Genre research
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Genre research Genre research Presentation Transcript

  • Genre Research: Psychological Thriller/Codes and Conventions/ Iconography
  •  Psychological Thrillers  Is a sub-genre of thrillers with heavy focus on characters? It often incorporates elements from the mystery and drama genre along with the typical traits of the thriller genre. In addition, psychological thrillers contain elements of and often overlap with the horror genre, especially seen in psychological thrillers.  Psychological thriller is a fictional thriller story, which emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states. In terms of classification, the category is a sub-genre of the broader ranging thriller category, with similarities to Gothic and detective fiction in the sense of sometimes having a "dissolving sense of reality", moral ambiguity, and complex and tortured relationships between obsessive and pathological characters.  Characters are no longer reliant on physical strength to overcome their enemies but are reliant on their mental resources by battling for equilibrium in the characters own mind. The suspense created by psychological thrillers often comes from two or more characters preying on one another's mind. E.g. playing deceptive games. Genre Psychological thrillers tend to follow certain themes which is the center of the story. Some of them as follows are: • Death-Particularly murder plays a strong role in psychological thrillers • Reality-Commonly the protagonist feels a loss of reality • Identity-usually in Psychological thrillers the main protagonist will face a struggle with their identify or multiple identity's • Guilt –Characters in psychological thrillers often feel guilty and often seek some sort of redemption as a form of forgetting/covering up what they feel guilty about. • Perception • Mind Themes
  •  Psychological thrillers commonly focus on a character mind often by having a first person narrative, this gives the audience an insight into the mind of the protagonist.  The idea of what is real and what is not is commonly used in psychological thrillers such as Inception inception or Trance. This is often used as a tool to focus the audience to pay very close attention and make them think so that when they decipher the story they feel a sense of achievement. Themes
  • Location and Costumes  The locations typically used within psychological thrillers are usually set within and Urban or Modern area for e.g. City and suburbia, and not a secluded setting which is usually associated with horrors to create a sense of realism for the main character and also to show that the main character fits the social norms of society in addition makes the audience wonder where the element of danger is going to come from in the story .  Much like locations Costumes in psychological thriller are normally quite colloquial or formal as psychological thrillers convey many surreal themes so therefore using normal clothing creates the sense of realism for the characters.
  • Colours  The most frequently used colours in psychological thriller film openings are red, black and white. Red and black are closely related to the genre of horror as they primarily connote danger, violence, evil and mystery. However, these colours used in a horror film openings usually connote a literal meaning where as a psychological thriller simply implies these implications not revealing too much. This is achieved commonly through low-key lighting to create an enigma, uneasy atmosphere and create a sense of mystery.
  • Codes and Conventions  Low key lighting is often used in psychological thrillers to create a dark, tense atmosphere and to create shadow and make the audience feel fear and tension. In addition low key lighting is also use to create enigma for the audience causing them to question the narrative.  Sound- the music used in psychological thrillers tend to use low pitched, miner key and ominous Eerie music with a few unexpected and sudden harsh high pitched notes usually without any clear rhythm, structure or melody. Atmospheric sound and sound effect are typically used to create an eerie sound and build tension but to also connote psychological thriller main protagonist multiple personality's and disarray.  Camera Movement and editing is often fast pace, this is done to build tension and panic amongst the audience to reflect what is happening on screen.  Font/colour of title- displaying the opening credits in a certain way to emphasise the theme of the film. Directors of thrillers Alfred Hitchcock - also known as the 'Master of suspense' uses these conventions to an extent that it’s so effective and really encapsulates the audience. You can find it in one of his best films 'Psycho' which does this really well. David Lynch - is a surrealist director whose mysteries are usually puzzles of the mind. The audience and the characters themselves must figure out what is real and what isn't. E.g. Mulholland drive. Martin Scorsese - director of 'The Departed' & 'Shutter Island’.
  •  Knives- Knives are a typical symbol associated with a psychological thriller as they have connotations of blood, death, pain and brutality. A typical representation of this would be in the famous knife scene from Hitchcock's film 'Psycho'. Knives are often used to show that somebody is going to get killed and thus it acts a common device to keep the audience engaged.  Silhouettes and shadows are what give a psychological thriller the enigma and mystery for the audience. Shadows are a common piece of iconography associated with the psychological thriller genre because they build up fear in the audience, by instigating that the protagonist is being watch by a human being or some kind of animal/monster. The protagonist is often oblivious to this but can often sense that something isn't right, which leads them on their journey. They often induce thoughts of fear and darkness for the audience as well as giving them clues and they ask questions out of suspense. A character with a silhouette is most likely to be the protagonist, which usually isn't revealed until the end of the film. Iconography Associated with the psychological Thriller Genre
  • Iconography Associated with the psychological Thriller Genre  confined space -The use of confined spaces in a thriller also makes the audience feels as though they are too trapped. Being in a confined space often leads the protagonist to start breathing heavily and panting to inform how they are trapped and cannot escape, or it often leads to the start of their struggle as they try to break free.  Woods are locations often used for psychological thrillers. This is because they create a sense of being lost as the characters find themselves trying to figure out how to escape. Woods are often isolated too, which creates a sense of vulnerability and it seems inevitable that the characters will ever find any help. There may be one house in the woods, which often turns out to be the protagonist.
