 Cathartic/Catharsis
 Phallic
 FinalGirl
 DigitalTechnologies
 Practice with source
 Insitutions
“How far does the casting of particular actors contribute to the
identity of your chosen production company?”
“How importa...
 Qualifying your film as British under the cultural test for film
provides a number of advantages – eligibility to apply ...
 Horror films are set in an irrational supernatural world.
 This setting also differentiates the horror film from the
th...
 The PlayTheory: Audiences enjoy the adrenaline rush, the roller-
coaster ride, secure that there is no danger – it’s onl...
 Distribution:To get their films distributed studios has to make a deal with one of
the three major cinema chains which d...
 Genre: During the previous decades British film
production had been dominated by war films and
Ealing comedies.The horro...
 Received mixed reviews – degrading and exploitative
yet applauded for production values.
 Given a X rating – cinema was...
 British horror stems from a fascination with
the unplaeastant – Penny dreadfuls outraged
middle-classVictorian society a...
 Provoke the audience into an emotional response rather
than an intellectual or moral one.This is part of the
reaction ag...
 Setting: The concept of duality is also apparent
in the settings which are often split over two
levels (e.g.
house/cella...
 Reinterpreted text from the original gothic
tale by Bram Stoker.
 Contrasted with Nosferatu andVampyre, the
film requir...
 Although the film is governed by men, there is a stark
contrast between the aggressive dominance ofVan
Helsing and Dracu...
 Lucy and Mina are not unwilling victims –
which demonstrated the ineffectiveness of a
male hold over them, and involves ...
 Feminists argue women in Horror films are
represented as victims and damsels in
distress.
 The spectator (assumed to be...
 Masculine attributes apparent from dress
behavior, even names.
 Strong and independent – the final girl is the first to...
 Costume consists of predominantly appropriate clothing and equipment for the
extreme activities the women partake in – i...
 Women were often victims of both the
narrative threat and of a patriarchal society.
 Urbanoia: deal explicitly with the conflict between the present and the
past.
 The narrative trajectory of this collisi...
 his female characters are being attacked not by other
women but by specifically male monsters.
 The film is more about ...
 The scenes around the log cabin and the walk to the cave
entrance with symbols of death – the cabin is decorated
with mo...
 The weakest group member will have to access their repressed
strength and aggression in order to successfully overcome t...
 Urbanoia film consistently use a vast
landscape. Its narrative function is to place
the protagonists within a space that...
 They represent Nature as a primitive fear, as
a violent and unpredictable force.
 These are groups of people who live i...
 The film’s protagonist Sarah embodies a range of
representations and critical ideas, all of which are
grounded in her st...
 Instead of acting out a stereotyped female reaction to events – to
collapse, to run and hide or to simply give herself u...
 If the candles and their flames represent Sarah’s
life, then their extinguishment by Jessie must mean
that Sarah’s life ...
 Most horror films function as terrifying because of
their distinct emphasis upon the imagery of abjection.
 The roles a...
 Be warned that some of what we have already
discussed can come under narrative theory e.g.
Noel Carroll theorising about...
 TzvetanTodorov
 Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution.
 Vladimir Propp
 Propp suggests that there are a limited
n...
 There are five stages a narrative has to pass through:
1. The state of equilibrium (state of normality – good, bad or
ne...
 Vladimir Propp studied hundreds of Russian
folk and fairytales before deciding that all
narratives have a common structu...
Propp believed that there are seven roles which any character
may assume in the story:
 Villain - struggles with hero
 D...
 After studying hundreds of myths and legends from
around the world, Levi-Strauss observed that we
make sense of the worl...
43
 Good vs. evil
 Black vs. white
 Boy vs. girl
 Peace vs. war
 Civilised vs. savage
 Democracy vs.
dictatorship
 ...
You should:
 Discuss how narrative theory can be used as a
tool for discussing the storytelling methods used
in films.
 ...
