Task 4 - Research into 6x Film Trailers - Shaun of the Dead
Task 4: Research in 6x Film Trailers
USP (Unique Selling Point)One of the USP of this film trailer is the twomain actors which are shown.The main two actors who play the two maincharacters within the film are – Simon Pegg& Nick Frost. Both are two famous Britishactors/comedians and are best known fortheir role in previous films such as: Hot Fuzz& The Worlds End. Meaning when fans ofthe film see both actors in the trailer, theyare likely to be persuaded to watch this film.Another of the film trailers USP is the way inwhich it connotes stereotypical ‘AmericanAction Films’ but is located in a sleepyEnglish village as the setting.
Music (Soundtrack)The soundtrack of the film trailer converts well to the genre of the film whichis ‘Comedy Horror’. At the start of the trailer the music is tense, and trys tobuild suspense of what appears to be a ‘zombie’ walking. However themusic quickly changes to a more quirky tone, converting to the comedyaspect which is put across in the trailer – with the “Zombie” actually beingthe character ‘Shaun’ who had just woken up.As the narrative of the trailer progresses the quirky comedy comparison ofhumans to Zombies reflected in the music, turns to a more stereotypicalhorror soundtrack as real Zombies are introduced to the narrative – whichconnotes the fear factor of a horror film.With the narrative introduced and the trailer reaching its climax, the musicchanges to a fast paced rock song, converting with a series of fast clips ofthe main characters fighting the ‘Zombies’. This energetic, action feel of themusic towards the end of the trailer helps to attract the audiences attention.
VoiceoverThe voiceover in the trailer is not your typical ‘American’ blockbustervoiceover which sounds very dramatic and in actual fact is a ‘British’Voiceover. This adds to the ‘British’ comedy vibe and goes with the tone ofthe trailer.The voiceover is used to establish the setting & the main characters andasks various rhetorical questions which help gain the audiences attentionand attract interest:“Do you ever think that modern life is not for you?”“Do you do the same dead end job everyday?”“Is your love life dying on its feet?”“Have you ever felt that your turning into a …. Zombie, maybe you’renot alone.”The audience can relate to these questions which apply to every day life –giving the comedy aspect. However words such as ‘dead’, ‘dying’ &‘zombie’ which are used in the voiceover link to the horror aspect of the filmand create suspense and conjure fear.
DialogueThere is limited dialogue in this trailer from the main characters and most dialoguethat is heard converts to the comedy side of the film trailer, with clips from the filmproviding the ‘horror’ aspect.The two main parts of dialogue from the film which are used in the trailer to createthe fear factor, are both from news reporters.“With no one official prepared to comment, religious groups are calling itjudgement day” – news reporter.“It is vital that you stay in your homes, avoid all physical contact withassailants” – news reporter.Words such as ‘Judgement day’ & ‘assailants’ will further engage the audience andmake them want to find out more, whilst creating the fear factor.Dialogue is one of the main ways comedy comes across in the film trailer and itsthrough the main characters, Shaun & Ed. The trailer shows funny parts like belowto give the audience a laugh and attract them to watch the film.Ed: “Why have we go to go to Liz’s?”Shaun: “Because I love her!”Ed: “alright……gaaay”
Sound EffectsThe sound effects that have been used in this trailer are mainly used tohelp enforce genre conventions of horror and help to create a sense of fearand suspense – stereotypical of a horror film.Within the trailer sound effects have been used for things such as thesound of Zombies and the sound of hitting them over the head. The use ofthese sound effects emphasize the generic conventions of horror and helpto create fear within in the narrative.Sound effects were also used at the start of the film trailer when ‘Shaun’was getting ready for work, for things such as: flushing of the toilet,brushing teeth, spreading jam on toast and making a cup of tea. The soundof these basic day to day tasks, which the audience can relate to and thefact that are emphasised creates a sense of humour – linking to thecomedy side of the film.
