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Research and planning



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  • 1. Ellie Hamilton
  • 2. Contents Intertext Research 1 – The Grudge Pages 3-9 Intertext Research 2 – Paranormal Activity Pages 10-16 Intertext Research 3 – Cloverfield Pages 17-23 Intertext Research 4 – Black Swan Pages 24-30
  • 3. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeAbout“Karen Davis is an American Nursemoves to Tokyo and encounter asupernatural spirit who is vengeful andoften possesses its victims. A series ofhorrifying and mysterious deaths start tooccur, with the spirit passing its curseonto each victim. Karen must find away tobreak the spell, before she becomes itsnext victim.”Trailer:
  • 4. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeInstitution Produced by Columbia Pictures and Ghost House Pictures Released 24th October 2004 Estimated budget of $10,000,000 Grossed over $180,000,000
  • 5. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeVisual CodesThis is the first intertext that I have looked at, it is the trailer for themovie The Grudge. It is a fairly scary trailer and is a bit of apsychological thriller. The colours used are very dark, lots of blackand pale blues, greys and white which contrast and so clearlybinary oppositions theory will be important to look at as it is veryevident here. The dark colours connote fear and danger and so theaudience immediately understand that it is scary, this is veryconventional of movies in this genre.The dress codes for the trailer are casual Karen is wearing a jumperor hoody and you don’t see her trousers this gives the audience theimpression that she is just going about her everyday life and so it isa surprise when very abnormal things begin to happen.The setting is predominantly the house that she is investigating, thatthe previous deaths happened in and where the spirit of Kayako is.The house becomes associated to death and fear for the audienceand they expect bad things to happen when she goes there.
  • 6. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeAudio CodesAudio is very important, it is used to build tension. It uses non-diagetic sounds such as a cat meowing which has the effect offear on the audience as the connotations of cats are bad luckand black magic, they are also very iconographic of these thingsand the fact that it is non-diagetic because the boy makes thevery realistic meow sound is a very good use of non-diageticsound to scare the audience. The trailer uses a mix betweensoundtrack and voice-over which is very effective in buildingtension and making the audience feel involved in the trailer, itsounds like the narrator whispering in their ear, this has theeffect of fear on the audience. This is also very conventional.
  • 7. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeTechnical CodesThere is a range of camera angles used but theparticularly effective ones are the low angle shot and theextreme close-up of an eye showing a reflection onwhats happening, this gives the idea of seeing throughthe eyes of the character and is an interesting andunusual shot. It also begins with a very conventionalestablishing shot that shows the setting, Tokyo. Theshots are edited together mostly with fast cuts betweenthe narrative shots and then fades are used when itgoes between narrative shots and information/textshots. This builds tension but also gives the audience asense of confusion and panic. The trailer is fairlyeffective in terms of scaring the audience but alsogetting the audiences interest.
  • 8. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeAction CodesThe action codes for the trailer are often quitequick, sharp, sudden movements. This isbecause it along with the audio is veryeffective in making the audience jump, andscaring them. There is also the movement ofthe background behind the text, it wavesdiagonally across the screen and sort of lookslike hair blowing in the wind which is quiteiconographic of the film because of the girlwith long, dark, straggly hair.
  • 9. Intertext Research 1 – The GrudgeNarrative CodesThe trailer follows a fairly linear narrative but with quickflashbacks to the past when the original family lived there. Itfollows Propp’s theory quite clearly, Karen Davis is the hero,is the princess and Kayako is the villain. There are the rest ofPropp’s characters in the film but those are the ones that yousee in the trailer. They are very often seen as the mostimportant characters and so it is very conventional that theyare the ones you see in the trailer.The trailer follows Todorov’s theory but also the conventionsof the genre because it shows the equilibrium briefly at thebeginning, then it shows the disruption and the recognition.This is fairly representative of the film but without giving toomuch away, although the film does spend a while on theattempt to repair. It is quite conventional for films in this genreto follow Todorov’s theory even if it has been manipulated.
  • 10. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityAbout“After a young, middle classcouple moves into a suburbanhouse, they become increasinglydisturbed by a presence that mayor may not be somehow demonicbut is certainly most active in themiddle of the night. Especiallywhen they sleep.”Trailer:
  • 11. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityInstitution Produced by Blumhouse Productions UK released date 25th November 2009 Estimated budget of $15,000 Grossed almost $200,000,000
  • 12. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityVisual CodesThe dress codes are very much everyday, casual clothes. This isbecause the people they are filming are supposed to be average peoplejust going to the cinema. The people in the film are also dressed incasual clothes such as jeans and t-shirts, this is conventional ofthriller/horror movies, this is because it is supposed to scare theaudience and make it feel like these things could happen to them andtherefore making it seem everyday allows to audience to identify withthe characters.The lighting for the film looks natural, like the lighting that would exist inthe setting of a house because again it allows the audience to identifywith the characters but the lighting in the cinema is dark because it ismeant to look like a real cinema. The colours used are quite contrastingand so you can easily apply binary oppositions, it has the effect of fearon the audience because the lack of colour connotes fear anddarkness.The setting is also very conventional as thriller/horror movies are oftenbased in houses but also often show mostly one location. But showingthe location of the cinema and people reactions is very unconventional.It creates a lot of interest and so it required them to spend less onmarketing/advertising.
