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Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
Thriller Planning: Props
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Thriller Planning: Props

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A presentation in which I discuss the various props we plan to use in our thriller opening sequence, why we are using them, and why we are using them over other similar props that we could have used. …

A presentation in which I discuss the various props we plan to use in our thriller opening sequence, why we are using them, and why we are using them over other similar props that we could have used. I also relate the props and ideas to other thriller movies where the props are relevant.

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  • 1. Thriller Planning: Prop List What props we’re planning on using, where we’re going to use them in the sequence, and why we’re using that prop specifically for that task
  • 2. Prop 1: ROPE We plan to use rope in our sequence to tie the hands of the victim when they Sit in their chair, bound by the murderer. We initially wanted to use handcuffs for this, but then realised that rope is much more widely available, making it the more practical choice out of the two. As well as this, handcuffs are often associated with the police force as it is their restraint tool, therefore making the audience assume that the murderer is a policeman. However, we never intended for the murderer to be represented as a policeman and, whilst this would create a good red herring within the narrative, we thought this might over complicate the plot unnecessarily. Rope is effective at presenting the conventional thriller theme of death due to the common use of rope as a noose. The victim will be bound by the rope, and therefore this theme that is presented within the scene could be associated with the victim who sits in the chair, foreshadowing their early demise. As well as this, rope might also make people consider rope burns and other discomforts associated with rope. Whilst handcuffs are designed to restrain people without hurting them too much, rope has no limits to how much it could damage the victim through the discomfort of the rope rubbing on their wrists. Consequently, we can show a greater distress within the victim’s character by using rope to tie them up. Rope is also significantly easier to escape from than handcuffs. Handcuffs are designed to keep those in them from escaping, otherwise they would be completely useless at detaining people. Rope on the other hand suggests that there is a possibility that the victim could escape from them as rope was not designed to be a restraint tool. This therefore makes it easier to justify the easy escape of the victim within the sequence when they escape and begin crawling across the floor. Furthermore, it indicates to the audience that the victim might be able to escape when in fact they won’t, presenting a red herring within the sequence once again. This also makes their eventual death more thrilling, as the audience would have be willing them to escape after seeing that it could be possible. Additionally, rope is a lot less professional than handcuffs, representing the murderer as an amateur when it comes to killing people. Whilst this representation might make him appear less threatening as it suggests he does not know what he is doing, it predominantly suggests that he is just an ordinary person due to his lack of knowledge concerning the detainment of victims. Due to this, he is represented to be operating within the public; a man who could be anyone out of a list of thousands. Consequently, the conventional thriller themes of chaos and danger are presented within the scene – a murderer is loose amongst the members of the public, so he could kill absolutely anyone.
  • 3. Prop 2: METAL CHAIR A metal chair will be used to seat the victim when they are in the warehouse, before they try to make their escape. There are many reasons we chose a metal chair specifically. Firstly, metal connotes discomfort, emphasising the displeasure of the victim. This effectively conveys the lack of sympathy that the murderer has for the victim, as they don’t care whether their victim is comfortable or not. Consequently, the audience can easily understand that the murderer will be merciless with this killing and all that follow, making them empathetic towards the position that the victim is in – clearly they are going to die a gruesome death. This might also reveal character details for the audience in the future, suggesting that the murderer will be unsympathetic throughout the entire movie. The aforementioned point about him be an ordinary member of the public becomes more thrilling when we consider this new point – a merciless killer is out amongst the public, awaiting his next victim. Steven Spielberg once said “A great story makes thrills contextual, which makes the thrills more thrilling” therefore this idea, which adds to the development of the murderer, will enhance the narrative and therefore, according to Spielberg, make the thrills more thrilling.