PaceThe pace of the trailer is relatively slow at the start, this connotesconventions of a zombie, who stereotypically are slow & stupid and thisis what the trailer is trying to get across, that the characters in the filmact like zombies in day to day life – linking to the films narrative andadding to the comedy aspect. The slow pace also helps to establish thesetting of the film and introduce the characters.The fast paced elements of the trailer early on are a series of shotsshowing simple everyday tasks such as: flushing the toilet, brushingteeth and getting ready for work – connoting a busy yet repetitivelifestyle for one of the main characters ‘Shaun’.The pace of the trailer picks up as soon as the first Zombie enters thetrailer – this connotes and represents the fear factor of the film. It alsohelps to engage the audience and keep them interested and leaves alasting impression to watch the film.
TransitionsThe main transitions that are used within the film trailer are – fade, cutand wipe. At the start of the trailer a fade transition is used, which is atypical convention of a horror film trailer. The transition begins after the‘universal logo’ showing what appears to be a ‘Zombie’ but is actuallyone of the main characters ‘Shaun’. The black fade out connotesmystery & fear and helps to build tension and suspense – linking to thesub genre of the film, horror.After, several cut transitions are used to show different clips of everydaylife for one of the main characters ‘Shaun’. These series of transitionshelp to represent ‘Shaun’s’ repetitive life which gives him attributes of azombie – giving the comedy aspect.At the climax of the trailer and towards the end cut transitions have beenused to put fast intensified clips from the film together. Mainly the maincharacters fighting & trying to escape the zombies. This helps to sell themovie and keep the audience really engaged in the trailer so that theywant to watch the actual film. Fast cut transitions also help to buildsuspense, typical in horror films.
Special EffectsAfter doing research into the Background of ‘Shaun of the dead’ I havefound that it was a low budget film and therefore not much ‘SpecialEffects’ have been used.However towards the very end of the trailer there is a clip of Shaun & Edsinging in tune with a ‘zombie’ - the smoke behind it will be coming froma ‘smoke machine’ and helps to create a sense of mystery and fear withthe contrasting shadow of the ‘zombie – it also helps to make theZombie stand out and leave the audience with a vivid image.
Opening CreditsBefore the actual trailer starts the studio production logo is shown,this is a typical convention of all trailers and is a way of promotingthe film. ‘Universal Studios’ is a worldwide famous movie studio andare used for thousands of films such as ‘Ted’ ‘Johnny English’ and‘The Bourne Legacy’. When the audience see this it helps topersuade them to watch the film when they know a worldwide studioproduction company is behind ‘Shaun of the Dead’.
IntertitlesThe Intertitles start in the middle of the film trailer when the climax of thenarrative is being introduced to the audience. They help to buildsuspense and fear typical of horror trailers. The main background colourof the Intertitles is black with white text in block capitals placed on top, withthe letters looking like they have blood stains on them – these two coloursare binary opposites and help to draw attention. The colour black is typicalof horror trailers because as a colour it connotes ‘death’ and ‘fear’ andhelps to make the white text stand out.Looking at the screenshots of the four Intertitles that are used on theprevious slide – the background of each Intertitles slowly changes. Thebackground of the first Intertitle starts purely with a solid black colour andon the other intertitles a light flickers. Then on intertitle 4 it is clear that thetext is placed on wall with what appears to be bloodstains – this createsfear amongst the audience and a sense of mystery – typical horrorconvention.
Closing CreditsIn the closing credits of the film, the stereotypical conventions of a trailerare shown. Firstly ‘coming soon’ is shown, suggesting that the film hasn’tyet got a release date which means the audience will have look out for themovie.Second credit is given to Actors/Actresses/Producers/Directors etc. –which may further persuade the audience to watch the film if they seesomeone that was involved in another successful film.Lastly the address to the films website is shown at the very end of thetrailer – this is a type of marketing and further promoting the film – typicalconvention of film trailers.
Camera ShotsThe main type of camera shots that are used in this film trailer are mid-shots and close ups and this is because as one of the sub genres of thefilm is horror – it’s important that the audience see the facial expressionsof the characters to project fear.At the start of the trailer a ‘close-up’ is used to show feet walking like a‘zombie’ which then changes to a ‘close-up’ of ‘Shaun’ and his face –who is one of the main characters. This type of shot is really effective soearly on in the trailer because it portrays both sub genres of the film –comedy & horror and helps to identify the genre of the film to theaudience.As the plot of the film is introduced in the film trailer, wide shots and midshots are used to show the zombies – which shows the scale of thenarrative the characters have to overcome. Close up shots are used inline with this to further create fear and suspense, such as a close up of adoor handle being twisted and turned; something which is typical inhorror films.
