Media TimelineHISTORY OF FILM & THE HORROR GENRE Charlotte Page
History of FilmIn 1878, The Horses in Motion byEadweard Muybridge was one of thefirst films to be created. Muybridgebegan making the film by placing aseries of cameras along a race trackwhich photographed a horse in fastmotion. Fast motion is when a filmframe is shot at a much slower speedthan it would be played at in which byusing this Muybridge’s imagery allowsdetails to be picked out which thehuman eye cannot notice as a fasterspeed.The series of photos made a short filmstrip which shows that all four hoovesdo leave the ground at the same time.This film today still remains as one ofthe earliest forms of videography.
The Silent EraThe silent era ran from 1894 to 1929 in which instead of using diegetic soundssuch as dialogue, silent films relied heavily on exaggerated gestures or facialexpressions from the actors to tell the story. Incidental music also became anessential for adding atmosphere to a silent film whilst also indicating what emotionis being portrayed to an audience. Earlier silent films that were shown at publicvenues usually had a live musician to improvise the music on a piano or organ. The Great Train Robbery was the first silent film to be released in 1903. It’s release introduced new editing techniques to the rising film industry by being the first to employ parallel editing. This is where the film cuts between two different scenes that are happening at the same time. Video – The Great Train Robbery (1903)
BBC The Magic of Movie Editing Early film makers simply took photos of what that interested them in which they would turn these images into a film that would continuously play. For example, The Life of an American Fireman tells a story from one continuous narrative. Editing can have various effects on a film such as slowing down or speeding up time which can create various audience reactions. This shows how length of shots can change an audience’s response to a scene. Editor D.W Griffith was one of the first to employ the use of the close-up shot as well as parallel editing and flashbacks in 1915. The editing process was known as the “invisible art” as editors tried to making transitions so smooth that audiences would forget that a scene is changing. Editing rules were originally quite strict, timings were very specific, scenes would typically change through a dissolve and camera shots would often change in a logical order. Breathless (1960) was first to break these strict rules. Computer technology today allows editing to be a quicker process. By using visual characters, editors can now directly change aspects on screen changing the original image to something new.
First Feature Films Produced by Warner Brothers, The Jazz Singer (1927) was the first feature length film to be released that combined music and part dialogue following the silent era. The film used a system called Vitaphone which meant that when the film was shown on a projector, the dialogue and music could be played in sync with actions of the characters on screen. Some consider The Jazz Singer as a musical due to it only having a few minutes of dialogue however it holds a significant place within film history because it was the first “talkie” film to be introduced to the industry. In 1928, Warner Brothers released Lights of New York which was the first all talking feature film.
1930’sThe 1930’s film industry has been labelled as“the Golden Age of Hollywood.” The silent erahad ended after many silent actors decided notto make the transition into talking films and filmgenres such as horror, western, comedy,musicals and gangster had the opportunity tofurther develop.Colour movies were also invented in the 30’swith the first colour, short live-action film beingLa Cucaracha (1934) and Becky Sharp (1935)was the first full length feature film to use thelatest colour technology, Technicolor.Walt Disney’s Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs(1937) was the first feature length animationfilm to use colour.Other popular film of the 1930’s -Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone With The Wind(1939).
1940’sTechnology in the 1940’s began to advance.The use of colour, sound recording, lightingand special effects made films morewatchable as they appeared modern.During the war years, many mediaplatforms used the war as a subject for theirproducts and so did the film industry. Inparticular, British audiences wanted morerealistic films and as a result British studiosbegan producing documentaries and warfilms, for example Casablanca in 1942.A style called “Film Noir” became popularduring the 40’s. In French, “noir” translatesto black which reflects the series of darkfilms which was created. This style wastypically used for crime dramas andemployed the use of low key black andwhite lighting to produce strong shadows aswell as using tilted camera angles. Thiscreated darker films not just visually butreflected darker content and themes.
