Conventions of Film Trailers, Film
Posters and Magazine Front Covers
In most horror film trailers a common narrative is presented. Starting of with the equilibrium where
they show the normality of the characters lives. This helps the audience recognise how the
characters lives were before the disruption, this enhances the effectiveness of the disruption as it
will be more drastic and climatic. Commonly in horror trailers they tend not to show the audience
the repair and the new equilibrium so that the audience keep engaged and entice to find out how
the film is going to pan out. The settings in horror trailers are normally in dark places or areas
where the audience will be familiar with. This helps the film relate to the audience and helps them
create realism when watching the trailer. As film editing has evolved so have the narrative and they
now connect with the audiences deepest fears. Quite a few horror films are set in houses where
the audience might think is a safe place to be. The props used in possession films are totally
different to the props used in slasher films for instance in a possession film the prop that has been
used are boxes and books unlike slasher which are more commonly weapons such as chainsaws and
knifes. The make up used in psychological and possession films are similar as the characters are
natural looking to show a common link between the characters and the audience. Contrasting with
slasher and gothic films where a lot of make up is used to make the characters look dark and evil to
the audience, this way it makes it more clear to the audience that something isn’t right with the
character. Their are normally dramatic camera angles and shots to show the characters off more
and to illustrate their personalities more. To help portray this scary effect to the audience they use
frightening and more intense music to indicate shocking and jumpy moment. Sometimes the action
on screen is interrupted by straps to help the audience understand the narrative and to make sure
they don’t find out to much about the film. Usually the title and release date of the film is shown
near the end of the trailer. They start with institutional information at the beginning because that’s
the least important to the audience when watching a film trailer.
• In many horror film posters a common convention is a main image of the
setting to show where most of the film will be set. For example an image
of a house or a forest to illustrate what type of film it will be and the
setting of the film. With these type of image the protagonist or antagonist
are usually alone in the frame. The main genre which includes a house in
their frame are mainly possession and supernatural films for example
insidious and paranormal activity. Settings like a house helps relate with
the audience and makes it more realists, it could also unsettle the viewers
as that is a place that they think is safe. Settings in a forest or a secluded
area with hardly no houses or people is normally the usual setting for a
slasher film or a gothic film for example Texas chainsaw massacre and
Friday the 13th. Even though their has been some slasher films which has
been set in house, when this has happened the houses in the background
of the image is usually dark and is made out to look haunted and
unnatural to the audience.
• Another image of a film poster that can be used is an
figure of just the antagonist or protagonist in front of
the setting or dark background to create a silhouette
effect, this makes the audience wonder, as they can see
something is their but they don’t know what it is.
Normally when the main character in the image is the
antagonist they are usually turned around with their
back to the audience so it creates suspense in the
audiences mind as they cant see their face. The lighting
used in these type of film posters are usually
backlighting or ambient lighting coming from the sky.
• One other common horror film poster that’s used is the
iconography of a close up of an eye. To show to the
audience the emotion of a character and to show terror, as
most of the time the eye is wide open. Sometimes inside
of the eye their is another image of what they are looking
at or what is inside of them trying to release themselves or
get outside of that human body. This type of image is
normally used in possession and supernatural films, as they
make the audience think in a different view to other film
posters, due to the unnatural nature of the image. The
close up and image inside of the eye helps the audience
find out more about the narrative so that they will want to
watch the film.
• In most film magazine front covers they feature a masthead
with the name of the magazine for example ‘Empire’. This is
normally the largest font and text on the frame.
• Their is normally a main image of the key film that they are
trying to promote.
• They have a banner placed on the frame to give the
audience extra information about what is going to be inside
• Their is always a barcode , date of the magazine.
• The name of the film they are trying to promote is usually
the main sell-line on the page.
• They also use buzz words such as ‘Free’ to attract the
audience to buy the magazine and read it.