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By George Ring
Setting for a horror film is key. If the setting is good, it can present an
amount of fear among the audience unlike any other, without displaying
anything else. They are usually in an isolated place such as small
communities, dark streets or run down places.
Large cities, forests, countryside or anywhere which shows isolation
among the characters in the film. This presents them as being alone and
amounts to the fear. They are also often places with history, for example,
an asylum, an abandoned house or old hotels. This is key for establishing
the genre among the audience as it allows them to see where the film is
going to take place.
Insidious Evil Dead (2013) - Setting
Throughout horror films, Sound is key in
enhancing shots and ensuring the
audience are feared. The use of non-diegetic
music can create atmosphere,
while having none at all can make the
audience feel isolated.
Using Foley Sounds help exaggerate a
point and build suspense. For example,
they can be foot steps and creaking
floorboards. The everyday sounds allow
the audience to relate, ensuring they
watch the film.
Diegetic sounds can be enhanced to
allow tension to build while fast and loud
non-diegetic can make the audience jump
or feel scared.
One of the most notable use of sound in
horror was during the Psycho shower
scene, it is now thought to be one of the
most stunning and horrifying scene of all
Many props and the iconography depend on
the context of the horror film. Many props the
audience associate with horror films consist
Religious Symbols – crucifixes, bibles etc.
are great for some horror films as they
symbolise the opposite to the devil. These
are used to show a defense from god.
Weaponry – are usually the way of the
characters being killed, they can include;
guns, knifes and blunt objects to show pain.
Masks – to hide the identity of the killer.
Iconography could also include forensics
uniforms, police cars, blood, devils, ghosts
and paranormal activity.
Evil Dead – props where good is
shown in a bad way.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – a
mask is used to hide the identity.
In horror movies, we would expect to find
the costumes of the villain covered up. If
the antagonist is covered in a uniform, it
hides his identity while also gives enigma
codes to the audience. For example, the
Doctor in the Human Centipede, wears a
doctors outfit which gives his occupation.
While the context in the film shows he is
contrasting his usual role.
In the movie Saw, the antagonist ‘Jigsaw’
uses a mask to hide his identity. The mask
is one of the most popular costume used in
the horror genre as it hides their identity.
Unlike them wearing a uniform, the mask
covers up relationship with the audience
and instead one with evil and pain. It is
effective as it leaves the audience to
question who is the main killer in the film.
This is also used in other popular horror
films like, Scream and Texas Chainsaw
Massacre. This method of hiding the killer
with a costume dates back to Psycho
where Norman Bates dresses up as his