1950’sIn the 1950’s, the introduction of televisionbecame a threat to the film industry ascinemas saw attendance rates begin todrop because black and white televisionwas more affordable than going to thecinema. In an attempt to gain theiraudience back the film industry madebigger and better films by ensuring theywere made in colour, shown on biggerscreens, showed pictures of a higherquality and some in 3D.Rock and roll became popular in cinemasduring the 50’s which introduced a newteenage market to the film industry whichwas disapproved by older audience whohad previously seen realistic war films.Young audiences wanted to see excitingnew stars which included Marilyn Monroeand James Dean.
1960’sFilm audiences continued to decline astelevision became more powerful anddominant. As a result the film industry beganto struggle financially. After the introductionof colour television in 1936, film companiesdecided to expand their forms ofentertainment and reach their audiences bycreating records, TV films and programmes.Rock and roll continued into the 1960’s withthe USA gaining interest in Britishmusic, fashion and culture. The film industryacted upon this by producing comedydocumentaries and musical films, the mostpopular featured The Beatles.Film technology continued to develop in the60’s, the introduction of “liquid gate printing”provided a brighter, clearer picture by filling inany scratches on the film reel.
1970’s After financial difficulty in the 50’s and 60’s the industry started to release summer blockbusters to increase profits. Summer films such as Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977) were successful for the film industry as they appealed to mass audiences and therefore increased Jaws Trailer (1975) income. Films within the 70’s became more creative due to restrictions on language, violence, adult content and sexuality becoming less strict. VHS players in 1977 meant that films could be bought and watched at home, this had a positive impact on independent film makers as through marketing, their products could gain attention. Alternatively, cinema audiences would decline again due to consumers staying at home.Star Wars VHS (1977)
1980’s Blockbuster films became increasingly popular in the 1980’s with the biggest films being released either during the summer or around the Christmas period. Through successful marketing, blockbuster film’s made a larger profit as bigger audiences attended cinemas. Special effects had alsoET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) progressed, the use of CGI was now available to films in which this allowed the science- fiction genre to gain more attention as exciting characters could be created such as ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) which was the top grossing film of the decade. Furthermore, sound tracks were of higher quality meaning that more atmosphere could be created in a film. Cable TV, broadcasting satellites, and VHS tapes allowed film distribution to become more varied. This meant that films could reach audiences at home as well as at the cinema. Ghostbusters (1984)
1990’sIn the 1990’s changes began to occur withinmajor film studios. Warner Communicationsformed with Time to form Time Warner withWarner Brothers making working in film andtelevision. Viacom bought film companyParamount Pictures and DreamWorks wasformed in 1997 with their first feature film,The Peacemaker. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)Also in 1997, the first DVD’s were releasedwhich not only had better picture and soundquality but interactive features. This meantthat home viewing of films was still morepopular than attending cinema releases.Summer and Christmas blockbustershowever were still popular in the 90’s. Filmssuch as Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), ForrestGump (1994) and Titanic (1997) weresuccessful not only because of the quality ofthe film but because of successful marketingand merchandise raising awareness of theirreleases. Sequels became more commontoo, with the most popular of the 90’s beingToy Story 2 and Batman Returns. Titanic (1997)
2000’s This decade is known as the era of franchises as series of films became extremely successful. Most franchise films were based on existing products such as novels, or comic books. Franchise films of this decade include Spider Man, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and the Twilight Saga. During this decade, films found a niche toPirates of the Caribbean Franchise market films online through social networking (Twitter, Facebook…) Examples include the final Harry Potter series releasing exclusive posters on Twitter and The Twilight Saga setting up its own Facebook page. In 2005, the latest 3D technology, RealD, was introduced to cinemas which helped to produce 3D images in brighter colours and sharper details. The film industry was dominated by 6 major companies. These were Time Warner, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony, Walt Disney and Universal. This reflects how the film industry is an example of an oligopoly as Harry Potter Franchise several companies dominate the market.
History of…THE HORROR GENRE“An overwhelming painful feeling caused by something frightful, shocking, or terrifying.”
