Typical Conventions of Horror

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  • Typical Conventions of Horror

    1. 1. Analysis of Horror/Slasher Films
    2. 2. Horror and Slasher Films Definition• A slasher film is a sub-genre of the horror film genre typically involving a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a chainsaw. Although the term "slasher" may be used as a generic term for any horror movie involving graphic acts of murder, the slasher as a genre has its own set of characteristics which set it apart from related genres like the splatter film. An Example of a slasher film are the Saw series of films and also Halloween.• Horror films are movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear, horror and terror from viewers. Their plots frequently involve themes of death, the supernatural or mental illness. Many horror movies also include a central villain. An example of this are the Scream series of films and also Creep.
    3. 3. Titles• Titling was shown before the film started only in Scream and Halloween, the tilting of Scream was shown in red, white and bold on a black background with also diegetic sound of screaming. Where as Halloween was shown in white in bold on a black background. Also both do not show credits apart from the film studio who have made the film and whose presents the film e.g. Dimension.• Titling in Creep and Misery appears after setting the scene, in Creep after the first 2 minutes where as in Misery titling appears after 8 minutes. Creep’s titling is coloured yellow/orange in contrast to the on-screen images this fluorescent colour suggests danger because of how strong the colours are where its very difficult to look at it directly. This has been done to connote the film, portraying to the audience that it is an horror film in which when people may die the audience may get scared and look away the same way they look away from this strong fluorescent light. Also, it is placed on a black background. However the credits of the key actors in Creep are on a black background but the names of the production and co-production where shown over the on-screen images maybe showing the importance of there role, in terms of taking part in the film. Misery titling appears in the centre of the scream, in red and bold on a background of the scenery- snow on road/cliff, where the red titling connoting danger and blood where at this stage if the audience did not know already, they will get the impression that Misery is definitely a slasher and maybe a horror. The appears to be no credit within the starting of the film Misery apart from who presents the film.
    4. 4. Camera Angels, and • movement Extreme/close ups, medium close ups, tracking shots and zooming in/out of images were most commonly used in these films and in some used in different ways.Within Scream, Halloween and Misery there were tracking shots produced for various reasons in Misery to convey to the audience that something bad was going to happen and so the audience can anticipate the danger and the incident, this was produced when the main and only character throughout the first few minutes was driving in dangerous conditions (snow) at a fast speed and driving signs were shown within this to suggest that an incident was going to occur. Where as in Scream it was used to build momentum and intensity for the on screen moment and to allow the audience to get into the frame of mind of the character. This was done when tracking the main character where she is hiding from the suspected villain in which she is portraying emotion shown from facial expressions and actions. Then in Halloween this shot was used to create momentum of the movement and to express the characters aggression, shown by the movement. Also this shot linked to the sound in terms of what mood it was used in (images in the bottom right hand corner)Panning shot used in Scream to allow the audience to see what the character is viewing but also in this case builds intensity because we see what the villain is viewing but the audience still doesn’t know who the suspected villain is. (the images in the bottom left hand corner).Extreme close ups and close ups were used throughout all these films the extreme close ups where used to show detail and the importance of it for example in Misery the audience experience a extreme close up of red match which has a connation of danger and also of the character writing ‘the end’ which may suggest the end of someones life maybe. Close ups were used to portray facial expressions and to introduce the characters so the audience can get a sense of their personality from the off, if they might be the villain or the victim in Scream the audience get the feeling that the main character is a goody and is going to be a victim. This links to Propp’s narrative theory because a close ups enables you to see facial expressions which then allows the audience to tell by the expressions if the character is a villain or victim.Zooming shots in and out, were used to get the audience into the moment and when zooming into the image it stresses the importance of the image. This was used frequently in Scream and Texas chainsaw Massacre. Also the pace of the zooming is either slow which suggest that something is going to happen at that moment where as, fast zooming which loud non diegetic sounds brings a moment to where the audience may get scared and jump.
