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CONVENTIONS OF 
HORROR
MISE - EN - SCENE 
Old, abandoned or unfamiliar 
location. Usually where the main 
events of the horror film takes place. 
The killings, or phenomenon. 
A torch or form o flight, used to guide the 
victims through the stereotypically dark 
location. E.g. woods, house, their house. 
It usually reveals a clue about the killing, or 
reveals the victim to killer, exposing their 
hiding place. Or they shine the light and find 
the killer’s location. 
Blood is a very common Mise-en-scene 
feature, especially in a wet horror. Where 
the scare features are people dying violent 
death. It can also be used by the victims, to 
identify how ruthless the killer is. 
Masks are often used to hide the 
identity of the Villain(s). The fear of 
the unknown is what creates an 
element of terror and panic. It’s 
what gives the horror film mystery. 
The classic ‘Who did it’ 
Dead bodies and corpses also feature in 
a lot of wet and some dry horror films. It 
can be a presenter of danger or trouble. 
Skeletons in the basement. 
The victims have no set wardrobe to be identified by in numerous horror films. 
There is no specific type of wardrobe for a horror film unless it’s to suit a 
purpose. For example if the killer was a wielder, he would put on a safety mask 
and large boots to do his killings. Or if a ghost was killing people for revenge 
they may wear an item linked to their death, or symbolises how they died.
PROPS 
A lot of the props in horror films are things 
such as weapons, skeletons and dangerous 
objects. These all reflect the theme of death.
CHARACTERS 
Protagonist female Damsel. 
The victimiser. The villain 
The friends, other victims that go first. 
There also a few passers by 
that may render help to the 
victims, but they may also 
become a victim themselves. 
Each of the characters hold a particular 
significance. One of them may even have 
particular traits to hide themselves with the 
victims. But as the film progresses, you grow 
to realise their previous actions where out of 
place, which reveals their identity. 
The killer usually has some 
kind of disturbed pass, that 
they want to compensate for 
by killing. They may even re-enact 
their past by inflicting 
the pain on others.
HORROR FEATURES 
• SCREAMS - The screams of a victim can emphasize the tension happening in the scene, even if nothing is 
physically affecting them. It really exaggerates the danger, and the shrieks may even scare the viewer also, making 
them feel as if they are they, or causing them to image what it would be like if they were in that position. 
• BREATHING - Breathing is a common tell for danger in a horror film. It may be the victim is running and 
hiding from the killer/villain. Their breathing may even add to the tension, because t may be what gives their 
hiding place away. Also it tells you how the character is feeling, weather they are in shock, loss of breathe or 
scared. 
• ACTION OF A VILLAIN - Every villain in a horror film tends to have their own trait, personality, or 
gesture to extend their twisted personality. For example in the shining, the villain uses a nursery rhyme to taunt 
the victim, the irony or the innocent nursery rhyme to contrast with the gravity of the situation and how he’s 
coming to get her. Also they may conduct a killing in a particular ritualistic way, or has a certain fetish for his 
killings. For example every victims will be killed in the exact way. For example in the call, the killer kidnaps 
young victims, blonde, and must be an adolescent. He then uses them for their scalp and head of hair. Then 
disposes of them, in a sinister/torturing way.
EXAMPLE CLIPS 
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVsVKn-MS14&safe=active FRIDAY THE 13TH 
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7S3ygQJJLc&safe=active THE CONJURING 
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdG7A377boY&safe=active FINAL DESTITNSTION 3 
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUmyrBSeDs4&safe=active ORPHAN

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Conventions of Horror

  • 2. MISE - EN - SCENE Old, abandoned or unfamiliar location. Usually where the main events of the horror film takes place. The killings, or phenomenon. A torch or form o flight, used to guide the victims through the stereotypically dark location. E.g. woods, house, their house. It usually reveals a clue about the killing, or reveals the victim to killer, exposing their hiding place. Or they shine the light and find the killer’s location. Blood is a very common Mise-en-scene feature, especially in a wet horror. Where the scare features are people dying violent death. It can also be used by the victims, to identify how ruthless the killer is. Masks are often used to hide the identity of the Villain(s). The fear of the unknown is what creates an element of terror and panic. It’s what gives the horror film mystery. The classic ‘Who did it’ Dead bodies and corpses also feature in a lot of wet and some dry horror films. It can be a presenter of danger or trouble. Skeletons in the basement. The victims have no set wardrobe to be identified by in numerous horror films. There is no specific type of wardrobe for a horror film unless it’s to suit a purpose. For example if the killer was a wielder, he would put on a safety mask and large boots to do his killings. Or if a ghost was killing people for revenge they may wear an item linked to their death, or symbolises how they died.
  • 3. PROPS A lot of the props in horror films are things such as weapons, skeletons and dangerous objects. These all reflect the theme of death.
  • 4. CHARACTERS Protagonist female Damsel. The victimiser. The villain The friends, other victims that go first. There also a few passers by that may render help to the victims, but they may also become a victim themselves. Each of the characters hold a particular significance. One of them may even have particular traits to hide themselves with the victims. But as the film progresses, you grow to realise their previous actions where out of place, which reveals their identity. The killer usually has some kind of disturbed pass, that they want to compensate for by killing. They may even re-enact their past by inflicting the pain on others.
  • 5. HORROR FEATURES • SCREAMS - The screams of a victim can emphasize the tension happening in the scene, even if nothing is physically affecting them. It really exaggerates the danger, and the shrieks may even scare the viewer also, making them feel as if they are they, or causing them to image what it would be like if they were in that position. • BREATHING - Breathing is a common tell for danger in a horror film. It may be the victim is running and hiding from the killer/villain. Their breathing may even add to the tension, because t may be what gives their hiding place away. Also it tells you how the character is feeling, weather they are in shock, loss of breathe or scared. • ACTION OF A VILLAIN - Every villain in a horror film tends to have their own trait, personality, or gesture to extend their twisted personality. For example in the shining, the villain uses a nursery rhyme to taunt the victim, the irony or the innocent nursery rhyme to contrast with the gravity of the situation and how he’s coming to get her. Also they may conduct a killing in a particular ritualistic way, or has a certain fetish for his killings. For example every victims will be killed in the exact way. For example in the call, the killer kidnaps young victims, blonde, and must be an adolescent. He then uses them for their scalp and head of hair. Then disposes of them, in a sinister/torturing way.
  • 6. EXAMPLE CLIPS • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVsVKn-MS14&safe=active FRIDAY THE 13TH • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7S3ygQJJLc&safe=active THE CONJURING • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdG7A377boY&safe=active FINAL DESTITNSTION 3 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUmyrBSeDs4&safe=active ORPHAN