  • 13. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityAudio CodesThe film uses mostly voice-overs that are diagetic butnot always synchronous. This has the effect on theaudience of making them feel like the characters aretalking directly to them and it makes them feel moreinvolved in the trailer and therefore the film seemscarier.It also uses sound effects that are diagetic such asdoors slamming or when the boyfriend is thrown intothe camera, this makes it seem more real andtherefore scarier also. It also uses some soundtrackin the background, such as drum beats. These areused to build tension in the trailer.
  • 14. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityTechnical CodesThe film looks to have low production values theaudience so identify with the characters and so theyfeel involved in the movie and trailer and like it couldbe them. The trailer looks like someone taking acamera into the cinema and recording. The ideabehind the camera angles/shots and the editing isthat it makes the film seem much more realistic andmakes the story more believable to the audience andtherefore makes the film scarier.The trailer uses lots of medium close-ups andzooming shots, but the camera is not held steady itlooks like an amateur holding the camera because itfeels more real and the audience can identify.
  • 15. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityAction CodesThe film also uses quite a lot of sharp,sudden movements that go with the audioand use of editing such as cuts. The trailerends quite suddenly with Micah beingthrown at the camera and so this has theeffect of fear on the audience. Suddenmovements, particularly if they start fromnowhere, can be very effective in makingthe audience jump.
  • 16. Intertext Research 2 – ParanormalActivityNarrative CodesThe trailer is unconventional because it is much more aboutpeoples reactions to the movie than the movie itself it showsquite a small amount of the movie, so it creates a lot ofenigma.The trailer follows a fairly linear narrative, it also followsPropp’s theory quite clearly, Katie is the hero, Micah is theprincess/helper and the psychic is the mentor.The trailer follows Todorov’s theory but is quiteunconventional because it doesn’t just use clips from the film.It shows the equilibrium of the people going to see the filmbut also in the film itself. And it then show the disruption andthe recognition of the disruption which is when they start tothink something it in the house and when the people in thecinema start to get scared. And then the attempt to repairwhich is when they are talking to the psychic.
  • 17. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldAbout“Cloverfield follows five New Yorkersfrom the perspective of a hand-heldvideo camera. The movie starts as amonster of unknown origin destroys abuilding. As the characters go toinvestigate, parts of the building and thehead of the Statue of Liberty comesraining down. The movie follows theiradventure trying to escape and save afriend, a love interest of the maincharacter.”Trailer:
  • 18. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldInstitution Produced by Paramount Pictures UK release date 1st February 2008 Estimated budget $25,000,000 Grossed over $170,000,000
  • 19. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldVisual CodesThe trailer is quite dark and fairly dimly lit this is because it issupposed to look realistic like it is set in an apartment at nighand like it is filmed with just and hand-held camera whichwould capture the lighting all that well. This makes it morerelatable for the target audience, and therefore scarier andmore appealing.It is set in an apartment mostly, although they do go up on tothe roof as well. This is important to the narrative but also it isagain relatable for the target audience, it looks like very muchan average everyday setting, it is just people living theirnormal lives which makes it scarier because the audiencecan identify with the characters. So it also follows uses andgratifications theory.The dress codes fit in with the other visual codes and arevery conventional, they are dressed in clothes appropriate forthe setting and narrative such as going-out dresses and ashirt and jeans. This connotes that they are just going aboutliving their normal lives.
  • 20. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldAudio CodesThe trailer uses diagetic sound of people talkingand music, it doesn’t use a soundtrack, at all.This makes it seem much more realistic andscary, the noise is mostly people speaking orscreaming which along with the direct modes ofaddress makes the audience feel more involvedin the scene. This is quite unconventional, to useentirely diagetic and pretty much entirelysynchronous audio throughout the entire trailer,so it comes as a shock to the audience andmakes the whole trailer seem much more realisticand scary.
  • 21. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldTechnical CodesThe trailer uses a lot of medium close-ups which is veryconventional but again makes it look more amateur. Italso uses some panning shots but they are not steadyshots, they are a bit shaky this makes the film look like ithas low production value and the lack of use of steadyshots makes the audience feel more involved in the filmand allows them to identify with the characters.The trailer uses entirely cuts, this is so that it looks moreamateur but also so that it doesn’t detract from moreimportant things in the shot. Some of the editing usescuts but with brief gaps in between the shots. Thisbuilds tension and confusion because the camera jumpsabout all over the place and so the audience don’tunderstand what is going on, which makes it scarier.
  • 22. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldAction CodesWhen the rocks start flying at the charactersfrom the sky they all start to run across theroof and down the stairs, this shows theirurgency and so the audience understandsthat they must be afraid, they are also runningfrantically which suggests urgency, this fear ispassed onto the audience. Then later on inthe street lots and lots of people are runningacross the shot, this adds to the idea of panicwhich is mimicked by the audience.