    5. 5. Lighting • The main sources of lighting used throughout these films were darkness and bright but sharp lighting.However daylight was used within two of the films, Halloween and Misery suggesting that these films started like any other day for these characters allowing the film seem realistic and that the characters live normal lifes. This links to Tdorov narrative theory, where disruption of equilibrium may occur by an event.Darkness was used in Saw, Creep and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this captures the fact that these will be scary/horror films with a connotation of darkness which is danger and evil. The dark mise en scene immediately alerts the audience to the genre of the film, which is important to get across in the opening minutes. Also, what allows the darkness to be effective in Saw is that there are two people in a claustrophobic room with no way out and the characters just wake up there not knowing where they are and also cuffed to a pipe pole. This is effective because the audience are placed in this frame of mind because it suggest that it could happen to anyone makes the scene more realistic.Harsh fluorescent light was used in Creep and slightly in Saw. In Creep it was used in a point of view shot with jagged shots which makes the lighting more effective. Also it allows the audience to ponder on why is the character viewing these disturbing images of bloody knives and bodies where it appears that someone is attempting to murder another. But also most importantly it sets the scene in terms of how scary the film is going to be and what it contains in terms of weapons. •
    6. 6. Costumes • The use of ordinary clothing in terms of what people may wear daily in this case polo-neck and trousers was used in Scream to portray innocence within the character, this was also used in Misery but as well as that their was connation of red used where the character was wearing a red shirt. This all suggest that ordinary clothing portrays the thought that the characters are innocent but it is the innocent people that find that trouble or bad things comes there way.Rough and dirty clothing was used in Saw portraying the thought of there social class and how less important the two characters are in terms of status, because they have been left in a abandon room with barely nothing.In Creep your unable to see costume within the first few minutes because the images are being shown from a point of view angle. Which portrays that the audience have not got a sense of what type of person this character is because your able to tell a lot from what people wear for example wealth and their culture.In Halloween there was a rat on screen which stereotypically nobody likes which makes the image need scarier and nastier. Also the use a mask shows that the character is hiding his face and maybe suggest that he could be a potential villain.In Scream the look of wealth in terms of the material of the clothing suggesting that the victim is portrayed to be better in term of money and class and stereotypically its the upper class who do not seem to cause trouble but however trouble seems to find them. •
    7. 7. Characters • Scream there is 1 character on screen another via the phone this actor having a distorted voice portraying that suspected villain doesn’t use his natural voice instead uses a reformed voice making it seem more mysterious and forces the audience to ponder on who it maybe and why but also most importantly how far this actor may go to torturing the character. The character on screen was a white woman seemed to be in her late teens like eighteen or nineteen. This actor seemed to be chosen to connect with the films targeted audience where this film is aimed at the age of 18 to 25s.Saw has 2 main characters, looking mentally unstable, they are men looking like they are in their late 20s. They were scared, panicking, shouting, started with blooded faces these various of emotions are all used together at the start to set the scene and to show what affect the location has on them from the start and the location has done to them mentally.In contrast to this, Halloween have a family as there main characters and seem like a disfunctional family including a middle age man and women and also a female teenager and male child.But also overall within these films there is only on average 2-3 characters at the start these usually being the most important characters throughout the film. Also straight away within the first few minutes the audience can get a sense of the characters’ personality and the mood they’re in by there clothing which can tell a lot about a person such as there wealthiest where in the top left hand corner you get the impression that the way he is dressed that he is not the wealthiest of people also added by him with a beard looking rough. •
    8. 8. Locations • In Texas chainsaw massacre its set in a farm yard where they are using axes to chop and kill animals, the axes portraying how violent and dangerous can get throughout the film so is used from the start.Saw is set in a limited surrounding no sight of doors or window all suggest a feeling of claustrophobia and that is the main location because mainly the audience would be pondering on how the characters are going to escape.Scream is set in a house starting in the kitchen, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by big trees and nearby a field showing that within these horror slasher film they are staged within an area where the surroundings are bare and less people are there to witness the potential violence and torture which happens to this character. Also the location of Misery is similar to Scream because u do not see any other houses within sight from where its set location which in this film may suggest that this character is only and keeps himself to himself. As well as this Halloween starts by setting the film in a messy kitchen suggesting that the characters are any normal family and the film starts off as an equilibrium.Also both Scream and Halloween are set in the kitchen, this being the place in the house where sharp and useable weapons are kept such as knives, where in Scream Knives are shown in the centre of the kitchen.Within the first few minutes of Creep it is not clear to see where it is set but however it does not look like a good environment .
