Similar Media Works Genre: Horror Sub Genre: Psychological horror Laura Oakey
Dictionary Definition <ul><li>Horror: a film in which very frightening and especially unnatural things happen, for example dead people coming to life and people being murdered. </li></ul><ul><li>Horror films are unsettling films designed to frighten and panic, cause dread and alarm, and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horror films effectively centre on the dark side of life, the forbidden, and strange and alarming events. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears: our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our revulsions, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death and dismemberment, loss of identity, or fear of sexuality. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.filmsite.org/horrorfilms.html </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological Horror: emphasises the plot and characters equally. The Characters often have to resolve problems within their own minds. The problems within their minds often are an attempt to explain important events. </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.filmsite.org </li></ul>Laura Oakey
Common Elements <ul><li>When people think about horror films there are several things which come to mind that are pretty standard elements. These tend to be: </li></ul><ul><li>An Antagonist- The bad guy (normally a monster such as Frankenstein or Dracula, sometimes a murderer. ) </li></ul><ul><li>A Protagonist- The innocent, normally the victim of the antagonist </li></ul><ul><li>Diegetic and Extra Diegetic sounds- To build up tension and frighten the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Dark Colour schemes- To highlight the sinister feeling of the film. </li></ul>Laura Oakey <ul><li>Psychological horrors tend to have very similar elements however the actual storyline and characters are much harder to make clear than just a horror. Psychological horrors are based around trick of the mind and a battle in the mind. The common elements of a psychological horror are very similar to that of a typical horror however there are some more elements that are commonly included, these are: </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological twists – These are used to play on the audiences minds to make them think one thing but then change it suddenly so they have to think the complete opposite. </li></ul><ul><li>Mental Danger- The characters and audience is exposed to mental danger more than the common physical danger which is common in generic horrors. </li></ul><ul><li>First person narrative- The story tends to be narrated by one of the characters. This enables the audience to know exactly what is going on and feels much more involved in the film which is very common in psychological horrors. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Storyline and Characters - Horror film storylines are very basic, but the elements and editing techniques that are used lead the viewer to think more about what is really happening. The story line of a horror is meant to be unsettling they are designed to frighten and panic, cause dread and alarm, and to invoke our worst fears, often in a terrifying and shocking way which captivates attention and entertains . The story line of a horror film focuses on the dark side of life, the forbidden, and strange and alarming events. The story lines makes the audience deal with our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death, loss of identity, the fear of sexuality through primeval nature and its fears. Storylines evolve around the process of discovery either the discovery of death or the discovery of a monster. </li></ul><ul><li>A horror film tends to always have both a antagonist and a protagonist. The antagonist is always the killer or the evil person and the protagonist tends to be the main character which the action and event is based around. These are both the main characters in the film. These characters are used the most in the film, the audience may not ever know what they look like, but they have a clear idea about their role within the story. In some Horrors there is a Monster or a creature these characters induce fear in the viewer and add emotion and provoke the audiences thoughts and feelings. </li></ul><ul><li>Setting- The landscape or the environment can suggest the type of story that will be presented. Interior shots allow for different meanings opposed to exterior shots. The settings of a horror are varied depending on the character and the script of the media. A chosen setting is used for the sake of the plot. These settings can develop through out the film, revealing more about the plot or a discovery. The settings within a Horror film can be very important, they create certain moods and lead the audience to think and feel in a certain way. Horror films tend to be set in very dark, wet, damp places where things are able to jump out and add atmosphere to the film. Certain light is used to also create a certain