  • 4. Prop 3: CANDLES We plan to use candles to use candles to light the desk of the victim. This will produce a low light which will make it difficult to see the victim when they are at their desk, as they will be surrounded by shadows. This will represent the murderer as an enigmatic character, hiding certain parts of their character and making the audience consider why they are in the shadows – what have they got to hide? Consequently, the theme of mystery is presented within the sequence. Furthermore, candles provide some form of warmth, and because they will be placed on the desk of the murderer – the same desk whereupon the murderer’s knives have been placed – it could present the idea that the murderer finds some kind of warmth and comfort in the idea of killing people. This therefore represents the murderer as being psychotic and therefore more dangerous, emphasising the vulnerability of the victim. As well as this, the candles would flicker slightly and therefore make it slightly difficult to see the images on the cork board above the desk. Due to this, the audience would need to comprehend what the images show using their imagination, which would often produce something more thrilling than what the images alone could produce. Not only would this aid us to make the opening sequence more thrilling by making the thrilling images more thrilling, it would also engage the audience with the sequence as they would have to think about what they are seeing to fully understand the context behind the murderer’s actions. The open flame of the candle is also a natural light source, as opposed to the unnatural light of a lamp. This indicates to the audience that this is a natural setting for the murderer to be in, and that the concept of murdering someone is common to them. Due to this, the audience can understand that the murderer has no qualms with murdering the victim, because it is the natural thing for him to do. Additionally, the fire itself connotes danger and pain due to the pain that fire can cause. As the candles are on the murderer’s desk, these connotations could be directly related to the murderer – they are represented, therefore, as being dangerous and threatening.
  • 5. Prop 4: KNIVES We plan to use knives as the murderer’s weapon of choice. We could have used a number of weapons for this purpose, but we chose a knife because it has connotations appropriate to the themes and representations that we are trying to convey. Firstly, knives very clearly connote danger, violence and death in the context we are using them. Because the knives will be placed across the desk, it is clear to the audience that these knives belong to the murderer. As a consequence, the murderer will be represented as such – dangerous, violent and potentially lethal. Furthermore, knives take longer to kill the victim than a gun would. The audience can therefore fully appreciate the slow and painful demise that the victim will come to. The murderer has clearly made the choice to use this weapon over others too, therefore it could indicate to the audience that the murderer takes some kind of pleasure in the slow torture of his victims, and represents his psychotic nature. All of this effectively emphasizes the victims vulnerability in their current situation, as they are trapped in the company of a psychotic murderer who kills his victims in an incredibly painful way. We discussed that we could place the knives across the murderer’s desk in height order, with every knife aligned with the edges of the table. This would convey to the audience that he has some form of OCD, representing him as a perfectionist. When considering this need for perfection in conjunction with the board of images above his desk of victims, it becomes evident that the murderer pre-meditates his killings, carefully considering every aspect of each one. This also represents the murderer as a conventional thriller psychotic murderer, because of the amount of thought that the murderer puts into killing people. A knife is also a conventional thriller murder weapon. For example, the murderer in Psycho, Sweeney Todd and some murders in Se7en all use a knife. This would allow the audience to relate this sequence to those movies, applying the ideas that they saw there to this sequence. For example, upon seeing the knife, the audience might be reminded of the Sweeney Todd murders, and therefore the themes of death, murder and violence would be established. It would also foreshadow the victim’s demise.
  • 6. Prop 5: CORK BOARD We are going to use the cork board to display images above the desk of the murderer; the images of the Jack the Ripper victims, the murderer’s victims, cuttings of texts relating to Jack the Ripper and other items which would give some form of context to the sequence. We chose to use a corkboard over simply sticking the images to the wall using blue-tac, because we could fix them to the surface for as long as we needed them. In other words, if we film over several days, we would have to take the images down from the wall and put them back up again every single day. This could lead to us misplacing an image during the second day of shooting, leading to continuity being disrupted throughout the scene. Due to this, the immersion within the scene would be disengaged, making the thrilling aspects of the scene less thrilling, negating any efforts made to make the sequence thrilling. By placing the images on the cork board, we can be sure that they haven’t changed position at all, as we can leave them on there for as long as we need them, maintaining continuity within the sequence.
