The German ExpressionismGerman Expressionism was a movement which occurred duringthe 1920s, it refers to several creative movements beginningwithin Germany before the First World War, which ultimatelyreached its peak in Berlin. The movement reflects the historicalcontext of the time, it does this by using sets consisting of abstractshapes to form psychological landscapes, leaving little to berealistic. The aim on a larger scale was the influence of theisolation the country was experiencing during the war and theportrayal of that through film. In terms of mise en scene within thefilm however, it represented the characters state of mind and/ortheir situation. The films, contained extreme distortions to conveyan inner emotional reality rather than what is on the surface. Thismovement was short lived however, fading away after only a fewyears. The themes of expressionism did not die there though, as anumber of German filmmakers emigrated to Hollywood, Americaand influenced Hollywood films by subtly adapting extracts ofgerman expressionist techniques and style (of lighting andshadows) within ‘B’ films. This resulted in the new era of ‘FilmNoir’, as well as unsettling the tipping balance between ‘A’ and ‘B’films as they were never presented in the same way.
Film NoirFilm Noir is a cinematic term used to describe stylishHollywood crime dramas. It was relatively influencedby German Expressionist cinematography in regards toits visual style e.g. Shadows, black and white with lowkey lighting. The low key lighting is used to highlightcertain situations and emotions. This is when a certainfeature is highlighted by light whereas everything else isin the dark. Film noir was highly regarded and popularfrom the early 1940s to the late1950s . It had a directimpact on horror films, as seen in China Town andMaltese Falcon. Its functional use, message of the time,was that no one could be trusted. Which is why it wasmainly centred around detectives, betrayal andconspiracy. The films were being made whilst Americawas dealing with the threat of communism, this couldhave had a subconscious effect on the film industry.
Within every slasher film there is aperson who survives, they are morelikely to always be female and arereferred to as the final girl. It is thelast woman/ girl alive to confrontthe killer and therefore the one leftto tell the story. She usually had anambiguous name and brown light ordark hair. This is due to the fact thatthe male teenage audience canrelate to her.She is not made out be extremelyfeminine as to not attract muchattention to herself. She tends torepresent purity and righteousnessby being virginal and survives due tonot being considered ‘corrupted’.
Slasher films always contain a group of friends.These are the unlucky souls that are picked off oneby one. Within the group there are certain roles thatare fulfilled, these are: the virgin, harlot, fool,athlete and intellectual.
Monster/KillerMonster/KillerMonsters often wear masks to hide their face which is usually scarred or disfigured. Theidea of this is, the audience have a fascination with- and fear of- the unknown. Themonster usually had a traumatic childhood which has resulted in his psychotic killingspree. Sometimes but not all the time the killer will have a reason as to why they arekilling these teenagers. The monsters usually use weapons that result in more gore andhave creative ways in which they do it, however, the most typical weapon is a knife. Theyare portrayed as unstoppable, giving the illusion that they cannot be killed, and alwaysseem to posses a lot of strength.
The benefactor is usually meant to symbolise knowledge andtherefore the character is of an older generation. This charactertends to try and help the final girl my giving her advice whichwill hopefully lead to the monsters defeat. They are usually inposition of power e.g. policeman, doctor etc. and the role canalso be mixed with the ineffective authority figure. On a rareoccasion, the benefactor can have a dual role and be the‘monster’ too.
Within a slasher, thelocation is either in asuburban area or anisolated one. Thesuburban location isused to make theaudience uneasy aboutwhere they live as thefilm suggests they arenot safe anywhere, noteven in their home. Theisolated area however,is that of the unknownand what comes fromexploration. Locationssuch as, graveyards,alley ways, basements,attics and warehousesare typical for slasherfilms.