Evaluation of horror trailer

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Evaluation of horror trailer

  1. 1. Evaluation of Horror Trailer
  2. 2. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?In our trailer we have used a range of shot types and camera movement in order to conform to the conventions of a real mediaproduct. For example, the first shot is an establishing shot, which slowly pans to the left, showing the audience a point of view shotdown a long street on which the house of our evil criminal is situated. This sets the scene for the audience and makes them querywhat is going on. Like other horror trailers, such as “The Last House on the Left”, we are shown the long slip of road that the familyare travelling on. This also establishes a sense of equilibrium at the start of the trailer. We have used a pan up of the house from alow angle. This makes the audience feel engulfed by the house and over powered as they are made to feel miniscule in comparisonto it, which is a common convention in horror trailers. By establishing our location with these two beginning shots, it is clear thatour trailer uses the conventions of a real media product and uses a stock horror location, which is a town street, in a large Victorianhouse, which is considered to be quite creepy and unsettling when dark/alone.In our third shot we are introduced to one of the characters, a high angle is used in order to focus on the eyes of the alter-ego of thevillain, peering through the blinds to spy on the next door neighbours who have just moved in. The light reflecting on to her facewould usually be seen as a positive thing, almost as if she is innocent, however we later realise in the trailer that she’s the alter-egoof the male villain. The lighting contrasts what lays beneath the surface, pointing out that you can’t judge someone based on howthe media has portrayed it. At this stage, the disequilibrium has been established. Using Vladmir Propp’s theory, where he arguedthat there were characters who typically played 8 roles. In our trailer we have the role of the villain which is possessed by an oldermale, who is mysterious and quite dark with the role he plays. We have linked this in to our trailer by using a variety of techniquessuch as mise-en-scene (by dressing the character in dark clothing, which is masculine and covers up most physical features. Also wehave used a range of camera shots which create mystery and darkness e.g. a close up of the feet of him getting out of the car, whichdoesn’t give a lot of detail away about the character.Claude Levi-Strauss is another popular theorist that could be applied to our trailer, using the idea of binary opposites whichconform to the horror genre. In our film we have used the same idea. E.g. light/dark, young/old, good/evil, women/men,strong/weak, empowered/victim. The reason we have done this is to create a contrasting effect with the situation in the trailerwhich sets out a clear divide between the villain and the victim. By doing this we were able to set out the clear conflict arrangedwithin the trailer to connote the desperation and despair that the next door neighbours feel as they become the victim of aschizophrenic serial killer. Themes that our horror trailer possess would be mental illness, serial killer, alter-egos and stalking ofvictims. This is shown in the trailer by using certain editing techniques between the alter-ego and the villain, such as the blinkingeffect which switches between the two characters, this conveys mental illness and the view that something mysterious ishappening. The serial killer theme is represented by the villain stalking his victims through the woods and even entering the houseto murder one.
  3. 3. In order to create a correlation within the trailer between the alter-ego and the villain, we link the shot of the alter-egopeering through the blinds, looking at the villain. We have used a jump cut with the shots of the car to convey mentalillness and to create the suspicion that something isn’t right. An example of a jump cut being used in a horror trailer is in“The Unborn”, to add more emphasis and a horrific nature of the elderly man crawling up the stairs. By our group usingthe jump cut, it emphasises the villain, and arouses the interest of the audience. This in turn creates enigma about whatis going to happen next. The jump cut editing and shot of the alter-ego create a sequence which seems mindcontrolling, as if she is calling him back home to take care of “business” (i.e. harm the neighbours)Another piece of effective editing that we have used is a flashing transition which switches between shots of the alter-ego and the villain very quickly. This conveys a sense of the character’s mental illness of schizophrenia and the way inwhich he skips backwards and forwards between personalities.A mid-shot was used in our trailer to show a neighbour listening to the scratches that she could hear coming from thevillain’s house next door. We lit the room dimly so it would seem creepy, which enabled us to then capture the shadowon the wall of the villain slowly moving towards the neighbour, which creates the effect that the alter-ego is alwaysshadowing the villain and controls his actions. This links with the mental illness that the villain possesses. The villain is aconventional character of the horror genre. The iconography which has been used so that the audience can identifywith the villain is a bowler hat, which often shadows the face, creating mystery and suspense, as usually people like tosee the whole face of someone, so that they can see if they’re expressing emotions of how they are reacting to asituation. The villain is also dressed in dark clothing which covers up his physical features, creating the sense of enigmaas we want to find out more about this mysterious person. The use of the car by the villain creates a sense of power ashe pulls up outside his house and simply walks in, with his head bowed, and doesn’t say a word, just looks at his victims.By using the iconography and motives of the villain, it creates the audience to speculate and start asking questionsabout the dark and secretive expressions conveyed.The first victim that we witness close-up would be a conventional character of the horror genre as she is a teenager anda female. However, we havn’t used the concept for the male gaze for this victim, but we did for the last girl standing.The reasoning behind this was because we wanted the audience to focus on how dramatic the first girl being murderedwas as it happens so quickly and in a really unexpected place (in her own house) This challenges conventions in otherhorror movies as usually all of the girl are wearing sexualised clothing e.g. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The BeginningWhereas with the last girl standing we have used a teenage girl jogging calmly through the forest which reintroduces asense of equilibrium. She wears tight jogging trouser, a vest and a hoodie, which shows the physical form off, invitingthe male gaze.