  • 7. Prop 6: JtR TEXTS/IMAGES + STRING We plan to place images of the Jack the Ripper victims and the murderer’s victims on the board, as well as texts relating to both murderers that might be disturbing to the audience. The images themselves would connote death, danger and violence, and as it is above the desk of the murderer, the audience would understand that the murderer created this board of images and is therefore also dangerous and violent. This board of images will also represent the murderer as obsessive towards the grotesque murders of Jack the Ripper, as they have taken the time to find these images and display them across a board above their desk. By showing this obsession, we are trying to convey to the audience that the murderer is basing their murders off of Jack the Rippers. Due to this, we give the audience something to gauge their understanding of our murderer on. For example, they might have prior knowledge of how the Ripper killed his victims in a gruesome way, therefore they would understand that our murderer is going to kill people in a similar way, emphasizing their dangerous and violent representation, and furthering the vulnerable representation of the victim as they are at a greater danger when the murderer is more violent – they are less likely to let them escape. We also plan to have string connecting the images, allowing us to show the connection between the two murderers effectively. Furthermore, the images on the board will be arranged in a more hectic and manic way than the items on the desk, with there being no clear order to the board. As it is now clear to the audience that both the desk and the cork board are both belonging to the murderer, it would enable us to represent the mental state of the murderer. The contrast of organised and unorganised would show the two different states of mind that the murderer is in – sane, connoted in the organisation, and insane, connoted from the disorganisation. Due to this, we can elaborate on the representation of the murderer being psychotic – a conventional thriller villain, evident in American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs and Shutter Island. The audience would therefore be able to use the representations of those villains to better understand our villain and their motives, providing them with key character details.
  • 8. Prop 7: JACK THE RIPPER BOOKS We discussed also possibly placing books relating to Jack the Ripper onto the desk, also aligned perfectly with the edges of the table for the aforementioned reasons. Much like the previous prop – the images on the notice board – the books are meant to represent the murderer as being obsessive towards the Jack the ripper, again for the aforementioned reasons.
  • 9. Prop 8: IPOD We discussed that, before the murderer kills their victim, they begin to play diegetic music from their iPod. We wanted to use an iPod as it contrasts the setting of the thriller – an old, derelict warehouse. This would emphasize the prevalence that the murderer is using modern technology. Stereotypically speaking, younger-aged people would be more inclined to use modern technology which would therefore represent the murderer as being a younger person. Due to this, the audience are provided with character details which they could use to decipher who the murderer is throughout the rest of the film. As well as this, a younger murderer would be more physically able to hurt the murderer and catch them should the escape. This represents the murderer as being more capable of violence, therefore making the vulnerability of the victim more apparent to the audience. Furthermore, an iPod is more readably available to us compared to a jukebox, a boom-box or a stereo as we have an iPod ready to use, whereas we would have to source the other technologies. As well as this, an iPod is logistically easier to get to the filming location, as it is small enough to be carried in one of our pockets, whereas we would need to move a stereo by car, for instance.
  • 10. Prop 8: IPOD We discussed that, before the murderer kills their victim, they begin to play diegetic music from their iPod. We wanted to use an iPod as it contrasts the setting of the thriller – an old, derelict warehouse. This would emphasize the prevalence that the murderer is using modern technology. Stereotypically speaking, younger-aged people would be more inclined to use modern technology which would therefore represent the murderer as being a younger person. Due to this, the audience are provided with character details which they could use to decipher who the murderer is throughout the rest of the film. As well as this, a younger murderer would be more physically able to hurt the murderer and catch them should the escape. This represents the murderer as being more capable of violence, therefore making the vulnerability of the victim more apparent to the audience. Furthermore, an iPod is more readably available to us compared to a jukebox, a boom-box or a stereo as we have an iPod ready to use, whereas we would have to source the other technologies. As well as this, an iPod is logistically easier to get to the filming location, as it is small enough to be carried in one of our pockets, whereas we would need to move a stereo by car, for instance.

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