Horror revision
Horror revision
Horror revision
Horror revision
Horror revision
Horror revision
Horror revision
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  • In study groups apply Todorov to Dracula, Creep and The Descent – ensure you have used clear textual examples from each film for each stageDoes the theory fit each film?To what extent is the theory useful for discussing the narrative features of the films?Is Todorov’s theory useful for considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre?Prepare a presentation You must be able to explain the narrative approach you have to the rest of the class and then explain the points you have been given aboveEveryone in the group must speak/contributeYou can use sugar paper, pens, pictures, diagrams, dramaThe theory doesn’t easily fit each film, with The Descent the narrative has different layers and so quite easily could be put into multiple 5 stagesUsing Todorov is useful, as you can compare and contrast the various stages of each film. Doing this allows ones to consider the predictable and distinctive (unique) traits of the horror genre, or even to what extent of film can be a particularly distinctive horror film – one that break with predictability
  • Try to apply these character types Dracula, Creep and The DescentProvide textual evidence from the films to explain how certain characters fit the ‘type’Does the theory each film?To what extent is the theory useful for discussing the narrative features of the films?Is Propp’s theory useful for considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre?Prepare a presentation You must be able to explain the narrative approach you have to the rest of the class and then explain the points you have been given aboveEveryone in the group must speak/contributeYou can use sugar paper, pens, pictures, diagrams, drama
  • Write down all the binary oppositions for Dracula, The Descent and Creep Provide textual evidence for the opposites you have listedTo what extent is the theory useful for discussing the narrative features of the films?It’s useful as it provides a structure that allows you to discuss the conflicts that arise in the film although the binary opposites may be numerous they usually make clear the intricacies of the conflicts that occur between the antagonist(s) and protagonist(s) Is Levi-Strauss’ theory useful for considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre?I believe that it useful for example good vs. evil is an overarching theme of the horror genre but using further binary oppositions you can find the distinctive nature of the archetypal characters used To what extent can binary opposites help us make sense of the narrative and also in some ways communicate ideology and values? (think about this for each individual film and then possibly collectively to see if there is a similarity)Prepare a presentation You must be able to explain the narrative approach you have to the rest of the class and then explain the points you have been given aboveEveryone in the group must speak/contributeYou can use sugar paper, pens, pictures, diagrams, drama
  • Horror revision

    1. 1.  Cathartic/Catharsis  Phallic  FinalGirl
    2. 2.  DigitalTechnologies  Practice with source  Insitutions
    3. 3. “How far does the casting of particular actors contribute to the identity of your chosen production company?” “How important are film franchises for producers and audiences?” “What can be done to attract bigger audiences to UK films?” “Production companies make films with the same messages and values.’With reference to your chosen production company, how far do you agree with this statement?” “How far does genre contribute to the distinct identity of your chosen production company?” “What are some of the issues for UK producers and audiences in Hollywood’s domination of the UK film industry?”
    4. 4.  Qualifying your film as British under the cultural test for film provides a number of advantages – eligibility to apply to the BFI Film Fund and eligibility to apply for the UK film tax relief.  To apply for the cultural test, there must be one film production company (FPC) that is registered with Companies House and within the UK corporation tax net.The FPC must be set up before principal photography begins and have responsibility for all aspects of the filmmaking process from pre-production through to delivery. The cultural test is a points-based test where the project needs 16 of a possible 31 points to pass. It comprises of four sections: o Cultural content (up to 16 points). o Cultural contribution (up to 4 points). o Cultural hubs (up to 3 points). o Cultural practitioners (up to 8 points). How do the three films we have studied match up to the test?
    5. 5.  Horror films are set in an irrational supernatural world.  This setting also differentiates the horror film from the thriller which has a rational explanation of events.  Despite taking place in an irrational world the horror film is governed by rigid rules – vampires can only be killed by a stake through the heart etc.  There is little moral certainty in the horror film; the audience may be encouraged to identify the deaths of innocent victims.  There are certain conventions which the sub-genres share - the indestructible monster - the isolated setting - the themes of forbidden pleasures What is each film an allegory of?
    6. 6.  The PlayTheory: Audiences enjoy the adrenaline rush, the roller- coaster ride, secure that there is no danger – it’s only a film.  The Psychoanalytic Account: Argues that horror films allow audiences to gratify repressed desires. In this approach it is argued that horror films allow the audience to express these desires before repressing them again – often with the death of the monster.This idea has been particularly evident in studies of the gothic horror film where the relationship between the female victim and Dracula has been read as an expression of sexual desire (and the male’s fear of it.)  Fantasies of Power: Suggests that we enjoy the power of the monster and are attracted by the monster’s violation of social conventions.