    9. 9. Editing • In Saw fading out was used to flashback in time. Change in colour, fast editing, fast forwarding, cut away shot. These all types of editing added to the effectiveness of the images but also with the fading effects on how the film is shown because flashbacks normally within horror slashes consists with a twist at the end of the film such as in Saw where the villain all along in the film was the character lying apparently dead on the middle of the floor in the claustrophobic room.Reaction shots was used on the victim to allow the audience to get into the narrative and the frame mind for when the irresistible outcome happens, they were done at fast speed within these films. Where in Scream a reaction cut was used when the character heard a comment which scared the character which then the intent reaction for the character was to run where the editing was fast and the facial expression, where her eyes widened and her mouth was left hanging expressed how scared the character was. Also cut away shots where used for the momentum of the scene again at fast speed.A matched shot was used in Misery and Halloween when an incident occurred which allows the incident to have more of an effect and shows the reality of the incident happening this produced at a fast speed and shown at different angles to show this type of cut more effectively.An motivation cuts where used when diegetic sounds were used to enable a reaction from the characters more effective such as in Creep.The fast speed of these type of editings allows the audience to get into the fast momentum of which these films has, so also these fast cuts portrays well the genre of the films within the opening two minutes because its building the audience to the main plot and conventionally slasher horror films are shown at fast tempo in terms of the action which the editing has a big part to play to convey this which within these films its done well. •
    10. 10. Sound • The most commonly used type of sound was silence overall which adds intensity and builds up momentum that something is going to happen this was used in all of the films apart from Creep.Also non-diegetic sounds were used, for example a piece of music which always matched with the on- screen movement or atmosphere. This allows audience to get more in tuned into the moment and movement. Also with the use of spooky non- diegetic sound, it gets the audience slightly scared also it enables the audience to anticipate that something may suddenly happen.Diegetic sounds for example from a bird were used Creep to then produce a reaction shot from character. As well as this it was used Saw where a character screamed to get the audience scared from the start and to express from the start that the film is a horror. Also there was a few sound bridges with this type of sound again to create momentum for the film and to express the genre.Sounds of metal was also used in Saw and Creep from the start to suggests what weapons may be used in the film but also it adds to make film more scarier and also to express that the films are slashers because of this use of sound as well as this, the sound suggests the involvement of weapons which it is used to connate the genre too.The pace of the diegetic sounds are fast portray again the genre of the films where within these films creates a atmosphere in which where the audience can get into this genre of film but also so they can get settled into the film quickly and well. Where as the dialogue is spoken at similar pace of the diegetic sound •
    11. 11. Colour • The use of the colour red has been used strongly within all these films but especially in Creep and Misery where its use to connate danger by the use of red clothing (gloves) in Creep and Misery use typography as well clothing and mise en scene to connate danger and blood. Overall within these films the use of red was shown by blood from where violence or an accident has occurred.Black which connotes to darkness, evil, suffering and at times danger was used strongly in these films apart from Misery and Halloween for different uses. Saw and Texas chainsaw massacre use the colour mainly to frighten the characters more because in this case these characters where already suffering and scared, where in Saw the characters where kept and tortured in a claustrophobic and abandoned location so with darkness it makes the situation more effective too. So also the colour influences the location of scenery and the type of atmosphere it holds.White/ Cream clothing was used in Scream to suggest innocence because white can be seen to connate to holiness. But as well as this ghosts where in Scream the mask used is white and is stereotypical looking of a ghost. Also the look of wealth (in terms of the material) suggesting that the victim is portrayed to be better in term of money and class and stereotypically its the upper class who do not seem to cause trouble but however trouble seems to find them. •
    12. 12. Mise en Scene • In Saw, Halloween and Texas chainsaw Massacre the background looks rough and dirty. In Saw the walls look jagged and filthy a dead body on the fall covered in blood. Rough and old looking scenery, dirty, messy, looked abandoned, makes audience to ponder on the thought how these characters get there and why are they there. Halloween first set in the kitchen on looks dirty and uncared for because the room is in a mess. But on the other hand it may suggest that this room is looked after like a typical family and that they have family problems within the household. From the mise en scene you can gather a great deal of people’s culture and wealth. Texas chainsaw Massacre had images of smoke which suggests thoughts of danger and fire which again are conventions of horror films because these are things which people are afraid of, also fire is something which the audience can imagine and know fire and smoke is bad.Within Scream and Misery the mise en scene looks tidy and neat and that the characters in these 2 films are normal and wealthy and adds to the sense that they are innocent and are just living a normal life. However in Misery there is connation of red where the character uses a red matchstick. Also in Scream Knives placed in the centre of room as a prop and then used as a weapon, placed in the centre to add to connate the genre, in which horrors involve weapons/arms but also most importantly that it may be used. •

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