atmosphere, the filming of the film tends to take place when the light is brightest- either at dusk or dawn. Darkness can be used to connote the unknown, making the audience feel fear. Red or orange light connotes death, pain or danger to the audience as redness denotes blood. </li></ul><ul><li>Structure- The narrative structure within a horror tends to stay the same. There is always a setup, confrontation and a resolution. This is a conventional structure of a horror film, this impacts the audience as they are able to tell what is going to happen without knowing the details and the storyline. This structure can be changed but then this changes the audiences expectations. In psychological horrors the structure may be changed, this may be used to surprise the audience and change the fear they feel as they are unaware of what might happen meaning that thoughts within the film are more important than the characters actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Events and Actions- In a horror there are always events and actions. An action is when a character does something to themselves and an event is something which happens to the character. In a psychological horror there are more events than actions. Although the event is mental not psychical it is something that happens to them to make them think and feel in a certain way. This makes the audience react making them feel scared and frightened. </li></ul>Lauren Tolliday
Target Audience <ul><li>Usually the target audience for mainstream horror is people aged 16 – 24. This is mainly due to the fact the most horror films are certificate 15 or 18. They are certified this way because the content of these films often contain explicit content and scenes that could disturb younger viewers. Another reason for this targeted age group is that film production companies will often advertise using adverts in teen magazines and music channels, which are also aimed at people of ages between 16 – 24. More related to psychological thrillers, the age range of audience would tend to be slightly older. This is because the plot and story lines are often a lot more intricate and complicated, and therefore require more knowledge and concentration. </li></ul><ul><li>With concern to gender, horror films are stereotyped to be aimed at men, this is because of the idea that men will feel more manly after watching a horror film. However, more recently the audience has spread more out to females as well. This shows both men and women both enjoy watching horror films for the adrenaline rush that comes with watching one. </li></ul>Abi Crafter In terms of the four C’s (Cross-cultural Consumer Characteristics) horror films would be more aimed towards Mainstreamers. Mainstreamers are concerned with stability and security. I have said this because generally people watch horror films to make them feel more secure, as if the scary things are happening in the film so will not happen to the audience. Also it could be aimed at aspirers as they look to improve themselves. This could be done by watching a horror film and then feeling better about themselves after. In terms of the groups defined by the marketing company LifeMatrix, horror films are more aimed towards the Fun/Antics group and the Rugged Traditionalists. This is because the fun/antics group consists of active young couples, it is typical of couples to watch horror films together as the male wants to comfort the female if she gets scared. The rugged traditionalists are males with traditional values, and a love of a the outdoors. The members of this group watch horror films to feel even more ‘manly’ As psychological thrillers are a sub genre of horror, they do not have as bigger target audience but are still very widely watched. This is because psychological thrillers are not often blockbusters as they are usually made by more individual film institutions as apposed to institutions such as Universal. The audience of these films are usually more appealing to followers of the independent film industry, rather than general audience. There is less of an audience than that of Hollywood films due to independent film companies having less budget to play with. Meaning they cannot advertise as widely as Hollywood blockbusters do. This is because films companies who make psychological thrillers are usually more concerned more with the art of film making apposed to the actual profit.
Audience Expectations The following is what the audience would expect from a horror film… <ul><li>Plot will effect the audience mentally rather than explicitly- less blood and gore than other horror sub-genres </li></ul><ul><li>Plays on audiences personal fears and anxieties, leaving them with these feelings even after the film has finished </li></ul><ul><li>Invariably there will be a death but the audience will be questioning when it will happen rather than how it will happen </li></ul><ul><li>Identity of antagonist not revealed until well into the plot </li></ul><ul><li>Shocks audience using music and editing techniques rather than violence </li></ul><ul><li>The use of ‘psychological’ within the genre title shows that the horror experienced will be mental rather than physical </li></ul><ul><li>Antagonist often has a mental/emotional issue causing them to behave the way they do. </li></ul>Jenny Carter