    7. 7.  Distribution:To get their films distributed studios has to make a deal with one of the three major cinema chains which dominated British exhibition at the time – Odeon, Gaumont (both owned by Rank) and ABC. Rank had a deal with Ealing Studios and specialized in family-friendly films – rarely showing the new X certificate. In making a deal with Hammer, Odeon would have welcomed the more ‘adult’ films as a selling point, something different from that offered by the competition.  Competition forTelevision:The style of Hammer Horror films – use of technicolour and taboo subject matter – differentiated it from the black and white, rather conservative television programmes. Hammer made the first gothic horror films to be shot in colour; this decision was partly for institutional reasons – Universal held the copyright to the Dracula and Frankenstein films and any remakes had to look substantially different to the original black and white films.  Style:The country house studio was an excellent backdrop for studios set in the 19th century Europe but not contemporary Britain.  American Finance: Hammer productions were attractive to the US film studios as an opportunity for co-productions, allowing Hollywood to bypass legislation which limited the amount of money they could take out of the British film Industry. Hammer made deals with Warner Brothers and Universal.  Copyright: Dracula was a commercial success in Britain and the USA, leading to Universal selling the remake rights for all their gothic horror films and therefore enabling the next ten years of gothic film production at Hammer.
    8. 8.  Genre: During the previous decades British film production had been dominated by war films and Ealing comedies.The horror genre provided something different for audiences.  Youth Audience:The 1950s may be seen as a period for change, a new generation; the teenager emerged as a niche market with different tastes in popular culture to previous generations.  Classification: The introduction of the X certificate in Britain and a new ratings system in the USA widened the market for horror films and particularly appealed to a more rebellious youth audience.
    9. 9.  Received mixed reviews – degrading and exploitative yet applauded for production values.  Given a X rating – cinema was becoming more sensationalist. Later became a badge of honor as it suggested maturity in British cinema.  BBFC censorship concerns reflect social concerns of the time – in the 1950s it was juvenile delinquency.  The British public feared the Americanisation of mass culture, especially cinema.  Audiences were appalled at the cinemas move away from family entertainment.
    10. 10.  British horror stems from a fascination with the unplaeastant – Penny dreadfuls outraged middle-classVictorian society as they became literate.  Horror is a genre that paradoxically thrives in times of depression and war – like comedy, it is comfortingly cathartic.
    11. 11.  Provoke the audience into an emotional response rather than an intellectual or moral one.This is part of the reaction against the reason and rationality of normal life.  Stirs up fears, anxieties and desires which are attratcive but dangerous and/or taboo.These are feelings which are not usually acknowledged in everyday life, but repressed.  Represented by dark and light (binary oppositions) - The diurnal world: light and familiar, the world of convention and institutions - The noctural world: dark and unknown, where the artifical layers of social convention can be stripped away.
    12. 12.  Setting: The concept of duality is also apparent in the settings which are often split over two levels (e.g. house/cellar, church/crypt, castle/dungeon.)  Journey:The characters often undertake a journey between the two worlds.This might be geographical but could be psychological such as in dreams.  The Double Motif: Shadows and reflections are used to suggest something unknown about the character.
    13. 13.  Reinterpreted text from the original gothic tale by Bram Stoker.  Contrasted with Nosferatu andVampyre, the film required the audience to be scared of what they did not know.  They expect a monster with fangs and blood but are greeted with a charming gentleman who has an eerie and menacing persona.
    14. 14.  Although the film is governed by men, there is a stark contrast between the aggressive dominance ofVan Helsing and Dracula (patriarchal figures) and the crippling weakened state of Harker and Arthur.Thus suggesting their lack of understanding or acceptance of the supernatural are a hindrance to their masculinity and ultimately their survival.  Van Helsing and Dracula’s authority have sexual implications, only they are penetrators of the female body – Dracula with his teeth andVan Helsing with a stake.
    15. 15.  Lucy and Mina are not unwilling victims – which demonstrated the ineffectiveness of a male hold over them, and involves an acknowledgement of female desire.
    16. 16.  Feminists argue women in Horror films are represented as victims and damsels in distress.  The spectator (assumed to be young and male) was supposedly encouraged to identify with the killer and objectify the woman who was represented in a passive and sexualized way.
    17. 17.  Masculine attributes apparent from dress behavior, even names.  Strong and independent – the final girl is the first to realize that something is wrong and pursues this belief even when no one else believes her.  Intelligent and resourceful – to kill the monster the final girl overcomes her lack of physical strength through rational thinking and ingenuity.  Brave – the final girl sees her friends die but continue to pursue the monster despite knowing the dangers.  Serious – unlike her companions she isn't interested in superficial pleasures such as alcohol and partying.
