Code Analysis

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Code Analysis

  1. 1. Code Analysis’ Alice Sophie Turrell
  2. 2. Halloween
  3. 3. A visual code (mise en scène) is what indicates to the audience what the genre is or if something is about to happen visually, for example, if there was a lot of blood you would presume there would have been some harm done to someone or they are dead. Halloween uses many visual codes to help set the scene of a horror taking place in a typical suburban street. • The lighting is very dark, and it is night for the majority of the film which makes it feel uneasy and like a typical horror film. This is plays on peoples fears of the dark and the idea that bad things come out at night. The night also suggests mystery as you can not see what is happening or hiding. There is also a lot of shadow throughout this film which adds to the mystery and secrecy of the film. • The look of disbelief on young Michaels face at the beginning and the fact he is holding a knife in his hands tells the audience that he has potentially just killed someone or done something. • The clip showing the girls walking in the day time is very bright and colourful. This contrasts to the dark night, and therefore intensifies it also. This relates to Claude Levi – Strauss’ theory stating that there are binary opposites in narrative. It also highlights the setting more clearly, which is a typical American street. This therefore also contrasts to what is going to take place there. • The way the girls are dressed and the books they are carrying presents them as quite innocent, which shows them to be the protagonist and makes the violence and that will be inflicted towards them seem harsher and more prominent. • The bluey tones that are seen in the houses around 1:30 in the trailer along with the very dark colours and shadow creates a very cold and lonely feel making the protagonists seem more vulnerable and alone, emphasizing the acts of the Michael. Visual Codes
  4. 4. Audio codes in trailers can be a range of different forms, such as dialog, narration, music and sound effects. These can be non diegetic and diegetic. The sound helps create atmosphere – in the case of a horror film, it would be fear and suspense. Halloween uses a mix of both diegetic and non diegetic sound to create a mysterious, scary and eerie atmosphere. • Throughout the trailer, there is a narrator, that at the beginning sets the scene and introduces the film. This narrator then repeats the films title throughout, and leaves a sort of cliffhanger at the end. The tone of voice is important as it is quite deep, husky and American and creates mystery. • The wind instruments at the beginning of the trailer creates a sense of mystery and tension, and is repeated throughout the film along with piano to create fear, suspense and mystery to let the audience know something is about to happen. • At some points the music stops or softens, which hints to the audience that something is about to happen, which when it does, the music becomes heavier, louder and more excited than before to match with and intensify the actions that are happening. • Sound effects are used constantly with this – which are diegetic – to add more fear, with the use of conventional “scary” sounds such as creaking doors, high pitched screams of terror, and doors being torn apart to create a more realistic feel. Audio Codes
  5. 5. • • • • Todorov’s theory of narrative suggests that there is a equilibrium that gets disrupted in the narrative and the protagonists have to fight to gain it back, leading to a new equilibrium. This relates to the trailer for Halloween as the equilibrium is set when Michael got sent to the institution for killing his sister as a child. This is then disrupted very early on in the trailer by him escaping and going after the girls on the street. Barthes theory that narrative is made up of five different codes also relates to this trailer as; action - the chase and violence Michael inflicts on the protagonists, enigma – the unanswered questions and cliffhangers presented in the trailer, symbolic – the visual symbols included in the trailer (such as the pumpkins indicating it is halloween), semic – the hidden codes in the trailer indicating themes and ideas (such as the shadows indicating that Michael is hiding and waiting to attack, and Cultural – the obvious and identifiable American suburban street. Levi – Strauss’ theory of binary opposition relates to this trailer for a couple of reasons. Firstly the clear contrast between the character of Michael and the innocent teenage victims. And secondly the stark contrast between the dark night and the bright day time showing the same street in two different ways. These contrasts intensify and make the bad seem worse by showing the opposites. Although Propp’s theory is mainly applied to Russian Fairytales, laying out the basic list of characters but can also be related to trailers. This trailer uses some of this theory, but only the points for the villain, helper and princess. With villain being Michael, helper being the doctor and princess referring to he victims. Narrative Codes
  6. 6. The action codes help to show and emphasize the genre and the action that you will find in the film without giving too much away. For example, if someone is being chased it will cut out before they get get caught or get away. • The girl getting walked up on and pushed down the stairs suddenly shows the action and how fast paced the film is. • Door being cut through show how the protagonist is in pursuit of the victims, which links into the fast pace of the film. • The chase across the street shows how weak the victim is, and how she is desperate to get away. This reflects on the elements of chase in the film. • The attack on the nurses car shows how jumpy and frightening the film is. Yet again, relating to the fast pace of the film. • When the protagonist is coming out of shadows, it gives it an sense of mystery and slightly leans towards the thriller genre. Action Codes
