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Conventions of slashers
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Conventions of slashers

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  • 1. The codes and
    Conventions of
    ‘Slasher’ films
  • 2. Character roles
    The killer – usually male and unknown. Appearance is often hidden using props such as masks or creative means such as dark lighting. Often has a traumatic childhood experience which explains his behaviour (the return of the repressed) making you able to identify with him. Often uses handheld weapons such as axes, knives and chainsaws. Seems invincible and can survive a lot of damage! Examples: Scream, Halloween & Nightmare on Elm Street.
    The victims – often young, attractive high school or college students. It has been said that these victims are chosen for punishment of illegal / immoral behaviour, that they are especially vulnerable in society or that they simply get themselves into dangerous situations more (being left home alone)
  • 3. Locations
    • Isolated areas (islands, deep in forests, small towns, abandoned buildings and farms).
    • 4. The killer often has a connection with the location, again representing the ‘return of the repressed’ theory.
    • 5. Low populated, far away from normal society which makes it more difficult for victims to get help
    • 6. Bad cell phone reception
  • The final girl / Heroine
    Although not always, slasher films tend to use the main character as an adolescent female who survives the killings until the end when nobody else does.
    • Survives until the end of the film, when often all of her friends have been killed and she has to deal with the killer alone (often defeating him).
    • 7. Often attractive, yet with an innocent look about her (not much make up/modest clothing)
    • 8. Does not participate in the illicit behaviour of her peers
    • 9. Does not participate in sexual activity
  • Violence and simple plots
    Slasher films often incorporate simple, quite predictable plots. The focus of these films are the violence, gore and brutal imagery that is shown in a lot of detail and for a long time.
    They also create a response of fear from the audience due to the tension created by the characters’ suspense of murder and editing techniques such as lighting and non diegetic sound.
  • 10. Examples
    • Scream
    • 11. The Halloween movies
    • 12. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    • 13. Psycho
    • 14. I Know What You Did Last Summer
    • 15. The Bride Of Chucky
    • 16. House of 1000 corpses