    18. 18.  Costume consists of predominantly appropriate clothing and equipment for the extreme activities the women partake in – it is functional rather than accentuating feminine characteristics (besides Juno)  The props (ropes/pickaxes) emphasize the physical strength and abilities of the group.  The relationships between the women provide the conflict and dynamic which drives the plot forward; this means that the film defines the women through their relationships with each other opposed to just men.  The adulterous relationship highlights betrayal and rejects the feminist idea of sisterhood.  The dark cave setting removes the opportunity for the women to be objectified by the audience – the need to identify the characters in such a setting also means that their faces in close-up dominate rather than their bodies. (not objects of the male gaze)  Sarah’s sexuality is rendered obsolete by her muscular body, by the blood that is literally soaking into her skin and by her intensely violent acts, all implying a crossing of gender boundaries.
    19. 19.  Women were often victims of both the narrative threat and of a patriarchal society.
    20. 20.  Urbanoia: deal explicitly with the conflict between the present and the past.  The narrative trajectory of this collision between cultures is relatively simple, beginning with the arrival of a group or family of modern white middle class characters into the wilderness.  The two opposing cultures will clash and this singular moment not only acts as a precursor to the proceeding events but is often its instigator.As the group or family enter deeper into the unfamiliar territory of the wilderness, they are effectively hunted down and are killed one by one by their wilderness opposites, culminating in a conflict between families or social groups.  As the group size diminishes it is usually the character that is perceived by the audience to be the weakest that is suddenly galvanised into violent action, steadily and efficiently hunting the hunters. An Urbanoia film usually ends with the death of the wilderness patriarch, leaving the sole survivor of modernity to stumble back to the city, bloody and traumatised.
    21. 21.  his female characters are being attacked not by other women but by specifically male monsters.  The film is more about the characters themselves and what they individually represent in relation to the narrative.  The three main protagonists, Juno is the assumed hero; Beth is the seemingly passive character who will express her repression in violent catharsis; and Sarah is the traumatised group member.  Sarah does not discard her original role; instead she absorbs it into her fractured psychology so becoming a perverse combination of both characters: a weak female whose strength and aggression come from her deeply traumatised state.
    22. 22.  The scenes around the log cabin and the walk to the cave entrance with symbols of death – the cabin is decorated with mounted skulls and stuffed animal heads, whilst the dinner bell outside the cabin ominously rings throughout certain scenes.  The six women come across a partly devoured stag during their hike to the cave entrance. It is not clear as to whether the Crawlers did this (and this seems unlikely given their existence as cave dwellers) but the animal’s corpse functions as yet another symbol of the slaughter the women will eventually encounter.  The road sign welcoming visitors to the Chatooga National Park: depicting a stag, the sign is pierced with six bullet holes – one bullet for each of the six women.
    23. 23.  The weakest group member will have to access their repressed strength and aggression in order to successfully overcome the threat.  Although the young woman may have overcome and survived the threat, her entry back into society is marked not with a sense of renewal but to remain within their traumatic state.The final images of these narratives depict the woman, drenched in blood, screaming hysterically while she desperately clings onto some man-made object that validates her return to safety. In many ways this ending consolidates the horror genre’s insistence that a normal and safe society is one that only operates in patriarchal terms. Given this, the female survivor cannot better her male counterparts by being equally able to cope with the violent ordeal. She must instead be reduced back to her passive role through the irreversible nature of trauma.
    24. 24.  Urbanoia film consistently use a vast landscape. Its narrative function is to place the protagonists within a space that initially offers them an escape from their daily experience, but will eventually isolate them from any sense of modern society in the face of mounting horror.  Beautiful and passive, often equating them with romantic notions of escape.
    25. 25.  They represent Nature as a primitive fear, as a violent and unpredictable force.  These are groups of people who live in harmony with the landscape and who have a deep and explicit relationship with the wilderness. It is this knowledge that allows them to become such formidable threats, regardless of how much technology is sent into these primitive spaces.
    26. 26.  The film’s protagonist Sarah embodies a range of representations and critical ideas, all of which are grounded in her status as a female and as a mother.  By surviving the accident and then witnessing further deaths, Sarah is forced to engage with situations that are seemingly out of the realms of her ability and understanding which escalates her into a primitive state (i.e. making fire)  Fight with Crawler: - The moment of Sarah’s total descent into primitivism. - Cathartic moment in which the death of Sarah’s family is played out again but this time with Sarah as the aggressive instigator - Constructs Sarah as the horrific-feminine.