  • 23. Intertext Research 3 – CloverfieldNarrative CodesThe trailer follows an almost entirely linear narrative to the pointwhere it just shows pretty much one part of the film continuously. Allapart from the very end after its shown a small part of the credits itcuts back to obviously before the party because one of the guestssays “Tonight’s gunna be the best night ever.” as the audience youknow this isnt true because you’ve already seen what is going tohappen and so it is scarier for the audience because they canidentify with the character, they can imagine it happening to them.The trailer seems to follow at least part of Propp’s theory which isvery conventional, the hero is Rob and the princess is Beth andthen there are a number of characters who play the role of helper:Hud, Jason, Lily and Marlena. It is fairly unconventional for a film inthis genre to have quite so many important characters, theygenerally have fewer main characters, but this just makes it moreinteresting for the audience.The trailer also follows Todorov’s theory, it show the equilibrium, thedisruption and the recognition. These are when everyone is at theparty and they are all happy and having fun; then when they feelthe earthquakes and they go onto the roof and see the disaster inthe city; and finally when they all start to panic and run out into thestreet.
  • 24. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanAbout:A ballet dancer wins the lead in"Swan Lake" and is perfect forthe role of the delicate WhiteSwan - Princess Odette - butslowly loses her mind as shebecomes more and more likeOdile, the Black Swan.Trailer:
  • 25. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanInstitution Produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures UK release date 21st January 2010 Estimated budget $13,000,000 Grossed over $100,000,000
  • 26. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanVisual CodesThe trailer is quite well lit and bright but uses a lot of dark colours such as blackand grey these connote evil and darkness. But then it uses soft, pale coloursiconographic of ballet such as pale pink and white. These colours connote goodand purity. It follows the theory of binary oppositions as there is lots of conflictvisual and conceptual and the conceptual conflicts are represented a lot throughcolour. The contrast of white and pale pink with black is fairly unconventionaland comes as quite a shock to the audience as usually darker colours are usedmore. The connotations of the colours used are very important and they becomeeasily recognised by the audience as representing good and evil.The dress codes are in line with the colours used they are mostly dressed inpale pink/white and black. Nina is shown in the beginning of the trailer in palepink/white but as the trailer goes on she is shown in increasing amounts of blackand Lily is shown in black, these colours correspond with the audience’s feelingtowards the characters based on the connotations of the different colours.The trailer is set mostly in the ballet studio, it is not only because of itsimportance as part of the narrative but also because of the various connotationsof it and how it is also so iconographic. Ballet and ballet studio’s representtradition, femininity but also purity as it is widely considered to be one of thepurest art forms and so the contrast between that and the evil surrounding it,makes it fascinating and terrifying for the audience.
  • 27. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanAudio CodesThe trailer uses a mix between a soundtrack and voiceover, which is sometimes diagetic and sometimes non-diagetic. The sound track uses a variety of instrumentsbut one that stands out particularly is a violin, it createsvery pure notes but with a quite sinister edge to them. Itis very effective in creating fear in the audience.The soundtrack is also used to build tension veryeffectively, by fading in and out. It also uses sounds thatsound a bit like a gust of wind but in a context in whichthey don’t fit this can be very scary and suggests theidea of spirits moving around. And it uses lots of peoplewhispering over the top of each other to create asinister effect. All of this has the effect of fear on theaudience.
  • 28. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanTechnical CodesThe trailer uses a variety of very interesting shotsvery effectively. There is an extreme close-ups ofher ballet shoes, this is effective because theyare so important, so iconographic. Anotherextremely effective shot/use of special effects isthe one where she is looking away from themirror behind her and her reflection turns around.This is not only scary, but further suggests theidea of madness.The shots are edited together using mostly cutsbut with some fades, this builds tension and isvery conventional of films in this genre.
  • 29. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanAction CodesAt the beginning of the trailer themovements are all very soft and gracefulbut as it goes on and Nina goesincreasingly mad, her movements becomefaster and more panicked, she begins torun at various points and the feeling of out-of control is passed on to the audiencemaking the trailer scarier.
  • 30. Intertext Research 4 – Black SwanNarrative CodesThe trailer follows to an extent Propp’s theory but it has beenmanipulated and it is very complicated because thecharacters seem to change rolls within the film Nina beginsas very much the hero but as it progresses she becomes thevillain and Lily goes from being the helper, to the villain, tothe hero. Then Thomas is the mentor and then the princessand her mother is the dispatcher. And so the lines betweenthe character roles are very blurred. It is conventional for apsychological thriller to do this, but perhaps not to theextreme that it is done in this film.The trailer also follows Todorov’s theory and shows theequilibrium, when Nina has got the part of Odette and she ishappy; then the disruption is when Lily comes along andthings start going wrong and Lily becomes Nina’s alternate;the recognition is when she start to realise she is goingslightly mad.