  7. 7. Enigma codes are the questions left unanswered and cliffhangers in the trailer. These are added and unanswered to create suspense and to play with the viewers natural want and need to find things out, which will then make the want to go and see the film. • How he escaped is one of the main questions in the trailer. This is emphasized by the presence of the doctor and what he is saying, and by the attack on the nurses car. This is one of the key questions as his escape is what leads to the attacks. Another question linking to this is why he escaped. For example; is there someone he is after? Is it the anniversary of when he killed his sister? • When the three girls are walking along the houses in the day, they stop and look slightly shocked and unsettled at something behind the camera. Due to the fact it is in the trailer, it is obviously linked to story. But, we don’t know what it is that is shocking them. This is a question that plays on the mind a lot as this is in day time which goes against the typical horror night time convention. • If she gets caught is probably the strongest question of all in the trailer as it ends during her trying to escape with Michael right behind her, almost catching her. You can also tell that the chase between this girl and Michael is one of the central story lines to this film from how much both characters are featured in the movie. Enigma Codes
  8. 8. The technical codes relate to how the film trailer is made, for example how fast the clips have been put together or whether they fade into each other or not. It also talks about other technical effects that can be included in the trailer. This trailer is quite basic in terms of technical codes, but there are a few which help give an idea of the genre. • Throughout the trailer, the films title keeps popping up on screen at regular intervals. This not only reminds the audience of the film and makes it stick in their head, but the fact that the film is called Halloween indicates towards the genre of horror. • The cuts are really fast and don’t fade or merge into each other. This clearly gives the viewer an indication that the film will contain action, suspense and horror. Technical Codes
  9. 9. Hostel
  10. 10. A visual code (mise en scène) is what indicates to the audience what the genre is or if something is about to happen visually, for example, if there was a lot of blood you would presume there would have been some harm done to someone or they are dead. Hostel shows a lot of visual codes which set the scene for the film, creating certain expectations for it. • The lighting in this trailer is very dark. This connotes the horror genre and also gives the setting an air of secrecy like bad things are happening there. • The dripping, water puddles and dirt give the building a dirty, damp feel. This not only makes it feel and look disgusting and dirty, but also increases the horror look. This then makes the viewer uncomfortable and like it is not a good place to be in. • The tools that you see frequently during the trailer gives a strong indication towards the gory, slasher elements to the film. The tools are also grimy which adds to this effect and look. • The flickering lights that is evident in some clips from this trailer gives the trailer suspense as the viewer is made to feel like something or someone could suddenly appear. It also adds to the fear elements. • The fact some of the characters shown in this trailer are wearing butchers style outfits adds to the blood and guts theme of the film. They are clearly shown through this as the protagonists on the film. Visual Codes
  11. 11. Audio codes in trailers can be a range of different forms, such as dialog, narration, music and sound effects. These can be non diegetic and diegetic. The sound helps create atmosphere – in the case of a horror film, it would be fear and suspense. Halloween uses a mix of both diegetic and non diegetic sound to create a mysterious, scary and eerie atmosphere. • There is music throughout this trailer. It starts of quite tense, with quite a lot of drums and violins. Although this theme continues throughout the trailer, it gets more hurried and fast as the trailer goes on and increases in pace. • There are also a lot of sound effects used in this trailer that are instantly recognizable, and if you were just listening to the trailer you would be able to tell that the genre is horror. The echoey dripping water gives a sense of emptiness and aloneness which creates some fear. The heavy breathing, pleading indicates along with the other signs that someone is in danger and feels scared. The fact that it is a male voice emphasizes the fear in the audience and men are stereotypically stronger than women. Another sound effect that works really well is the scream after you see the toe about to be cut off. This scream happens with a dark screen which hides what is actually happening, this intrigues the audience. Another very stereotypical sound effect that is used is a chainsaw. This noise is very closely associated with horror movies and therefore gives a strong indication of the genre. • At the end of the trailer, the only narrative there is in the whole film is purely just the title. This is strong and definitive which helps the title stick in the audiences head. The narrators voice is also important, as it sounds quite dark, rough and scary which links into the films genre. Audio Codes
  12. 12. • Todorov’s theory of narrative suggests that there is a equilibrium that gets disrupted in the narrative and the protagonists have to fight to gain it back, leading to a new equilibrium. This theory does not relate to this trailer as the only part of the film you get to see is where the victims get tortured, and does not show you how they ended up there of if they escape. • Barthes theory that narrative is made up of five different codes also relates to this trailer as; action - the violence and the torture inflicted upon the victims, enigma – the unanswered questions and cliffhangers presented in the trailer such as why the victims are being tortured, symbolic – the visual symbols included in the trailer these include the torture tools, the location and the fact the victims are restrained as they all indicate to the horror genre, semic – the hidden codes in the trailer indicating themes and ideas this includes the man washing down the room as it indicates that he has just possibly tortured someone in there and is cleaning his mess, and Cultural – the American accent of the pleas that you hear in the trailer. • Levi – Strauss’ theory of binary opposition relates to this trailer as there is a clear difference and contrast in character between the protagonists inflicting the torture and the victims. • Although Propp’s theory is mainly applied to Russian Fairytales, laying out the basic list of characters but can also be related to trailers. This trailer uses some of this theory, but only the points for the villain, and the princess with the villain(s) being those doing the torture and the princess being the victims. Narrative Codes