    27. 27.  Instead of acting out a stereotyped female reaction to events – to collapse, to run and hide or to simply give herself up to the narrative threat – Sarah emerges as a transgressed housewife, one who takes strength from the narrative events and empowers herself and so becomes that which the others fear the most. 1. Stuck in the tunnel with Beth: Sarah’s almost foetal poses as she squeezes herself through, the mise-en-scène of this sequence bares similarities to a vaginal canal. 2. Slaying of the crawler family: Sarah’s emergence from the bloody pool is clearly a birthing image. 3. Escape: Sarah’s hand breaks through the damp undergrowth, then her other hand appears. Reaching out and pressing down, a bloody Sarah pulls herself out from between the trees roots – an almost symbolical crotch. Intertextual reference from Carrie. .
    28. 28.  If the candles and their flames represent Sarah’s life, then their extinguishment by Jessie must mean that Sarah’s life too has been extinguished.  A corridor of light is usually associated with near- death experiences - he very fact that the darkness catches up with Sarah only consolidates the possibility that she has died and that the following narrative events become, quite literally, her descent into hell.  This deliberate focussing on the tablets coupled with the previous dream sequence generates the possibility that the remainder of the narrative is a combination of real events and Sarah’s hallucinations.
    29. 29.  Most horror films function as terrifying because of their distinct emphasis upon the imagery of abjection.  The roles and representations of female characters and the idea that they are in fact the monster.  Creed states that these notions of rejection can take place in three interrelated ways: the first is through the pure image of the abject, be that in the depiction of spilt blood, the release of vomit, salvia, and/or sweat and the lingering imagery of putrefying flesh - all of whichThe Descent has in abundance.
    30. 30.  Be warned that some of what we have already discussed can come under narrative theory e.g. Noel Carroll theorising about the typical narrative structures of horror films. Also Kristen Thompson’s 4 act structure  We are now going to consider ‘traditional’ narrative theory, and it’s applications to the horror genre. Can narrative theory be used as a tool to explain how horror stories are communicated?
    31. 31.  TzvetanTodorov  Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution.  Vladimir Propp  Propp suggests that there are a limited number of character types that share a function  Claude Levi-Strauss  Narratives are structured by pairs of binary oppositions.
    32. 32.  There are five stages a narrative has to pass through: 1. The state of equilibrium (state of normality – good, bad or neutral). 2. An event disrupts the equilibrium (a character or an action). 3. The main protagonist recognises that the equilibrium has been disrupted. 4. Protagonist attempts to rectify this in order to restore equilibrium. 5. Equilibrium is restored but, because causal transformations have occurred, there are differences (good, bad, or neutral) from original equilibrium, which establish it as a new equilibrium.
    33. 33.  Vladimir Propp studied hundreds of Russian folk and fairytales before deciding that all narratives have a common structure.  He observed that narratives are shaped and directed by certain types of characters and specific kinds of actions
    34. 34. Propp believed that there are seven roles which any character may assume in the story:  Villain - struggles with hero  Donor - prepares and/or provides hero with magical agent  Helper - assists, rescues, solves and/or transfigures the hero  Princess - a sought-for person (and/or her father) who exists as goal and often recognises and marries hero and/or punishes villain  Dispatcher - sends hero off  Hero - departs on a search (seeker-hero), reacts to donor and weds princess at end  False Hero - claims to be the hero, often seeking and reacting like a real hero
    35. 35.  After studying hundreds of myths and legends from around the world, Levi-Strauss observed that we make sense of the world, people and events by seeing and using binary opposites everywhere.  He observed that all narratives are organised around the conflict between such binary opposites.
    36. 36. 43  Good vs. evil  Black vs. white  Boy vs. girl  Peace vs. war  Civilised vs. savage  Democracy vs. dictatorship  Conqueror vs. conquered  First world vs. third world  Domestic vs. foreign/alien  Articulate vs. inarticulate  Young vs. old  Man vs. nature  Protagonist vs. antagonist  Action vs. inaction  Motivator vs. observer  Empowered vs. victim  Man vs. woman  Good-looking vs. ugly  Strong vs. weak  Decisive vs. indecisive  East vs. west  Humanity vs. technology  Ignorance vs. wisdom
    37. 37. You should:  Discuss how narrative theory can be used as a tool for discussing the storytelling methods used in films.  Argue if the application of narrative theory is useful when considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre.  Consider the usefulness of some narrative theory to explain the ideology and values hidden within horror film narratives.

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