Small communities or isolated places. Urban environments,
dark streets and narrow alleyways. Large cities or run down
ghost towns. Anything that connotes isolation or being alone
Often sometimes places with dark history, like abandoned
houses, hotels and insane asylums.
Locations for any good horror film could be : lakes, roads,
highways , country side, barns, farms, dark woods,
woodland, houses, cabins, cities , subways, creepy hotels,
abandoned house, graveyard, basements, factories, science
labs, asylums and other dark locations that make you feel
alone and isolated.
Camera work is very expensive and not natural. High and Low angle can connote
fear and nightmares
POV shots are important because they allow the audience to see the world from
the monsters eye this happens roughly at the middle or end of a horror film( the
evil dead has a very long POV shot at the end chasing Ash through the house)
Handheld shots make it difficult for the audience to make out what is happening.
But can show there fear by the shaking of the camera.
Sometimes framework uses depth of field, makes it harder to see the monster
creeping up behind the protagonist.
Disturbing sounds are important in a horror film . Ambient diegetic sounds like
footsteps and non-diegetic sounds like a heartbeat
Types of shots used like ECU on a victim’s face can help the identification of the
Editing can create unsettling tension and suspence.
Visual style: often dark colour like red and black links to evil, blood and
Lighting is expressive and non-naturalistic. Low-key lighting can help
create shadows and unfamiliar shapes in the blackness. Lighting can be
motivated in the world of film like bonfires fireplaces and torches.
Props can help further identify horror genre. Specific props can be
identified with certain characters (chainsaws, machetes, knives, claw
gauntlets costumes and firearms)
The iconography of monsters help to connote extreme fear, disgust and
terror: werewolves, vampires ,mummies , Frankenstein's monster and
Common objects include: weapons, masks, religious icons etc.
classic narrative structure largely made applicable to the horror genre
but it can be used to leave room for a sequel and thus enable a franchise
such as: Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on elm street.
There is always the main protagonist, a man or final girl of the film
keeping with the normal conventions of the genre. Usually the hero must
embark on a mission or quest to kill or solve the problem.
Some narratives are very formulaic and this is practically present in subgenres, most noticeably Slasher films. After some event that turns the
killer insane or by some childhood past , the villain returns to his home
town and always preys on teenagers. These teenagers represent
“immoral” and are quite stupid, usually they are the ones who start the
horror in the first place or maybe they just get killed quickly and there is
always (sometimes) a survivor, most likely a female character.
The main protagonist, often the “victim/hero” of the movie.
The villain, often a monster, mutated freak, alien or serial killer.
The stupid/immoral teenagers that always gets killed.
Police officers that can be either good or bad
And many more: ghosts, zombies, demons, psychopath, stalkers, weirdo,
werewolf, cheerleader, and there is many more.