The method of film categorisation
based on similarities in the
narrative elements from which
films are constructed
Identifiable sub-classes of the
larger category of main film
genres, with their own distinctive
subject matter, style, formulas, and
The elements from two or
more classic genres
combined to create a film
Match the definition to the
• List all of the sub genres of horror that you can
• For each of the sub genres that you have
found list the conventions that are specific to
that genre and the rules that the sub genre
have to follow e.g. Vampires are killed by a
stake to the heart.
Defining the Horror Genre
- Genres can be confused by hybrids and franchises
- Genres evolve and change over time
Just look at the timeline showing the changes in the
horror genre!What factors do you think
influence changes in the genre?
of Horror Films
List all of the conventions of the
horror genre that you would
expect to see. These are general
conventions that would appear
regardless of the sub-genre
As an audience of a genre film we expect certain things from the
film. Film makers can however play on this assumption.
For example before Scream we would expect that the apparent
female lead we are introduced to at the beginning of the film will
survive throughout the film, she is however killed in the first scene.
Before Scream this was unconventional but this was repeated in
the subsequent sequels and has now become a convention of
many horror films.
Horror films are set in an irrational, supernatural world. This
setting distinguishes films from other genres which exist in a
This setting also differentiates the horror film from the thriller
which has a rational explanation of events (e.g. if people die in a
thriller they stay dead; in a horror film they could come back to
Despite taking place in an irrational world the horror film is
governed by rigid rules - Vampires can only be killed by a stake
to the heart and a werewolf by a silver bullet.
There is little moral certainty in the horror film; the audience may
be encouraged to identify with or feel sympathy for the 'monster'
and enjoy the deaths of innocent victims.
there are certain conventions which the sub-genres share - the
isolated setting, the indestructible monster, the themes of
forbidden pleasures - but it is also the case that each sub-genre
has its own definable conventions.
Why Do Audiences Like Genre Texts?
Genre texts are reassuring to audiences due to their familiar promise of
pa erns of repe on and varia on
They know what to expect
They easily understand and relate to the texts
They develop a proficiency in reading texts within a genre which leads to their
pleasure being heightened as they recognise familiar elements in a new
Why do production companies like genre films?
Genre enables produc on companies (whose priority is to make a profit)
to exploit a winning formula and minimise risks
Media producers rely on our ability to recognise genre when they
promote new films, to arouse interest, expecta on & an cipa on
Genres can provide a shortcut which saves audiences & producers me in
developing a new set of conven ons each me they consume a new text
within a par cular genre
• List as many different types
of monsters from horror
films as you can.
– I want you to list the TYPE
not to name them e.g.
Vampires NOT Dracula
Monsters in Horror
• The ‘Monster’ in horror films can be a
representation of the fears of society at that
• This could be a reason why the horror genre
remains so popular is is constantly evolving.
• In the 1950s the cinema
was filled with mutant
monsters and aliens
• The giant ants from Them
and the arachnids from
The Black Scorpion are
metaphors for the danger
of nuclear war, a
dominant fear of the
These are the top 10 grossing horror films of 2013
What monsters were most popular this year?
• On your PowerPoint/Prezi make 5 slides on
• Each slide should be for a different monster it
– The name of the monster
– An image
– An explanation of the monster
– An analysis of what social fear you think the
monster is representing.
• Zombies are humans that
have come back from the
dead. Humans become
zombies from either catching
a virus or being infected by
another zombie by being
bitten or coming into contact
with their blood.
• Zombies can represent many
fears such as:
– The moral breakdown in
– Resident Evil –The fear of a
Military lead society
– Mass of intellectually dead
• Now map the key points in the horror genre over
time. Create a timeline that leads up to the
• Consider why the changes have occurred and
• Try something like this
• How will you use this research into the horror
genre to plan and create your own film