Camera Shots ContinuedOnce the plot of the film has been introduced in the film trailer, there aremore wide shots used in order to further establish the setting and reveal abit more of what the film is about. There are wide-shots used to show themain characters fighting & escaping from the ‘zombies’ to show that thefilm has a lot of action – used to persuade the audience to watch the film.There is also the use of a cutaway in the last clip of the trailer showingShaun standing at a door – but the audience can see 3 zombies walkingtowards him. This shot quickly connotes that ‘Shaun’ is the main characterof the film who is fighting the ‘zombies’. The shot also goes with VladimirPropp’s theory which suggest that’s every narrative has a ‘hero, villain’and ‘Shaun’ in this clip is being represented as the ‘hero’.
Camera AnglesThe main type of camera angles that I can see have been used in thistrailer are ‘Eye-level’ angle & ‘high’ and ‘low angle’.Eye-level angle has been used to show the expressions of the maincharacters – which is mainly fear as it’s a horror film. However the use ofthis angle also means the audience feel they are able to relate to thecharacters seen in the trailer which may persuade them to watch theactual film. It also suggest that the characters are on a “level playing field”and are part of a group – which they are.Towards the end of the trailer there is a great example of a clip using bothhigh & low camera angles. Two of the main characters ‘Shaun’ & ‘Ed’ aresitting on the sofa when a ‘zombie’ enters the room. They are shownusing a high camera angle representing them as vulnerable characters.The zombie however is shown using a low camera angle using the fearfactor to make it seem more powerful – typical structure in a horror film.
LightingThe lighting at the start of the trailer is relatively lightas the main ‘character’ Shaun is being introduced –linking in with the quirky comedic feel of the voiceover.However when ‘Zombies’ are introduced to the trailerthe lighting goes dark in order to connote a sense offear & terror typical of horror film trailers.A great example of lighting used to create fear in thistrailer is in the pub when ‘Shaun’ & ‘Ed’ look up at thewindow. Lighting has been used to create a shadow ofwhat looks like a ‘zombie’ to create fear, and keepsthe audience engaged and guessing.Another great example is when ‘Shaun’ & ‘Ed’ aresitting on a sofa when a ‘Zombie’ walks into the roombut the audience get to see a shadow on the wall first– which creates suspense and fear amongst theaudience.
Costume & Makeup The white shirt, tie & badge connote that ‘Shaun’ is just an everyday ‘working’ man and is a character that the audience will be able to relate to. The comedy comes from his costume which represents him as the ‘unlikely’ hero. The ‘Zombies’ are made to look very realistic through the use of ‘make up’. They have stereotypical pure white eyes and are covered in blood and cuts & gashes all which represents them as the ‘villain’ within this narrative and the character which brings the fear & terror. There costume of ‘ordinary clothes’ also makes them more ‘striking’ to the audience.
PropsSome of the most notable props that are seen in this trailer add to thecomedy side of the film.In one of the clips ‘Shuan’ & ‘Ed’ are seen chucking Vinyl records at twozombies in order to kill them by aiming for their heads. This is a veryunusual and somewhat funny object/prop to be using to kill a ‘Zombie’which adds to the comedy side of the film and will make the audiencelaugh.Stereotypical props are also used such as: baseball bats and a shovel –this adds to the gory ‘horror’ side of blood and killing.Another ‘prop’ seen in the trailer which adds to the sub genre of the film‘comedy’ is a wind up camera. ‘Ed’ is seen using it when ‘Shaun’ is beingattacked by one of the ‘Zombies’ which agains will make the audiencelaugh. Overall ‘props’ within the trailer have been used to create a sense ofhumour.
LocationThe location of the trailer somewhat subverts to the genre conventions ofhorror and is based in a ‘sleepy’ village in England. The fact its set in avillage adds to the comedy side of the film, because its not somewhere theaudience expect a ‘zombie’ invasion to take place.There are various clips of the main character ‘Shaun’ at different placessuch as his work, girlfriends house and on the bus and the mood of theseclips is very ‘calm’ & ‘sleepy’ and the location is represented assomewhere where nothing really happens – making the location even moreunusual.