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Yr12 f l1 Yr12 f l1 Presentation Transcript

  • Horror Year 12 Film 26/2/14
  • British Film • Diversity makes a defining a ‘British’ film very challenging. Some UK Film Council definitions: - Films principally shot in the UK - Using a British crew/cast - Film’s financed from within the UK - Film’s that are set in the UK - Film’s that address British Identity and Society UK Film Council Cultural Test • The film represents/reflects a diverse British culture, British heritage or British creativity (so we don’t just make lots of imitations of American films)
  • BFI • British Film Institute fund: - script development - film production - short films - film export and distribution - Cinemas - film education - culture and archives - Festivals - audience support schemes Film Fund: 15 million per year (90% of applicants will be rejected) and money from Lotteries Innovation Fund – to help move to the digital age esp in rural areas Co Production deals which BfI can help set up Tax Breaks Funding for British Films.
  • British Film • A film can be called British if it meets at least 3 of the following - Has a British producer - Has a British production team - A British director - A predominately British cast - A subject matter that informs the British experience - A British identity as defined by sight and sound magazine in the review section Which then leads it into a category; Category A: An entirely British film Category B: Majority UK funded Category C: More common co-funding scenario Category D: Describes a US film with some creative input from the UK
  • Video Nasties • Back in the 80's, video rental shops were around every corner, offering aisles of boxes covered with amazing horror poster art. • These video tapes were made to catch the eyes of people wanting a new thrill or chill from the film, but it also caught the eye of other, more influential people. • This lead to the creation of the term "video nasties" and soon this term wash splashed across newspapers, trying to ban these video nasties, films such as "I SpitOnYour Grave," "Cannibal Terror," "The Fun House" and many more.
  • HORROR NARRATIVES • When we think of horror narratives, we are really considering the devices that are used to communicate a story to you. In the exam you may come across questions like…
  • HORROR NARRATIVES • The assumption is that the WAY a horror film is told is going to be the very similar across all horror films, that's what makes it recognisable to the audience. For the most part these questions want you to: 1. Make known that you are aware of the narrative features of the horror genre and how they are used in the films to communicate their stories 2. Discuss how this is done in a similar/typical way across all films 3. Consider how the films manage to break the ‘genre mould’ and not be typical
  • HORROR NARRATIVE STRUCTURES A narrative convention of any genre is its predictable set of plot events • What could we say is similar about these films in terms of plot events? • Work in your study groups and write each film out in 3 acts, explaining how each act is similar.
  • Typical 3 Act Structure • As sited in Film a Critical Introduction • The first act in a horror film focuses on central characters beginning a venture into a strange and ultimately threatening setting. • Stumbling into a forbidding, and often forbidden, setting unleashes a wave of violence that leaves many (if not most) of the protagonists dead. As those who survive the initial onslaught begin to fight back, fear and fatigue provoke dissention within the group, putting them at greater risk. Those who have come in contact with the monster may try to warn the larger community, or they go to the authorities to muster up support, only to be met with disbelief and derision. • The climax of the film generally involves a dramatic, sometimes apocalyptic, showdown between the main characters and the monster, with varying results. In contemporary horror films the resolution of the plot leaves open the possibility of the monster’s return.
  • NOEL CARROLL • Noel Carroll, in his essay The Philosophy of Horror, maps out the traditional narrative structure of the horror film in three stages. • The first he names the ‘Onset phase’ where a disorder is created, generally in the form of a monster. • The second Carroll calls the ‘Discovery phase’, where the characters of the story discover that the disorder has occurred. • The third phase he calls the ‘Disruption phase’, where the characters destroy the source of the disorder and restore normality. • This similar to what Todorov stated, he argued that the basis of conventional narrative structure consists of an initial situation (situation 1); a problem which disrupts this situation; a resolution of the problem which allows the reinstatement of the initial situation, perhaps with slight changes (situation2).
  • The Hypodermic Needle Theory • The hypodermic needle theory suggests that mass media such as films, posters,TV shows etc can be “shot” or “injected” into an audience for them to absorb which then can trigger a response. For purposes such as adverts, this can be a good thing as it could trigger an audience to go out and buy a new perfume. However, with horror movies, some people believe that people will absorb the film and become passive, have no thought for themselves and then decide to copy what they have just seen.
  • Onset Phase Discovery Phase Disruption Phase
  • Onset Phase Dracula is wreaking havoc in the area in which he live going out a killing people Is there an ‘Onset Phase’? The female spelunkers entered into the ‘monster's’ territory Discovery Phase Van Helsing sends Harker to dispose of Dracula and Dracula kills Harker. Van Helsing realises the reason for Lucy’s illness. When they realise that they were in the Crawlers feeding den. The POV through the camcorder is used for this then we see one of the Crawlers. Disruption Phase Van Helsing and Holmwood work together to kill Dracula. Van Helsing is successful during a climatic battle The women fight for their lives against the Crawlers, only living Sarah – but is order restored? And if so who’s order? (Ideological messages?)