MythologySome of the earliest forms of horror began inmythology. Stories from Greek mythologycreated a sense of fear through the charactersthat were created. For example, Medusa beinga character with snakes for hair, and would turnpeople to stone created a sense of terror inthose who would hear the story.The Romans also had myths based within thehorror genre in which some of their storiesabout monsters have been made into novels.For example, the first version of Frankensteinby Mary Shelley was written in 1818 in whichthis novel created a new style of writing forrising authors and introduced wider audiencesto the horror genre.
Horror in Literature The horror genre has early links within gothic literature. People would read novels and plays of the gothic genre for a sense of entertainment though fear, horror and terror. The first author to write a text within the gothic genre was Horace Walpole in 1764 with his novel The Caste of Otranto. The text involved the supernatural and used female characters as victims which was frightening to Victorian audiences. Gothic Literature has allowed horror to develop sub-genres, including :-• Victorian Gothic – Enforces setting, supernatural, and has romantic sub-plot.• Visceral Horror – Shows blood and gore as source of horror.• Supernatural Horror – Involves zombies, vampires, ghosts…• Clerical Horror – Associated with religion.• Sci-Fi Horror – Uses science to explain source of horror.• Lovecraftian Horror – Involves outer-space.• Apocalyptic Horror – Uses end of the world as source of horror.• Psychological Horror – Plays with the mind, beliefs and guilt.
Radio Horror Radio was an early platform used to tell horror stories. One of the most successful radio horrors was The Witch’s Tale which ran from 1931 to 1938. The series was hosted by Old Nancy, a Salem witch, who would introduce audiences to a new tale each week. Sometimes the stories told would be based on existing tales such as Frankenstein or The Flying Dutchman. Topics covered in radio shows varied from creating fantasy monsters, ghosts, and looking at the darker side to human behaviour. Playing horror on the radio was popular because it allowed audiences to use their imagination and to picture themselves in the story rather than seeing it on film. Using powerful music, sound effects and having good timing allowed radio horror to be extremely successful.
Television HorrorThe television wasn’t necessarily known as aplatform for playing programmes of the horrorgenre. Due to the success of radio horror andcinema releases, television horror struggled toget air time as many programmes failed tocreate the atmosphere that was need for asuccessful horror on a small screen.Despite this, the horror genre was able toexpand through the television withprogrammes such as The Twilight Zone (1959to 1964) and gothic television series, DarkShadows (1966 to 1971) introducingsupernatural elements to horror such asvampires, werewolves, and aliens.The Vampira Show is an early example of anAmerican television horror which was airedlate at night and took influences from radiohorror by having a host to introduce eachepisode.
History of… HORROR FILMS“A film which unsettling, striking an emotion of fear, disgust and horror from an audience.”
Early Horror FilmsMany of the early horror films were based uponexisting novels and have links within myths andfolklores. For example, 1922film, Nosferatu, was based upon Dracula byBram Stoker and was the first vampire horrorfilm. Important features of the horror genre suchas shadows, and various lighting were oftendifficult to capture in early horror films due to thelimited technology available.Although some of the earlier horror films may notseem as frightening to modern audiences as The Golem (1920)they once were, the codes and conventionsused are still relevant to modern horror films.Furthermore, the role of incidental music inthese early films shows how these silent horrorshave been influential in making music one of themost important conventions of the horror genre. Nosferatu (1922)
Development of Horror Films Horror films of the 1930s’s to 1950’s were often low budget films, and usually comical to try and entice the teenage audience. Even though these films may not be considered as scary today, they were a form of escapism for audiences who were living in difficult times. Films of the 50’s created their horror though science and technology with fictional creatures and monsters being a source of fear for consumers. 1960’s horror films became more controversial as many took risks by displaying more graphic detail and violence. This style of film foreshadowed the rise of slasher films in the 70’s. The theme of the supernatural also gained attention in the 60’s as a series of ghost films were released. These were popular because the black and white picture and little special effects allowed audiences to be scared by their imagination. The late 70’s and 80’s saw slasher films become increasingly popular with films such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday 13th being extremely successful. 1990’s horror films were extremely varied, from psychological horrors to more violent films. Ideas for new horrors in 90’s started to become limited so filmmakers tried update previous classics by remaking films such as Dracula and Frankenstein.