Typical Mise-En Scene <ul><li>There are many typical elements of mise-en scene that appear in horror films. </li></ul><ul><li>Costume- The protagonist is usually dressed in very pale or white colours, this is meant to show the audience that this person is innocent, and as in horror films the protagonist is usually killed it can also be seen as symbolising heaven. The make up of the protagonist is usually very minimal and natural, this is to make them look more child like, and innocent, like they do not know what is to come. The antagonist is usually wearing an item that is either dark or red. This is to symbolise danger to the audience, the colour of red could symbolise death or blood and the dark colours connote mysteriousness. The make up of the antagonist is usually quite smoky/ gloomy and dark, this adds to them looking mysterious and spooky. </li></ul><ul><li>Lighting- As and when the protagonist appears on the screen, the lighting is usually quite bright surrounding them. For example if the protagonist is in a certain room, and they are alone, the room would be brightly lit. This is again to connote heavenly qualities to the audience. If there is going to be an important scene in the film, where for example a murder is going to take place, the lighting can dim, the room or setting will become darker to connote danger. This will be a big indicator to the audience that something is about to happen. </li></ul>Camera Angles- Horror films can use a very wide range of camera angles to depict different things such as emotion or action. If the director of a film wants the audience to see and the feel the emotion displayed by a character, a close up is often used. This is because using a close up will allow you to see the characters facial expressions. A close up is often also used when a weapon or something similar is in shot, for example a knife or gun, this shows the seriousness of the situation, if you can see the blade of a knife very close up you can instantly realise that something will happen. Also in this situation an extreme close can be used, this would be to show a specific part of the weapon, e.g. the trigger on a gun. Other technique used in horror films is angled shots, such as low and high. A high angle may be used to show the protagonist when they are in danger. This will make them appear to be smaller and vulnerable as the camera is looking down on them. A high angle shot can be used to show the antagonist, this will make them look bigger and taller, making the audience think they a strong-willed. Abi Crafter
Sound- In physiological horrors both diegetic and extra diegetic sound is used. Diegetic sound is used within the scene, this could be a conversation between the two characters or music that is within the scene or sounds made by objects in the scene. Sound effects are also used with a film to add extra meaning, sound technician’s and editing techniques allow the audience their attention on key sound effects by altering the balance of the diegetic and extra diegetic sound. Music Volume can convey information and affect the audience’s emotions. Loud music can make the audience feel tense and scared as the build up of sound can suggest something is going to happen. Heavy rhythm can cause changes in the body which the mind could interpret as anxiety, fear, or excitement. Lauren Tolliday Technical Codes Lighting- Lighting can be very important in a film, brightness, dim light, or shadow can affect our response to characters. We are more likely to fear a character who is always seen in the shadows as the audience is unable to see their facial and body expression and what they look like this adds tension to the scene. Altering the colour or quality of the picture can also add atmosphere. A red filter could be very effective to emphasize a scene of danger and pain as this denote blood. Soft filters can be used to create white and pale colours create atmosphere as these denote innocence. Camera Angles- Camera Angles can be used to express a point of view or the relationships between people and their environment within a scene. Camera angles can also be used to create an emotional meaning between the character and the audience. For example, a high angle long shot focused on a single person can suggest the person’s insignificance and weakness as they are presented as being small. A low angle shot can suggest that the person is important and powerful as the camera is looking up to them. The frequency and number of cuts can create atmosphere. A small number of cuts in a long piece of film could create the feeling of tranquillity, stability, or calm. On the other hand, the same technique could suggest the monotony of the main character action. Quick, frequent cuts might indicate urgency, excitement, or chaos.
