How far are the messages and values of the films you have studied for
this topic shaped by genre conventions?
Using particular sequences from the films you have studied for this
topic, explore the representation of key characters.
What can be described as distinctively ‘British’ in particular sequences
from the films you have studied for this topic?
How far are the storylines in the films you have studied for this topic
How are narrative devices used to increase the impact of horror or
comedy in the films you have studied for this topic?
How is gender represented in the horror or comedy films you have
studied for this topic?
Post 9/11 – Boyle and his screenwriter drew from
other international crises and disasters for apocalyptic
Allegory for terrorism – depicts zombies as
ravenous, swift threat that cares for only itself and
attacks rabidly and indiscriminately.
The film suggests the response to the threat of the
ravenous other is to protect the nuclear family and
Reaffirm conservative ideology of reinscribing
white, patriarchal, capitalist power.
Could be compared to the reality of the outbreak of
disease. i.e. Aids/Foot and Mouth (a British disease).
Jim is born/awakens into a new world –
abandonment of iconic, bustling city.
Traces famous landmarks which disorients the
Loss of his parents – acceptance of the loss of his
old life and the reality of his new life.
From the opening sequence of the film, viewers
are aware that an infection has decimated the
world and its inhabitants.There are no more
laws, rules, or social conventions. All that
remains is a wild frontier: unpredictable,
inhospitable, and utterly alien.
Britain's depiction of post-apocalypse cinema is
characteristically political due to the Thatcher era
and its history with totalitarian police and anarchic
punk style movements.
The narrative presents the rage virus as victimizing
harmless citizens – ultimately the quest is to restore
calm and create a utopian civilization.
Destruction of civilization.
Refuses Christian models of salvation – faith did not
save the priest and his followers. Emphasizes the
desolate circumstance of the few survivors.
Ignorance of the animal activists – unlike the
traditional zombie film, they do not rise from the
dead but are essentially man made.
Military and authority take liberty on their free
Communication and trust is eliminated.
The widespread carnage has decimated society,
leaving behind no traces of the social contract
necessary to support economic institutions.The
absence of this basic system of meaning
symbolizes the decay of the modern way of life.
When Jim and Selena realise the key to survival is in
continuing the journey within a group they seek each
The formation of such strong bonds alters the structure of
the film by shifting the narrative focus from survival to
cooperation and kinship.
What Frank and Hannah have to offer Jim and Selena is
familial intimacy, they are companions who share more
than a common goal and start to coalesce as a family.
This collective hero does not seek to conquer the scene, to
somehow exert its will over its surroundings, but to
transcend the scene by drawing upon shared communal
How are these key characters
How is gender represented?
ZombiesMajor Henry WestSoldiers
Frank and Hannah
Selena is the primary representation of the
masculine archetype in the film.
From the very beginning, she embodies all of the
characteristics of the classic ego-driven hero.
She is rugged, crass, and completely cynical.
She is given very little context, therefore despite
her apparent reservations she is the one who
decided to save Jim from his first encounter with
the infected and ultimately becomes Jims
Selena embodies the role of Hannah’s guardian,
highlighting her maternal instincts.
Jim undergoes four important transformations throughout
1) In the film’s opening moments, Jim resembles a child;
he is unaware of his surroundings and completely
incapable of defending himself.
2) When Jim enters the diner it appears he desires to gain
some independence, he succeeds by successfully killing
an infected boy – he graduates from helpless boy to self-
3) Upon Frank’s death, Jim assumes the position of father
(protector), a role that he is forced into as his rescuers
assume him to be the collectives leader.
4) Jim ultimately embodies the monstrous zombies to
become the hero and save Selena and Hannah.
Jim attacks the soldiers with rage and abandon, he
embodies the very characteristics which separate
humankind from the infected.
Mythically, this represents Jim’s conversion from
masculine (rational) defender, to feminine (non-
Like the infected, he now represents the devouring
mother, a ravenous and consuming representation
of the unconscious.
The brutality displayed when Jim gouges out the eyes
of a soldier is significant because it represents the
devouring mother’s conquest of the last vestiges of
the masculine archetype.
The assumption is that the WAY a horror film is told is
going to be the very similar across all horror films,
that's what makes it recognisable to the audience.
For the most part these questions want you to:
1. Make known that you are aware of the narrative
features of the horror genre and how they are
used in the films to communicate their stories
2. Discuss how this is done in a similar/typical way
across all films
3. Consider how the films manage to break the
‘genre mould’ and not be typical
Within the horror film genre the main representation of gender tends to
be of women. Many women are portrayed as a form of sexual desire or
envy, most women in horror films tend to be the victims of a male killer.
The reasoning behind murders differs from one villain to the next but
they tend to have a similar theme to them which tends to make the
villains the punishers for the women’s sexual activity.
Throughout history women have been portrayed as a sexual object but
with some of the more recent horrors even the women are becoming
the villains and can be quite violent and twisted.
Many horrors follow the classic style of using women as sexual
objects, this causes the audience to disengage with their human ability
to sympathize with the victim as they see it as a ‘she will get what is
coming to her’.
The woman who has had sex out of wedlock usually getting killed as
punishment.This kind of representation doesn’t just work in the concept
of women but we can also create an unsympathetic felling towards male