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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.
SUB GENRES OF HORROR
• Wet - A wet Horror consists of mass blood, spilling of guts and the deconstruction of bodies. It’s has a
much more brutal, violent and aggressive style to it. Many films such as ‘The Decent’ ‘I know who
killed Me’ and ‘Final Destination 3’ feature these themes.
• Dry - A dry horror is more to do with sinister themes, chills and perplexing the mind with simple fears
amplified. This could consist of being tapped in a small space, a natural disaster or an intense situation
or setting where the stimulus creates a life endangering environment. But just because a film is a dry
comedy, doesn't mean the film will not feature blood or deaths. If it does, it will be on a minor level,
with small scenes of violence and probably made evident through narrative. Films such as ‘Intruders’
and ‘Orphan’ are great examples of this.
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
TECHNICAL CODES
• Camera work plays a big role in films. It can express the mood of the setting, and even give away the
characters feelings or actions. This is done through the type of shot, or the movement. For example a
handheld shot would be shaky, this could show the character is running, or being shaken from a hit or in
a fight. Also the movement such as a tracking shot could emphasize the journey a character I taking. To
exaggerate the struggle.
• Shot types can reveal a characters stance, which will allow the audience to perceive their current
situation e.g tied up, severed, or trapped in a small space. Also the shot type allows us to see the
characters face, which enables the character to connote what the character is feeling.
• Shots such as a Close Up or Extreme Close Up can present a certain object, a part of a location, or body
part can in a emphasized way that attracts the audience. It can indicate to them that it’s of importance,
or significance as to what’s going to happen in the current or next scene.
• Lighting also has an impact on the film. It can reduce the light to show that a character is alone, to
exaggerate the isolation by leaving everything black, presenting the theme of non-existence. It can
create the theme of mystery in an unfamiliar place. It can also create the idea of being trapped, by the
lack of light presenting to the audience that a character is being squashed into a corner.

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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. SUB GENRES OF HORROR • Wet - A wet Horror consists of mass blood, spilling of guts and the deconstruction of bodies. It’s has a much more brutal, violent and aggressive style to it. Many films such as ‘The Decent’ ‘I know who killed Me’ and ‘Final Destination 3’ feature these themes. • Dry - A dry horror is more to do with sinister themes, chills and perplexing the mind with simple fears amplified. This could consist of being tapped in a small space, a natural disaster or an intense situation or setting where the stimulus creates a life endangering environment. But just because a film is a dry comedy, doesn't mean the film will not feature blood or deaths. If it does, it will be on a minor level, with small scenes of violence and probably made evident through narrative. Films such as ‘Intruders’ and ‘Orphan’ are great examples of this.
  • 7. 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
  • 8. TECHNICAL CODES • Camera work plays a big role in films. It can express the mood of the setting, and even give away the characters feelings or actions. This is done through the type of shot, or the movement. For example a handheld shot would be shaky, this could show the character is running, or being shaken from a hit or in a fight. Also the movement such as a tracking shot could emphasize the journey a character I taking. To exaggerate the struggle. • Shot types can reveal a characters stance, which will allow the audience to perceive their current situation e.g tied up, severed, or trapped in a small space. Also the shot type allows us to see the characters face, which enables the character to connote what the character is feeling. • Shots such as a Close Up or Extreme Close Up can present a certain object, a part of a location, or body part can in a emphasized way that attracts the audience. It can indicate to them that it’s of importance, or significance as to what’s going to happen in the current or next scene. • Lighting also has an impact on the film. It can reduce the light to show that a character is alone, to exaggerate the isolation by leaving everything black, presenting the theme of non-existence. It can create the theme of mystery in an unfamiliar place. It can also create the idea of being trapped, by the lack of light presenting to the audience that a character is being squashed into a corner.