  4. 4. The next sequence of shots, are of the second neighbour running through the woods. We filmed this using a long shotand made the camera pan left as she runs past cutting to an over the shoulder high angled shot and then to a close up ofher feet running. We have used these variations of shots in order to convey the fact that the girl is being stalked andwatched by the villain who wants to make her his next victim. We used the ‘shaky camera’ technique which is similar tothe “Blair Witch Project”. The way that The Blair Witch Project is filmed creates verisimilitude and instability, whichforces the audience to feel like the situation is surreal, but also makes them feel queasy as the camera is always handheld throughout the film and trailer. By incorporating the shaky camera technique in to our trailer it impacts theaudience and creates a life like expectation of what horror would feel like if they were there. The impact that we wantedto have on the audience at this stage of the trailer was a surreal feeling and like they were a part of it. This wouldemphasise the audiences reactions. It would not have had the same effect if the camera was still and would be quiteboring to follow.These shots also establish the location. We carefully chose elements of our mise-en-scene, in particular the costumes ,e.g. the girl is wearing jogging gear (hoodie, vest, tight running trousers and trainers) This shows that the girl is joggingthrough the woods. The male gaze has been used in the shots of the final girl to draw attention to her showing that sheis important. It also conforms to typical stock characters of the horror genre e.g. teenage female. The dark forest sets thescene and highlights the surroundings, conveying it as dark, drab, lifeless, isolated, and also something to fear as a younggirl wouldn’t usually go out at night alone in to a forest to jog as it is dangerous. At this point in time of the trailer, theaudience are supposed to feel very insecure and threatened within their own environment. To identify these emotionswith the audience, we used the forest setting which is a very common place where people go everyday, e.g. to walkdogs, take jogs, go for a stroll or even sit down. Because the forest is used for these everyday things, it becomes quiteshocking for the audience as they feel as though they could be stalked or murdered at any time, and puts them offvisiting the woods.Another mid-shot is used in order to show the girl turning around in shock and horror as she has heard a weird noise andit startles her. The sound is an off-screen sound, so it creates enigma and engages the viewer more. A shaky long shothas been used to show that the girl is looking around the woods quite quickly as she has panicked about what has justhappened. By using this shot it helps to emphasise her emotions and convey the situation from her own perspective.
  5. 5. After it cuts from that shot, we used a mid-shot again so that we could show the girl slowly turning aroundapprehensively, which slowly pans right to reveal that the villain is right behind her waiting. This correlates with a shotpreviously featured within the trailer, the villain was behind the other neighbour and now it has happened again, whichmakes this a serial attack and therefore conforms to the type of villain in many horror films. In this shot the girl looksvery pale and cold, which enhances the situation between her and her fate (death)A high angle is used in the next shot which is shaky. It tracks the victim and the villain as she is being dragged throughthe forest violently. The shot duration is a longer, which allows the viewer to focus on her body movement andemphasises her sheer desperation to escape the situation that she’s in. A closer high angled shot is used to enhance thefear, anger and hysteria of the victim. In these two shots we can tell that the villain is strong as he doesn’t struggle a lotwhen she is flailing around and trying to escape, this shows strength of the villains character and again highlights thebinary opposites in our trailer. The editing in these few shots gets a lot faster to make the situation feel a lot tenser.These create enigma as the audience aren’t 100% sure about what will happen to the victim.Text then comes up after this shot to insinuate that it is the end. It reads “The Girl Next Door”, which is the title of ourhorror film (trailer) This flashes up in a red font. The letters “e”, “I” and “o” blink on and off which gives off a hint ofinsanity. The final shot is a low angle, where a slow pan up from the bottom of the alter-ego has been used. The flashingeffect that has been used on the alter-ego was a flashlight app downloaded on the iPhone which flickered off and onrepeatedly. This interacts with the audience and creates a stomach churning effect amongst them it might not havebeen very predictable that there was going to be another shot, especially not of the alter-ego as she only plays littleparts within the trailer. The reason that only smaller parts are played is because she is the alter-ego of theschizophrenic villain and controls his mentality, and not his body. As the villain has schizophrenia, it creates a sense ofloss contact of emotion, hallucinations and violent behaviour, which is emphasised in this trailer as he is beingcontrolled to kill innocent victims by his alter-ego. The flash off and on of the alter-ego also plays on the hallucinationside of the villain as that is a symptom in which he occupies.