Modern Horror FilmsBy 2005,the horror genre was extremelypopular as audiences viewed films for a senseof entertainment and escapism as modernhorror films today are so varied in terms oftheir plot, characters and themes. The style offilms that have developed throughout thedecades such as slasher films andpsychological horrors, to plots that includevampires, zombies, and the supernatural arestill continuing in today’s modern films. Thedevelopment of technology such as 3Dcameras, CGI, and green screens allow horrorfilms to be more creative and challenging withtheir settings and characters.Many use realistic settings and characters witha darker twist for a sense of horror as therealism of the film is something an audiencescan relate to.
Codes & Conventions Camera Work Extreme Close –Up!Point of View ShotsPoint of view shots are usually used within the horror genre to reflect either thevillain or victims perspective. For an audience this makes them feel like theirplaying the role of that character creating an uncomfortable or uneasy feel.Oblique/Canted AnglesThis is where the camera is titled rather than horizontal. This is popular within thehorror genre because it creates a feeling of being unstable and makes anaudience feel disorientated. This camera angle is often used with the point ofview shot to make it feel like the character as a hand-held camera and thereforemakes the audience feel more involved.Close Ups & Extreme Close UpsBy employing these kinds of shot types, an audience is able to see the emotionsof the victim or villain. Extreme close-ups can make a consumer feeluncomfortable because the image will feel the entire screen, creating an intenseand fearful atmosphere.
Creating Pace EditingThrough fast editing and changing of camera shots can help to build tensionand suspense for a horror film. Typically within horror scene will begin with aslow pace before suddenly building tension and making audiences jumpthrough the fear that has been created.Combination of ShotsTo create a disorientated feel, shots in horror films will sometimes be piecedtogether in an illogical order to create a fast, tense pace.Incidental Music MusicMusic is an important convention within the horror genre as it emphasises atense and eerie atmosphere and reflects how an audience should be feeling.Audience emotions are usually reflected through a change in the musicsdynamics, starting quiet before suddenly getting louder as a sense becomesmore frightening.Diegetic SoundsWhilst creating a sense of verisimilitude, diegetic sounds help to create anatmosphere. Typical sounds include footsteps, screams and creaks.
Mise-En-SceneDark ColoursHorror films will often use dark colours to help create a tense atmosphere. Foran audience dark colours can be associated with the unknown and feeling ofuncertainty therefore a sense of fear is created.Low LightingTo match the dark colours, horror films will typically use low key lighting to addto the suspense as this style of lighting creates a contrast in light and dark andas a result emphasises shadows.CharactersIn modern horror films, typically the role of the villain is played by someonewho appears normal to an audience as this makes it easier for a consumer toimagine themselves in the film and therefore makes it more frightening.SettingSettings in horror films can vary. Stereotypical settings would be isolatedplaces such as haunted houses, forests, and castles however horror film’s oftoday’s society can take place in settings that have a sense of normality. Forexample, using a family home can be just as scary because it is something theaudience can relate to.
Representation of Women in Horror Films Within the horror genre there is a stereotypical image for the female male. She is usually in some kind of distress, young, with blonde hair and is physically attractive. Men are often considered to play the role of the hero in horror films, and females usually play the role of the victim. This is often used to reflect how rights between men and women were previously unequal. It is thought that for a female to survive in a horror film, she must have masculine characteristics as males typically play a more dominant, heroic role. Despite this, from the 1970’s and onwards to today’s modern society, female characters in horror films have been taking a more dominant role, displaying strength and independence.
ANCILLARY TASKSFilm Poster & Magazine Front Cover
FILM POSTERSFilm posters are used as part of the marketingcampaign for a film’s release. They are oftendisplayed on streets, in shops and at cinemas tohelp raise awareness about a new film. Usuallythe same picture or style used on the film’s posterwill be used for other advertisements relating tothe film such as for advertsnewspapers, magazines, DVD’s , and websites.Conventions of a film poster include an image of amain actor or scene as well as the title of thefilm, cast names, release date and may alsoinclude a quote from the film as a slogan to helpmake the poster more memorable.From looking at some existing film posters fromthe horror genre, I have found that typicalconventions used are dark colours, bold texts andthe images can be quite ambiguous to create atense feeling. The style of the poster will help tocreate the tone and emphasise the genre of thefilm.