  •  Running water is often a symbol of death as it suggests the draining of life or it is often associated with blood dripping and suggests that the characters are in danger.  Most psychological thrillers are set within modern/urban areas to reflect the character as seemingly “normal”. Specific locations include: police stations/prison cells, family homes and hospitals Also the costume of characters does tend to be casual as well again reflecting a “normal life”.  Mirrors- Mirrors are commonly used in psychological thrillers to portray the use of reflection of the main protagonists inner self, as well as representing ‘the dark side of specific characters. Iconography Associated with the psychological Thriller Genre
  •  Psychological thriller in which (until the often violent resolution) the conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional, rather than physical. Characters, either by accident or their own curiousness, are dragged into a dangerous conflict or situation that they are not prepared to resolve. Characters are not reliant on physical strength to overcome their brutish enemies, but rather are reliant on their mental resources, whether it be by battling wits with a formidable opponent or by battling for equilibrium in the character's own mind. The suspense created by psychological thrillers often comes from two or more characters preying upon one another's minds, either by playing deceptive games with the other or by merely trying to demolish the other's mental state.  The majority of main characters within the psychological thriller usually appear to be heterosexual to make them as typical and more normal to fit in within norm of sociality and not to be seen as different Character conventions
  • Narrative Theory's of psychological thrillers Narrative theories: Vladimir Propp: Vladimir Propp came up with the theory that characters have a narrative function and they also provide the structure for the narrative. This theory relates to the influence of typical characters. e.g. the hero, helper, donor, villain and the princess. These 5 typical characters influence the narrative as the characters are able to act as a base for the narrative due to them providing known situations such as the villain fighting the hero over something or someone. Propp's theory relates to the thriller genre as it includes conventional and expected characters. For example in a thriller film the audience would expect the film to contain a villain/evil character, this character would be the main cause of pain/ suffering caused in the film or they would be the main cause of surprise, suspense/ tension built within the audience. The audience would also expect a thriller film to have a hero; this character would be the counter-action of the villains bad deeds, they will be a main character within the film and they will be the cause of the downfall of the villain. Tzvetan Todorov: Tzvetan Todorov had a complex interpretation of film texts; this was his theory of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Equilibrium means that the fictional environment begins normally so that the audience can relate to that calm situation. Disequilibrium means that the environment then suffers some disruption, which may excite or shock the audience. Claude Levi-Strauss - Binary Opposites Levi-Strauss used the idea of binary oppositions as a way of understanding the production of meaning within narratives. He argued that all constructed meaning depended on opposites, meaning that they were paired to something. Every element of a story has something meaning completely the opposite that it is paired with. Some examples of binary opposites found in moving image narratives are:  Male vs. female  Good vs. evil  Hero vs. villain Roland Barthes - Action & Enigma Codes Barthes decided that films are made up of narrative codes such as action and enigma codes. These codes are ways in which suspense is created in narrative. Enigma codes: Are plot elements which cause the audience to ask questions about the event and why something happened. Action codes: Are actions on screen which result in further action. These cause the audience to ask questions as to what is going to happen next which is highly typical within psychological . Suspense is created by the audience's wish to understand the reasons behind an action.
  • Enigma Enigma is used frequently in psychological thrillers in order to captive the audience’s attention. A dilemma that the target audience can relate to is introduced and then played around with and resolved or left unresolved. To catch the audience’s attention and entice them, directors may use sub genres to suit the intended target audiences taste. For example, horror thriller, psychological thriller, comedy thriller and etc. Thrillers regularly coincide with mystery stories, but are differentiated by the structure of their plots. Thrillers take place on a much grander scale - the crimes that must be prevented are serial or mass murder (such as ‘Se7en’), terrorism (such as ‘Unthinkable’), assassination, or the overthrow of governments. Jeopardy and violent confrontations are conventional plot elements. A thriller climaxes when the hero finally defeats the protagonist, saving others lives and his own.