  13. 13. The action codes help to show and emphasize the genre and the action that you will find in the film without giving too much away. For example, if someone is being chased it will cut out before they get caught or get away. • At about 20 seconds into the trailer you see the protagonist take a bag off the victims head and look as though he is about to do something to harm him. This then cuts of so you do not know what will happen – if anything does. This creates suspense and grabs the audiences attention. • There is a very fast cut that shows what looks like someone tied to something restraining them and keeping them imprisoned. The audience does not see what else happens in the trailer, but the person is moving around frantically which indicates that they are trying to escape and get away from something. • The part where you can see the toe about be cut off with bolt croppers gives the audience a squirmy, unsettling feeling of fear and adrenaline. The fact that this clip is so fast and does not show much action creates more suspense and a strong cliffhanger. • At around 50 seconds into the trailer, there are some clips that show the tortures going towards the victim ready to torture them. This creates a fast pace, and the fact that they are walking in the direction of the camera makes it seem like they are pursuing the audience which adds to the fear and excitement. • At the end you see a man about to have his head submerged in water. You get the feeling he was chased and trapped in the room, which then leads to questions about how and why that happened. Action Codes
  14. 14. Enigma codes are the questions left unanswered and cliffhangers in the trailer. These are added and unanswered to create suspense and to play with the viewers natural want and need to find things out, which will then make the want to go and see the film. This trailer does not give much away, and so consequently creates a lot of enigma code. • Throughout the whole of this trailer, there is no indication or clue given as to how the victims got there or how they got out. This is the strongest question in the trailer as it plays a major part of the story line in the film. • Another question that is left from this trailer is why the torturers are torturing. Although you get the sense they want to be there and are doing it for fun from the intertitles, you do not know anything else. • All of the torture clips are showing victims imprisoned or about to be tortured, and they cut out to another clip. All of these individually leave cliffhangers and questions, such as; do they die? How hurt are they? Do they escape? Etc. Enigma Codes
  15. 15. The technical codes relate to how the film trailer is made, for example how fast the clips have been put together or whether they fade into each other or not. It also talks about other technical effects that can be included in the trailer. This trailer shows a lot of use of technical codes throughout to create more of an impact. • Intertitles are used regularly, giving some vague information about what is happening, and about how the film is based on true events. These add suspense, give some extra information to the audience that is not seen in the clips. There main function is to make the viewer want to see the film even more, and due to the wording and how they appeal directly to the viewer in a personal way, they do achieve this. • The cuts used in this fade into each other, and fade to black which is not as harsh as having them just switch. This creates more of a mystery and links the clips more closely. This works well as the clips seem to all show the same area – most likely middle where the film is at its highpoint – throughout the trailer. • The pace of the clips increases throughout the trailer, matching the pace of the music. At first they last around four seconds, but by the end of the trailer they are a lot faster and show a lot more action, lasting only around one to two seconds. Technical Codes
  16. 16. Wrong Turn
  17. 17. A visual code (mise en scène) is what indicates to the audience what the genre is or if something is about to happen visually, for example, if there was a lot of blood you would presume there would have been some harm done to someone or they are dead. Wrong Turn uses visual codes to not only give indications of the genre, but to confuse the audience at first. • The bright sky indicates that it is obviously day time, however, this is quite unusual for a horror film to be entirely set in the day due to the fact one of the typical elements of horrors is the dark and night. This at first throws the audience off, and then makes the action and horror elements less assumed. • The way the camera is sometimes filming from behind trees and from a distance gives you the idea that the antagonists are being watched. This creates an eerie, creepy feeling and gives indications towards the horror genre. • The cabin that they come across is quite typical in horror movies set in the woods, and the audience would probably immediately pick up on the fact it is not a safe place for the antagonists to go looking. This due to the typical, run down, dirty, dark and abandoned style of it. • The scene that shows someone looking through a keyhole witnessing someone being murdered shows quite a lot. Firstly, it shows how the group of people who crash their cars are being hunted and murdered quite brutally. It also shows the fear in the persons eye. This fear is then felt by the audience along with excitement and adrenaline which makes them want to watch the film. • The last clip shown on the trailer shows the woman hiding from one of the inbred creatures. This gives strong indications to what is expected of the film, action, horror, and chases. As this is the last clip and the trailer appears to be in chronological order, you can get the impression that this woman is one of the last survivors. Visual Codes
