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Conventions of
a Slasher
Within the sub genre of ‘slasher’ there is usually a masked killer with an unknown identity, who
‘slashes’ a young group of teenagers, usually a group of friends (who are transgressors - rule
breakers) who drink, do drugs and have casual sex. One by one they are then killed. At the end of
the film, the final girl puts a stop to the killer somehow, provoking him leading for the movie to
end with many questions. This usually results in a sequel. Such as the Halloween Franchise and
the Scream Franchise.
Masked killer/weapon
Slashers are renowned for having an unknown, masked killer who goes on a psychotic rampage killing a group of teenagers. It is suspected
that this is because of their personal upbringing and now they are taking it out on future generations. The fact that their identity is
hidden is enticing for audiences, who will want to keep watching in order to find out if the killer is someone we know, or if it is a
complete stranger. As as result of this, audiences are on the edge of their seats throughout the movie, dying to find out. Furthermore,
the use of the mask is more successful in scaring audiences, as well as victims, based on the fear of the unknown as to who is behind
the mask and what they are then capable of.
Another convention of horror is the use of a weapon. Every antagonist has a signature weapon that they will use in order to kill/slaughter
their victims with. The weapons chosen are usually those that could have the most impact in making their victims suffer. It is unlikely
that that would use a gun, as this means that the victim would pretty much instantly, or shortly after being shot. The antagonist
prefers to let their victim suffer in their last moments. Additionally to this, through the use of knives/axes, the audience will be
exposed to more gruesome scenes and horrific imagery which they would expect to see in a slasher film, based on it being
conventional. The weapon says a lot about the antagonist and can distinguish them from any other antagonist from different horror
films. For example, when we see an antagonist with a chainsaw, we automatically think of the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.
Final Girl
Other conventions include the female protagonists and the final girl. Female victims are often seen as sexual transgressors, which can
sometimes be the cause of their death, it is there punishment for being a transgressor. They usually surround themselves around
alcohol, drugs and sex. This combined with a lack of focus, awareness and coordination leaves them less likely to protect
themselves and makes them even more of a victim. They are usually chased and scared witless by a male antagonist making them
appear weak and powerless, eventually, they are killed in graphic ways making them seem even more like a victim. All of them
end up dead, apart from one who is known as the ‘final girl’. A final girl is a lone survivor who remains after her friends have been
killed. However, she looks death in the face plenty of times before her eventual escape/defeat of the killer. Unlike her friends, she
is sensible, brave, virginal, intelligent, perspective and reasonable. She is a proactive fighter, not a passive victim, which is why
she manages to survive.
Conventionally, the final girl is a brunette in comparison to her ‘dumb blonde’ friend who can be used as the ‘sacrificial lamb’ in a
slasher, who conventionally dies first.
Diegetic/Non Diegetic Sound
Sound plays a vital role within horror films as it increases the fear level and gets audience's adrenaline pumping.
Within slashers it is common to hear a nursery rhyme, or children laughing. This creates a contrast between the idea
of evil and children, who are presented as being innocent and pure in real life. Effectively, this will scare
audience as it is not what they would expect. An example of this is in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ whereby you
hear a twittest encounter of the nursery rhyme “one, two, three, four, five”.
Another sound that is familiar is the mimicking sound of a heart beat. It is not only mimicking the characters in the
film, but also the audiences, as their hearts will be racing in anticipation of what is about to happen.
One diegetic sound we hear frequently, is the sound of screaming. This further highlights the characters fear of the
antagonist. Rarely, it is screams of pain, but the antagonist is good at his job and usually slashes his victims
quickly, in order to move on to his next victim.
Flashbacks
Flashbacks are often used in order to allow the audience to know more
about the antagonist and reasons behind their killing. By doing this, it
helps the audience to understand and on some occasions sympathise
with the antagonist.
In the trailer for ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ you can see Freddie being
trapped in an old building by people, assumably neighbours, who have
accused him of being a child abuser, before throwing a ball of fire into
the building, leaving for him to burn and eventually die. Little do they
know, he survives this encounter and then begins his revenge plan, not
on those who attacked him, but their children instead, the same children
he got accused of abusing many years prior to this.
My Trailer
From them conventions I have adapted them to my own trailer such as; as
masked killer, a signature weapon and a final girl. Additionally, we also included
a scarier version of “teddy bear picnic” at the end of our trailer. All these ideas
came from the inspiration of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Unfortunately, we
could not create a flashback idea that fit in well with the storyline to put into the
trailer itself, we decided to leave that aspect out and leave it as a mystery, so if
the audience ever wanted to find out the reason behind our antagonists killings,
they would have to go and watch the film. Additionally, we could not find a
heartbeat sound that mimicked the action in our trailer our we would have done
so.