Magazine Front CoversI have carried out some research into existingmagazine front covers which has allowed me to findout about some film magazine conventions.Firstly, the main image used on the front is usually ofan actor in the role of their character as this will allowan audience to become familiar with the characterthat they will see in the film and on adverts.Sometimes the title of the magazine will adapt to thestyle of the film which is being featured. Forexample, on the Inception front cover, the title, TotalFilm, has been designed to reflect how the filminvolves technology. This is also shown through thecolours used as silver can also be associated withtechnology so this reflects how colours are importantat portraying ideas to an audience.Other conventions used on magazine front coversare a masthead with the date, title, and price. Plus amain coverline, smaller coverlines , an insert and astrapline. These are all things that I can considerwhen I create my film magazine front cover.
InfluencesFrom creating this PowerPoint presentation I now have a clearer understandingof the history of film and how it has developed to produce the films that wehave today. Furthermore, I also now have a more in-depth understanding of thehorror genre, from how it began to how its origins has impacted on modernhorror films. I have researched the conventions of horror through the microelements and have found that things such as dark colours, incidental music andpoint of view shots will all help my trailer conform to the horror genre therefore Iwill consider the conventions when I created my three media products . Thetarget audience of my trailer will be aged between 15 to 30 and aimed at bothgenders. I’d like my trailer to focus on the idea of the supernatural perhapsusing toys or an object passed down generations and holding some kind ofhistory. This idea has been inspired by seeing the toys that feature in theopening of the Woman in Black trailer. I want my trailer to encourage anaudience to use their imagination rather than seeing visually on screen. I havebeen influenced to do this from researching radio horror and horror films of the60’s as allowing an audience to use their imagination was extremely successfuland I feel that today there is a niche in the market for this kind of film asmodern horror is a lot more detailed and graphic than it used to be.For my ancillary tasks of a poster and film magazine front cover I will make surethat they link together in terms of style so that my products become consistentand support the trailer. This will include using similar colours, text styles, andensuring that suitable images are used for the films genre.
Bibliography• DiMello Carl, Hollywood Memories, http://www.hollywoodmoviememories.com/articles• Dirks Tim, 2012, The History of Film, http://www.filmsite.org/• Goldstein Jeffery, Why do People watch Horror? http://accessscience.com/studycenter.aspx?main=18&questionID=5338• Google Sites, What Makes Horror Scary? https://sites.google.com/site/horrorhistory5123/• Harris Mark, A Timeline History of Horror Movies, http://horror.about.com/od/horrorthemelists/ss/horrortimeline_2.htm• Hoffman Matt, 2011, History of Horror on the Television, http://www.mania.com/history-horror-television_article_129603.html• Leslie Mitchell, 2001, The Man Who Stopped Time, http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2001/mayjun/features/muybridge.html• Otrcat.Com, 1999, Horror & Mystery Old Time Radio Shows, http://www.otrcat.com/horror-and-mystery-on-radio.html• Psycho Horror, 2011, Representation of Women in Horror Films, http://screampsychohorror.wordpress.com/representation-of-women-in-horror-films• Rosenberg Jennifer, First Silent Movie – The Great Train Robbery, http://history1900s.about.com/od/1900s/qt/trainrobbery.htm• Rosenberg Jennifer, 2012, 1927 Jazz Singer, http://history1900s.about.com/od/1920s/a/jazzsinger.htm• Serbinski Ted, 1999, Scene 1: Enter Future Filmmaker, http://library.thinkquest.org/29285/history/• Snider Eric, 2011, What’s the big deal? The Jazz Singer, http://www.film.com/movies/whats-the-big-deal-the-jazz-singer-1927• Westcombe Roger, 2003, Film Noir, http://www.bighousefilm.com/noir_intro.htm• Wikipedia, Film Posters, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_posters• Woodford George, 2010, Horror Genre Conventions, http://www.slideshare.net/marine18/horror-genre-conventions