Horror Film Forms and Conventions


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Here is an analysis of the various forms and conventions within horror films

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Horror Film Forms and Conventions

  1. 1. FilmForms andConventio
  2. 2. Themes• The themes found in horrors are used to scare, thrill and entertain the audience. Horror films centre around the dark side of life; the strange, forbidden and alarming events. Themes are the common form of horror films; they are something that is Some of the typical themes of horrors include:• Revenge• Haunting• Demons and exorcisms• Gore• Serial Killers• Religious belief• GhostsThemes notably turn into sub genres within horror films. For example: *nextslide*
  3. 3. Gothic Film – this is a type of story that contains elements ofGoth and horror. It may have romance that unfolds within the horrorfilm, but it usually suspenseful. One of the most earliest horror moviescreated was apart of this sub-genre. They include universalhorror films, such as The Phantom of theOpera, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. Modern gothichorrors: Sleepy Hollow, Underworld, The Wolfman, From Hell, DorianGray, Let Me In and The Woman in Black.
  4. 4. • Slasher film - This is a type of horror film usually involving a psychopathic killer stalking, and killing a sequence of victims in a violent manner - often with a cutting tool, e.g. an axe or a knife. Slasher films can also overlap with the crime and thriller genre. Examples of this subgenre include Black Christmas, Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Friday the 13th, Childs Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
  5. 5. • Psychological horror - this subgenre relies on characters fears, guilt, eerie sound effects, beliefs, emotional instability and sometimes, the supernatural. This is used to build tension within the film and to further the plot. Examples of this include The Uninvited, Gothika, The Ring, The Exorcist, Session 9, The Others, The Mothman Prophecies, 1408, The Shining, Stir of Echoes, The Innocents, The Sixth Sense and many others
  6. 6. NARRATIVES• The classic narrative structure of the Horror genre has to have a protagonist character within the film. Horror is based upon conflict and dilemmas the main characters endure.• From the main list of characters, several character types are chosen for a horror film: the heroine/hero, the evil "monster" and the supporting characters. In the Woman In Black film, the protagonist character/hero is Arthur Kipps, and the villain is the woman in black.• Horror films try to connect with the viewer - with the expectation that the viewer will identify with the hero. Some narratives, typically seen in the sub-genre of slasher films, are very common and unoriginal when it comes to the film plot/storyline. For example, the film would revolve around the story of a killer that had a traumatic childhood past or even psychotic medial issues. Thus, ending up killing people at random, or with "reasoning". Within this stereotypical narrative, the characters are usually teenagers, all so happen to be killed off in a sequence, generally leaving one to survive.• The fate of this "hero“ (the one left to survive) tends to be left unknown, in the hands of each individual horror film.
  7. 7. CHARACTERS• The Protagonist: This is usually a female role, they are usually the most morally standing and smartest of the group, they almost always survive in order to pave way for a sequel. An example of this would be seen in the Scream franchise; the main character Sidney• The Sex appeal: This role is often filled by a promiscuous woman, who is often the first to be killed and are the first to expose their body. E.g Paris Hilton in The House of Wax• The Irritating character: This role is often partnered with the “sex appeal” and often the first to go. Due to their behaviour, the viewer is usually happy when they have been killed off.• The unlikely hero: This character is generally the one the audience suspects to be the antagonist due to their actions or appearance within the film• The Antagonist: The “Bad Guy” of the film is usually revealed at the end of the film. They are usually killed off at the end, or in some cases left wounded to make room for a possible sequel.
  8. 8. EXAMPLESThe female protagonist – ‘Scream’ The sex appeal – ‘The House of Wax’ The antagonist – ‘The Human Centipede’
  9. 9. CAMERA WORK• The art of camera work is an important element displayed in horror films. Through this convention, the audience can easily be understood to what the film is trying to say. Weird angles and canted cameras are most common within horror films. Also, they of often use extreme close ups and point of view shots in order to make the audience feel more involved, to build tension or even to express fear.
  10. 10. FOUND-FOOTAGE CAMERA WORKThe use of documentary-like camera work creates a realistic feel for a horrorfilm. This means that the audience will be able to feel more involved with themovie, relating the most unrealistic events appear to be more tangible ineveryday life.
  11. 11. ICONOGRAPHY• The visual styling of horrors is what easily identifies the audience with its genre. For example:• Dark colours used, such as black and red. These key colours connote danger and the most obvious assumption, blood. The repeated use of these colours are usually seen within posters of horror films.• The colour white is often associated with supernatural horror movies. Therefore, the use of colour is a powerful form because it allows the audience to identify what type of message the film is trying to send.• For example, Typical locations (e.g. an abandoned house, a forest, an event that occurs during the night time, dark alleys etc.)• Props are one of the main indicators of the horror genre. When it comes to identifying a certain character or villain, props such as costumes, machetes, knife, chainsaws, rope etc, are used• Lighting can be essential in creating dark shadows and unfamiliar shapes. Low-Key lighting can contribute to this effect.• Common objects: (e.g. supernatural icons, masks, religious symbols etc.)
  12. 12. SETTING• The typical settings for a horror film are usually isolated, abandoned or locations with a hidden past. This creates a build up of tension for the viewer. The characters are usually placed in a setting alone, these are usually set at night time. However the setting for a horror genre is varied and can be set in almost any location at any time of day
  13. 13. EXAMPLES Creepy ForestAn abandoned house Warehouse