  6. 6. Text then comes up after this shot to insinuate that it is the end. It reads “The Girl Next Door”, which is the title of ourhorror film (trailer) This flashes up in a red font. The letters “e”, “I” and “o” blink on and off which gives off a hint ofinsanity. We are then lead to the final shot of a low angle slowly panning up of the villain’s alter-ego, where a flashingeffect is used. This interacts with the audience and creates a hair-raising effect amongst them it might not have been verypredictable that there was going to be another shot, especially not of the alter-ego as she only plays little parts within thetrailer. The reason that the alter-ego is only in some shots is because we want her role to be enigmatic, making theaudience ask questions about what she is doing, why she is wearing the same clothes and making constant links betweenher and the villain whom she is controlling as she is his second personality as he has schizophrenia.To open our trailer we used a royalty free piece of music called “Ice Demon”, it’s mysterious and unnerving tonesconnote an eerie mood as it leaves a window open for the audience to make assumptions and wonder what will happen.This pulls the audience in and makes them want to keep watching to see what else happens in the trailer. As well as non-diegetic sound we have used diegetic sound such as foot steps, car door closing, picking up boxes and the engine of a carrunning. These help to create a realistic sensation as these are sounds we hear everyday. Because of basic sound effectsused, the audience may start to associate these with possible things that could happen to them in everyday life involvinghorrific attacks. An important diegetic sound that we have used is scratching of the walls which then makes a connectionto the shot of the girl next door (the shot afterwards) As the girl hears the noise she slowly creeps forward to listen to thewall. We then hear the villain creeping up behind her as he viciously covers her mouth whilst she screams. These soundscreate a tense atmosphere for the audience because the situation is frightening, because you may never know who willsneak up behind you next. The diegetic sound of the scream then bridges to the next shot which carries the non-diegeticsound of a sharp noise as the next music plays. The music sounds like rusty gates slowly being opened and is quite a slowpaced piece of music in general. Whilst the sound plays, we hear diegetic sound of foot steps running as the girl jogsthrough the dry leaves. As the girl hears a weird noise she turns around and breathes heavily. The heavy breathingconveys the panic and anxiety that the girl currently faces as she worries about what she has just heard whilst she isjogging alone through the woods. The girl lets out a scream as she is being pulled through the woods by the villain whichhas a true sense of fear entrenched in the sound. This shows pure gut feeling of the victim as she doesn’t know what todo but scream, the villain obviously won’t let her get off scott free. At the end of the trailer, a deep, stomach churningsound is established as the alter-ego is in the closet with a light flashing off and on. This is supposed to shock theaudience as it is after the title of the film and they don’t expect it. The sound creates a jumpy atmosphere.