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Slasher conventions

  • 2. Within the sub genre of ‘slasher’ there is usually a masked killer with an unknown identity, who ‘slashes’ a young group of teenagers, usually a group of friends (who are transgressors - rule breakers) who drink, do drugs and have casual sex. One by one they are then killed. At the end of the film, the final girl puts a stop to the killer somehow, provoking him leading for the movie to end with many questions. This usually results in a sequel. Such as the Halloween Franchise and the Scream Franchise.
  • 3. Masked killer/weapon Slashers are renowned for having an unknown, masked killer who goes on a psychotic rampage killing a group of teenagers. It is suspected that this is because of their personal upbringing and now they are taking it out on future generations. The fact that their identity is hidden is enticing for audiences, who will want to keep watching in order to find out if the killer is someone we know, or if it is a complete stranger. As as result of this, audiences are on the edge of their seats throughout the movie, dying to find out. Furthermore, the use of the mask is more successful in scaring audiences, as well as victims, based on the fear of the unknown as to who is behind the mask and what they are then capable of. Another convention of horror is the use of a weapon. Every antagonist has a signature weapon that they will use in order to kill/slaughter their victims with. The weapons chosen are usually those that could have the most impact in making their victims suffer. It is unlikely that that would use a gun, as this means that the victim would pretty much instantly, or shortly after being shot. The antagonist prefers to let their victim suffer in their last moments. Additionally to this, through the use of knives/axes, the audience will be exposed to more gruesome scenes and horrific imagery which they would expect to see in a slasher film, based on it being conventional. The weapon says a lot about the antagonist and can distinguish them from any other antagonist from different horror films. For example, when we see an antagonist with a chainsaw, we automatically think of the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.
  • 4. Final Girl Other conventions include the female protagonists and the final girl. Female victims are often seen as sexual transgressors, which can sometimes be the cause of their death, it is there punishment for being a transgressor. They usually surround themselves around alcohol, drugs and sex. This combined with a lack of focus, awareness and coordination leaves them less likely to protect themselves and makes them even more of a victim. They are usually chased and scared witless by a male antagonist making them appear weak and powerless, eventually, they are killed in graphic ways making them seem even more like a victim. All of them end up dead, apart from one who is known as the ‘final girl’. A final girl is a lone survivor who remains after her friends have been killed. However, she looks death in the face plenty of times before her eventual escape/defeat of the killer. Unlike her friends, she is sensible, brave, virginal, intelligent, perspective and reasonable. She is a proactive fighter, not a passive victim, which is why she manages to survive. Conventionally, the final girl is a brunette in comparison to her ‘dumb blonde’ friend who can be used as the ‘sacrificial lamb’ in a slasher, who conventionally dies first.
  • 5. Diegetic/Non Diegetic Sound Sound plays a vital role within horror films as it increases the fear level and gets audience's adrenaline pumping. Within slashers it is common to hear a nursery rhyme, or children laughing. This creates a contrast between the idea of evil and children, who are presented as being innocent and pure in real life. Effectively, this will scare audience as it is not what they would expect. An example of this is in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ whereby you hear a twittest encounter of the nursery rhyme “one, two, three, four, five”. Another sound that is familiar is the mimicking sound of a heart beat. It is not only mimicking the characters in the film, but also the audiences, as their hearts will be racing in anticipation of what is about to happen. One diegetic sound we hear frequently, is the sound of screaming. This further highlights the characters fear of the antagonist. Rarely, it is screams of pain, but the antagonist is good at his job and usually slashes his victims quickly, in order to move on to his next victim.
  • 6. Flashbacks Flashbacks are often used in order to allow the audience to know more about the antagonist and reasons behind their killing. By doing this, it helps the audience to understand and on some occasions sympathise with the antagonist. In the trailer for ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ you can see Freddie being trapped in an old building by people, assumably neighbours, who have accused him of being a child abuser, before throwing a ball of fire into the building, leaving for him to burn and eventually die. Little do they know, he survives this encounter and then begins his revenge plan, not on those who attacked him, but their children instead, the same children he got accused of abusing many years prior to this.
  • 7. My Trailer From them conventions I have adapted them to my own trailer such as; as masked killer, a signature weapon and a final girl. Additionally, we also included a scarier version of “teddy bear picnic” at the end of our trailer. All these ideas came from the inspiration of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Unfortunately, we could not create a flashback idea that fit in well with the storyline to put into the trailer itself, we decided to leave that aspect out and leave it as a mystery, so if the audience ever wanted to find out the reason behind our antagonists killings, they would have to go and watch the film. Additionally, we could not find a heartbeat sound that mimicked the action in our trailer our we would have done so.