  18. 18. Audio codes in trailers can be a range of different forms, such as dialog, narration, music and sound effects. These can be non diegetic and diegetic. The sound helps create atmosphere – in the case of a horror film, it would be fear and suspense. Wrong Turn uses a mix of both diegetic and non diegetic sound to create a eerie, suspense filled atmosphere. • The music used is quite ghostly and ominous to start with when the cars crash, as if the characters and caught in a trap and walking further into it. This music continues, but also with some heavier drum music to add more suspense and let the audience know something is going to happen. • When the news clippings are shown, the music instead sounds like bad radio frequency. This goes well with the images and text shown as it gives it a lost, and frantic atmosphere. • When they get to the cabin, the music sounds almost like a ticking clock. This gives the effect of a countdown towards the action and like they are getting closer and closer to peak of the film. • The heavy breathing in complete silence emphasizes the fact that the victim is hiding and trying to stay hidden. This creates a sense of suspense and fear in the audience, not knowing whether they will get caught or not. • The howl that you hear come from one of the protagonists gives them an inhuman, animal like characteristic which creates a scarier feel than if there was no howl and they were shown in a more human manner. Audio Codes
  19. 19. • Todorov’s theory of narrative suggests that there is a equilibrium that gets disrupted in the narrative and the protagonists have to fight to gain it back, leading to a new equilibrium. This relates to the trailer for Wrong Turn as the equilibrium is when they are driving down the road. This is then disrupted when they crash. They then fight for their life effectively to gain a new equilibrium. • Barthes theory that narrative is made up of five different codes also relates to this trailer as; action - the hunt for the victims by the inbreds, enigma – the unanswered questions and cliffhangers presented in the trailer, symbolic – the visual symbols included in the trailer such as the weapons and cabin, semic – the hidden codes in the trailer indicating themes and ideas for example – the feeling that the antagonists are being watched from the trees, and Cultural – the isolated forest setting. • Levi – Strauss’ theory of binary opposition relates to this trailer as there is a clear contrast between the inbreds and the victims. • Although Propp’s theory is mainly applied to Russian Fairytales, laying out the basic list of characters but can also be related to trailers. This trailer uses some of this theory, but only the points for the villain and princess. The villain relating to the inbreds and the princess role being the victims. Narrative Codes
  20. 20. The action codes help to show and emphasize the genre and the action that you will find in the film without giving too much away. For example, if someone is being chased it will cut out before they get caught or get away. • The car crash that occurs right at the beginning of the trailer indicates that that is how things change for the worse and kick start a series of events. • When the person is watching through the key hole, you see the protagonist go to attack someone. This shows you some of the action to expect – such as the hiding and the violence. • There are a lot of fast clips around three quarters of the way through on the trailer. These all show various high action moments in the film. They are very fast also which indicates to the audience that the film will contain a lot of fast paced action. Action Codes
  21. 21. Enigma codes are the questions left unanswered and cliffhangers in the trailer. These are added and unanswered to create suspense and to play with the viewers natural want and need to find things out, which will then make the want to go and see the film. This trailer creates a few cliffhangers and questions that make the audience want to find out more. • When the woman finds the barbed wire that caused the crash and states that someone put it there on purpose, the audience is left wanting to know who put it there and why. • When the man in the cabin picks up and looks at what appears to be a booklet, he looked intrigued and shocked. The clip then cuts so the audience does not know what it is. They are then left wondering why it is important and why it got that reaction. • The cliffhanger created at the end of the trailer by the various clips used showing chases and violence is if anyone survived, and what happened to the protagonists. Enigma Codes
  22. 22. The technical codes relate to how the film trailer is made, for example how fast the clips have been put together or whether they fade into each other or not. It also talks about other technical effects that can be included in the trailer. This trailer shows good use of technical codes continuously throughout. • The main technical code evident in this trailer is when the clips cut away to show the newspaper reports and images. These are used effectively to make the story of the inbred creatures living in the forest seem like a urban legend. This adds more fear to the audience and creates a deeper story. • The intertitles work alongside the newspaper reports to create a deeper story and make it seem more realistic and believable. These are used to give background information to the audience. • The cuts alternate in pace and how they merge. At first the cuts are longer and fade into each other or into black. They then speed up when the action increases. They cuts also just change from one to the next now instead of fading into each other. Technical Codes

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