENTIONS IN
• Isolated, remote, to make the characters feel helpless when they are in distress and not able to call
• Often dark and dirty
• Pathetic Fallacy is commonly used, thunderstorms/lightening/heavy rain
• Props such as weapons, masks, artefacts
• Colour use: reds/blacks connoting blood, danger, an unknowingness and death.
• A dumb blonde, often sexualised and screaming, is quickly killed by the antagonist
• A confident and cocky male, usually naive and quick to find out, often dies first leaving the others
• A girl/boy not in a relationship, this person will often question and moan at the group for being
silly, it is usually this character to survive the film.
As a film makers response to horror films, as well as the characters and plot, the camera work is
just as important..
CAMERA WORK IN HORROR
• It is almost vital for the shots to be dark, this adds to the tension as darkness and black is
often connoted with the unknown and death.
• Handheld cameras are often used in horrors, such as the Blair Witch Project, this is used to
make the experience of the film more real for the viewer and it also disorientates the viewer,
this is also the same for POV shots.
• Fast pace editing is important to build the tension and terror in an audience as this can
disorientate the viewer.
• Sound is incredibly important when creating suspension in horrors, this allows for the jumpy
horrors to be at there best for the audience. Commonly used sounds in horrors are creaky
doors and loud footsteps, also really effective sounds such as a childs laughter or a child
singing a lullaby and then going silent can keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
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