Symbolic codes Language- Dialect, choice of words, and slang can all indicate the character’s background, social class, or education. The symbolic meaning in this case is in the form of the words rather than in the content. These are very important as the audience may interpret the character very differently after hearing them speak apposed to just looking at them. The language used explains a lot about a person, the audience is then able to build up an opinion on the character. Costume- The style of dress can indicate historical date or the type of character. A lot of information can be distinguished from a characters costume, it can indicate what the person has been doing and where. Costume can signal a characters personality and plot situations or as metaphors to reinforce the action. Lauren Tolliday
Technical codes- Editing <ul><li>This is a clip from the horror film 28 Weeks Later directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and edited by Chris Gill. Editing of both the visual and auditory elements of the this section effectively builds tension. Some of the ways in which editing has been used include: </li></ul><ul><li>At 1.18 when a knock is heard at the door, the shot cuts rapidly between close-ups (CU) of the characters sat round the table turning towards the sound. This highlights the significance of the sound and allows the audience to see the characters’ facial expressions, therefore enabling them to empathise with them. </li></ul><ul><li>The low-level extra-diegetic humming sound that begins after the knocking builds tension significantly as it effects the audience subconsciously. This sound would have been added during the editing process. The sound crescendos then changes to haunting synthesized sound, reflecting the bright light shining into the darkness of the room. </li></ul>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =wHf6Th-E3kE&feature=related As the boy talks about what is happening outside, the shot tracks the woman ask she goes to look through a gap in the wall. The shot then cuts to her point of view (POV) and we see that she is looking out onto an empty field. This is contrasts with what the boy is saying, making the audience aware of the danger but showing the outside as appearing safe, therefore adding tension. At 2.59 the shot again cuts back to the woman looking outside. The calm is then suddenly broken by a loud crashing and rasping noise and shot cuts rapidly to the woman’s point of view to make the audience aware of the partially obscured face of the zombie outside. This type of editing is called a ‘shock cut’ and aims to scare the audience by juxtaposing two radically different scenes-in this case the calm and supposedly safe scene of the group talking to the boy and then the cut to the zombie braking into the shed. Jenny Carter
<ul><li>Horror focuses on two main characters the antagonists and the protagonist. Close ups, extreme close ups and mid range shots are used to make the audience focus on these characters. This enables the audience to follow their movements and become familiar with the characters personality, thoughts, feelings and attitudes and meaning that the audience know their role within the film making the audience feel comfortable. As well as the antagonist and protagonist in a horror there is always a monster or a creature created by accident, these may never been seen by the audience. Camera angles and shots may be used to connote its is presents within the film. Shadows can be used to show that it is these but not to show it identity. This puts the audience on edge as they aren't aware of what it looks like but they are aware of its purpose in the film, this creates fear. </li></ul><ul><li>In a horror film the use or close up shots and mid shots are used to stop the audience from seeing the surroundings, events or people that would reveal the plot ending or give away information that would make it easy to figure out the mystery to early. Close up shots can create suspense because you can never see everything around the characters so the audience becomes anxious and frightened. </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking and panning is used a lot with horror films. Characters are tracked or the camera pans around the scene to show their movement, instead of cutting between shots to show what they are doing. Panning and tracking shots are used to make the audience think and feel what the character is in the film. Long or mid-range shots are used for these sequences as they set the scene and show the audience where they are. Wide shots from a further distance are usually for setting the scene also </li></ul><ul><li>Conversations between two characters are filmed using shot reverse shots and an eye line match. Both these shots are used to show who is talking in the scene allowing the audience to focus on the character speaking. When these shots are used an extreme close, a close up or a mid shot is used to