  • Why is narrative structure important in genre films? • Narrative structure provides a formula or template in film production • It works as a ‘contract’ – the implicit agreement between a film and it’s audience that governs the way fans enjoy it • Without a typical narrative structure genre films would not be recognisable to audiences and conversely films would not be able to break with predictability
  • NARRATIVE THEORY • Tzvetan Todorov • Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution. • Vladimir Propp • Propp suggests that there are a limited number of character types that share a function • Roland Barthes • Barthes identifies 5 narrative codes which readers use to decode texts. He emphasises the active role of readers in creating meaning, and their ‘culturally formed expectations’. • Claude Levi-Strauss • Narratives are structured by pairs of binary oppositions.
  • Todorov’s approach to narrative • 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.
  • Propp’s approach to narrative • 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 • He believed that there are 31 possible stages or functions in any narrative. • These may not all appear in a single story, but nevertheless always appear in the same sequence. • A function is a plot motif or event in the story. • A tale may skip functions but it cannot shuffle their unvarying order.
  • Claude Levi-Strauss’s approach to narrative • 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.
  • 19 Examples of binary opposites • 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
  • HORROR MICRO FEATURES AS NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS • Taken from: Horror (Brigid Cherry) • ‘Horror genre most important characteristics are the modes of affect that horror films intend to create in their audiences. It is these emotional and physiological responses that remain constant while other characteristics and generic conventions evolve. We need to consider how the technical codes of cinema are manipulated in order to bring about these responses.
  • HORROR MICRO FEATURES AS NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS • The technical and formal features of cinema include: - Editing - montage and pacing - camera work - Framing - other aspects of cinematography - mise-en-scene such as lighting, sound and costuming, together with plot, dialogue, narrative and audience point of view, narrative structure and representations of characters. These cinematic codes have been developed and refined by horror filmmakers in order to depict horrific material visually and aurally.
  • HORROR MICRO FEATURES AS NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS • The aesthetic features that are frequently used by horror filmmakers to create string emotions such as shock, fear and revulsion commonly include point-of-view camera shots and framing, dark or chiaroscuro lighting, jump cuts and variations in pacing, visual (an often violent) spectacles that employ make-up, prosthetic, animatronic, digital and other special effects, and discordant or otherwise unsettling musical cues and other sound effects’
  • HORROR NARRATIVE THEMES • THEME: An implicit or recurrent idea • Going with this definition it’s apparent that one way of discussing themes would be to consider the binary oppositions reoccurring across all films studied • One key theme across The Descent and Creep is the theme of entrapment and isolation • A way of exploring this theme and any other binary oppositions is to consider the use of settings and micro features
  • HORROR CHARACTERS AS NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS • Key to horror films in the use of ‘the monster’, and more so in contemporary horror the use of ‘the final girl’. • When discussing characters there are many ways you can go about it: • Representation and gender • Associated ideology • Use of micro features • Function within the narrative
  • HORROR CHARACTERS AS NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS “they are un-natural relative to a culture’s conceptual scheme of nature. They do not fit the scheme; they violate it…monsters are in a certain sense challenges to the foundations of a culture’s way of thinking.” (Carroll, 1990:34) The ‘monster’ of the horror film is by far its most important feature. Without the monster, and the threat it imposes on the ‘normal’ world, there would be no ‘horror’ to speak of. Hutchings asks the question “What makes a monster a monster?” and answers that, “simply being dangerous is not in itself enough to bestow monster status…these monsters should not only be dangerous but ‘impure’ or ‘unnatural’ as well” (Hutchings, 2004:34-5). Hutchings attributes the traditional destruction of the monster at the end of most horror films to this preoccupation with social repression, “delivering”, he accuses, “their monsters to victimhood as those monsters are defeated and/or destroyed by the forces of good” (Hutchings, 2004:157). ‘THE MONSTER’
  • HORROR CHARACTERS AS NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS ‘THE FINAL GIRL’ the Final Girl tends to become more and more masculine and phallic, as she becomes more active and aggressive, turning from hiding and cowering from the killer to fighting back or in fact hunting him down. The term ‘Final Girl’ was coined by academic Carol J. Clover to describe the female hero of the slasher film. Prior to the advent of the slasher, it was very rare to find a female protagonist is a horror film who did not need recusing by a male. The Final Girl was different, however. She was usually distinguished from her teenage compatriots Through her watchfulness and her aggression, and she often had some masculine qualities as well – either a male- sounding name or abilities or types of knowledge conventionally associated with men. Most of all, she could not rely on a male hero to save her but was routinely placed in a situation where she had to save herself. (The A to Z of Horror Cinema, Peter Hutchings)