show the character. An extreme close up or a close up shot is used to show the importance of the conversation and the expression on the characters face. A mid shot is used also to show the characters body movements and body expressions, this may be important to the audience as it shows how they feel and think about something. When showing two characters talking, the 180 degree rule is always used. This shot is used in the same scene showing the same left/right relationship to each other, this is to used to show the two characters in the scene. If the camera passes over the imaginary line connecting the two subject this may confuse the audience as is may confused them to where the characters are positioned within the room. </li></ul>Lauren Tolliday Camera Angles and shots
Generic Symbols <ul><li>Antagonist against protagonist </li></ul><ul><li>Antagonist often unseen until later in film </li></ul><ul><li>Back story to all characters- helps audience connect with them </li></ul><ul><li>Tension </li></ul><ul><li>Death </li></ul><ul><li>Insecurity </li></ul><ul><li>Isolation </li></ul><ul><li>Weapons </li></ul><ul><li>Innocent and unsuspecting victim/s </li></ul><ul><li>Mental rather than psychical violence </li></ul><ul><li>Plays on audiences fears and emotions </li></ul><ul><li>The fear of the unknown </li></ul>Scene from The Shining, 1980 Jenny Carter
Ideology <ul><li>Ideology is a very key point in horror films. This is because with horror films there comes much stereotyping. However this is because of moral panics, Chomsky and in some ways Hegemony. This has shaped peoples ideas upon horror and psychological horrors and affected the way people view the genre of horror. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral panics- affect the ideology of horror films as there is a hyped over-reaction to the media which causes people to believe that society‘ s values have collapsed. ‘28 days later’ is a very good example of this as the people in it have lost all sense of society and are focusing on surviving rather than working together as a society. It also highlights issues which could potentially happen, perhaps not on such a large widespread scale but there still is the possibility which could worry society as a whole. </li></ul><ul><li>Chomsky- Argued that the mass media can be used to divert people’s attention away from real issues. This is highlighted in the horror films which were made in the 1930s, they were made to takes peoples minds off the approaching world war. It was an escape from the reality. This is why people commonly think that horror films are very different to reality and feel that watching horror films is an escape from what is happening in the current world. </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemony- Hegemony is the way people in power choose to maintain control. In the 1940s all horror films were banned from being shown, as those in power felt that it was unwanted propaganda from Hitler because of the current political issues. In this case the government wanted to ensure that no dominant ideologies were considered as the war was such a sensitive issue. By those high up in power maintaining their control through censoring films it does not let all of the opinions and ideas for new horror films come through, for fear that it may mean that their control will be reduced. </li></ul>Laura Oakey
The Blair Witch Project Three film students travel to Maryland to make a student film about a local urban legend, The Blair Witch. The three went into the forests on a two day hike to find the Blair Witch, the party sets out to look for facts that prove the legend, equipped only with two cameras and a little hiking gear. They have to admit to be lost in the woods. Eerie sounds at night and piles of stones in places where they have not been before cause the already desperate group to panic and never came back. One year later, the students film and video was found in the woods. The footage was compiled and made into a movie. The Blair Witch Project. Directed by: Daniel Myrick Eduardo Sánchez Date of release: October 27, 1999 Certificate: 15 Country: USA Lauren Tolliday The Blair Witch Project follows the traditional conventions of horror as it makes the audience feel a sense of powerlessness due to the hopelessness of the unknown and the fear of being haunted. Dutch angle shots and close ups allow the audience think and feel what the characters are, this makes the audiences sense of fear even realer. The dark lighting used and the eerie settings connote the sense of the unknown putting the viewer on edge as they don't know what is going to happen next. The Blair Witch Project is similar to most other psychological horrors, the film follows other common elements including its story line. It frightens, panics and invokes our worst fears. Both diegetic and extra diegetic sound is used throughout the film, the sound used impacts the viewer adding atmosphere and tension.
Title and year: Psycho, 1960 Director: Alfred Hitchcock Country of Origin: United States Psycho The psychological problems of the antagonist are integral to the plot (hence the title) but the audience is unaware of this until the end of the film, therefore leaving them guessing throughout and adding tension to the plot. The famous ‘shower scene’ uses both diegetic and extra-diegetic sound to convey the horror of the stabbing , rather than showing the full extent of the blood and gore that would be present in other sub genres of horror such as Slasher. The plot of the film is realistic, making the audience consider their own mortality and whether the same thing could happen to them. Audience is aware of the back stories of the characters, making them feel closer to them and more involved in the plot. The film shows how horror can occur in seemingly normal situations, again causing the audience to consider their own safety. http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =8VP5jEAP3K4 The psycho shower scene is the most famous section of the film and certainly one of the most famous scenes in cinema history. There are many factors that contribute to making this scene particularly effective. These include: Tension and suspense are effectively built up as soon as the antagonist enters the scene. This is achieved by only showing the antagonists shadow behind the shower curtain and not revealing their identity (a convention of the genre) and by allowing the audience to observe this while the protagonist is completely unaware of the predicament she is in. As the shot zooms in closer to both the antagonist and the woman, the sense of being trapped is conveyed to the audience because there is visually less room in the shot. The use of high-pitched strings as extra-diegetic sound when the woman is stabbed conveys the horror of the situation and coupled with the woman’s screams, makes very uneasy viewing for the audience. The sound of the shower continuing to run as the after the woman is killed conveys the sense of life going on without her. The close up of the plughole with the sudden match-on-action to the woman’s eye is shocking for the audience, more so than actually showing her dead. The position in which the woman is slumped on the floor after the stabbing makes visually uncomfortable viewing for the audience. Jenny Carter
Directed by: Richard Kelly Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal Date of release: 25 October 2002 Certificate: 15 Country: USA His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank- a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie’s escape seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie’s mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure. Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. Laura Oakey Donnie Darko
Mise- en- scene for Donnie Darko 2001 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PUFJmsCZLE This clip is the end piece of whole film. The film has gone the whole way through and this is the final bit which shows what actually happens to the characters. The extra diegetic sound of this clip really highlights the emotion and shows the feelings of all of the characters in the scene. The diegetic sound reiterates to the audience what is happening and how things are working out in the story. The clip also makes good use of colour schemes in both the clothing that the characters are wearing and the sets to reflect the personalities of the different characters. Donnie (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is wearing mainly white and light colours to show his innocence however this is contrasting with the dark set which highlights the evil and the bad things that can come from Donnie. The dark lighting really emphasises the dark feeling about the film and shows the bad things that could and have happened especially in contrast to the light clothing that the rest of the characters are wearing. There is a large range of shots used ranging from wide shots to extreme close ups. The extreme close up shots emphasise the emotions felt by the characters and helps the audience to feel more involved in the film. The wide shots make it clear to the audience what is happening so that they do not get confused and are not unaware of what is going on. The body language of the Characters shows to the audience that something bad has happened and has made the uneasy feeling of the film very clear to the audience. The characters movements are stiff and not natural which really picks up on the sad feeling of the clip. The mise-en-scene helps the audience to get an ever better idea of what is happening in this part of the film. They feel as though they have a more important role in the film and the tension is built up helping the audience to feel the emotions that the characters in the film are currently filming. Laura Oakey
Mise En-Scene – Awake (2007) <ul><li>This film is classed as a thriller. Its narrative is about a man, the protagonist, and a group of doctors, the unknown antagonists. </li></ul><ul><li>Lighting- The lighting in the operating room is focused on the main character, the protagonist, it is an internal light in the form of an over head operating light, it is not from outside the scene. The lighting around the rest of the characters, who in this scene are all antagonists, is slightly darker and has heavy shadowing. </li></ul><ul><li>Camera Angles- There is a strong variation of camera angles used in this scene, from close ups to long shots. There is a close up of the protagonists face, showing the tape on his eyes and also showing that he is asleep, or so the other characters think. The use of a close up show that he cannot move to alert anyone and therefore shows his urgency. </li></ul><ul><li>There is then a mid shot/over the shoulder shot of the female surgeon, she is discussing their plan convincing another character to go through with it. It shows her persistency to the audience. The camera then switches to a close up of the male surgeon, using an eye line match. This allows the audience to see that the two are having a conversation with each other. As he is wearing a mask we cannot see his whole face and facial expression. We can however see very clearly his eyes. They show that he has some fear and uncertainty for what is to come. </li></ul>Sound- The only sound that can be heard is the dialogue, the voices are quite soft, until the female surgeon talks about going through with it were her voice becomes a lot more assertive to show the audience she is serious about. The only extra-diagetic sound is the dialogue from the protagonist, it is like a monologue as he is talking over the top of what is happening. The way he talks really shows his fear and desperation. The majority of the dialogue is very quiet and soft, like the characters are trying to be secretive and don’t want anyone to over hear what they are talking about. Abi Crafter