  7. 7. Another theorist that we could apply to our horror film trailer would be Roland Barthes as there is clearly an enigma codecreated within our trailer. The way that we incorporate the enigma code is by the shot types, editing and sound. Theenigma code includes three things: snares, vagueness and jammings. Within our horror trailer we have constantly usedsnares to avoid the truth behind what we have done. How this is done is by hinting that the girl has a lot to do with thevillain by showing smaller parts of her in the trailer such as her looking through the blinds, the blink scene between her andthe villain and the shot at the end where there is flashing off and on. By using the snare technique we have consistentlycreated an enigma effect. Vagueness is used in the trailer to further create enigma by leaving the audience with incompleteanswers such as why there’s such a focus on the girl running through the woods, and what will the villain do to her after hehas dragged her off. It leaves many remaining questions for the audience. Finally, jammings are present in the trailer whichacknowledge that there is no answer to the problem. E.g. the villain will keep killing until/if he is stopped because he’s doneit to the neighbours which have just moved next door who were innocent.The final theorist that could be applied to our trailer is Tzvetan Todorov. There is an equilibrium, disequilibrium, and thenan attempt to restore the equilibrium of forces and surroundings being in balance and back to a more normal state. Thepoint of equilibrium in our trailer is at the beginning with the establishing shots which show a calm environment and thereisn’t a lot going on. The moment of disequilibrium forms when the alter-ego of the villain is looking out through the blindsand awaits for her villains return as she is controlling him. Because of the disequilibrium being created, it means there is alot of opportunity for many things to take place. Our trailer doesn’t have a restoration of equilibrium as we wanted ourtrailer to be enigmatic, which persuades the audience to come see the full film
  8. 8. How did you use media technologies in the construction research, planning and evaluation stages?We used a range of media technology in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages of our horror trailer.In class we practised our filming skills by making a small clip about an attack which had happened and we were reporting itlike a news story. We used a digital camera, tripod and a USB in order to help us enhance our filming skills. We used a rangeof different shot types and movement so we could understand more about the different styles of shooting that we couldproduce and use. After we had finished shooting we plugged our digital camera in using the USB and dragged our videoclips on to the desktop. We were then introduced to the programme Xilisoft which allowed us to convert all of our videos into a DV format so we could then edit it on Final Cut Express. In Final Cut, we viewed our clips and then cut them down asthere was a lot of unnecessary footage, so that we could then make them in to one clip at the end. By experiencing Xilisoftand Final Cut for the first time using the test footage that we made in class, we could enhance our skills and prepareourselves for what filming and editing our horror film trailer would be like.To research films before we started constructing our horror trailers we watched various different horror trailers onYouTube and watched DVD’s. We then made notes on the trailers and DVDs so that we got a good picture of the symboliccodes and technical codes of the horror genre so we could apply the codes to our own trailer, front cover and poster. Byusing Microsoft Powerpoint we could write up our notes on many different slides. After having produced the research andwriting it up on to slides, we could then use the website Slideshare in order to host our presentations and embed the codein to our blogs on Blogspot.To plan our horror trailer we used Microsoft Word to type up thoughts and ideas, times we would meet up, and film log.Which was a good way to keep our notes as it meant that they would all be in one place on the computer instead of onloads of different bits of paper.In the construction of our trailer we used a royalty free music website so that we could download the horror genre musicand merge it with our trailer. By using a royalty free music site it meant that we didn’t conflict with any copyright laws. Thewebsite we used was www.http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/ which has a range of music genres that we couldchoose from.
  9. 9. What have Iyou learned from yourout to teenagers aged between 16-19 to findIn the pre-production stages produced a questionnaire that was handed audience feedback?out what they would favour in a horror movie. Some of the questions that I asked were to do with what type of genrethey would most like to see, the setting they would prefer and what types of characters. From the respondents answers Igathered that majority of them would prefer a psychological horror film as they were unfamiliar with this genre type andwould enjoy watching a movie about it. The setting that my audience wanted to feature in the film was in an isolatedwoods and large house. This would then intensify their viewing experience and make them feel more frightened as itwould put the characters in a real life type of situation that could happen. The intended audience responded that theywould prefer to have young people feature in the film/trailer because it would feel more realistic for them as it creates asense of realism as they would be of the same age. The questionnaires were very helpful for our group as we coulddevelop an understanding of what the audience wanted and would enjoy. It also helped us to structure our traileraround the respondents thoughts and ideas and incorporate them as our own to ensure that we made a successfultrailer that our audience would go and see if it were to be released.Whilst producing our trailer, we had sessions of class feedback during lesson time, which meant that we could all watchevery groups trailer and feedback on how successful each were and also tell them what they could improve. For ourtrailer, groups said that we had a good range of shot types, however they didn’t quite understand our narrative thread.They gave us tips such as we could try more editing techniques to make it flow a lot more smoothly. Our group took thisidea on board and then added fade in/ fade out effects so that each slot fitted better and created a smooth flow of thestory line. Another point that the audience made was that we didn’t see enough of the villain or the alter-ego that wassupposed to be in our trailer. So we went away and filmed some more shots featuring both of these characters in variouslocations and doing different things. We also got a shot of the victim being dragged through the woods screaming as shewas pulled along by the villain, which made the narrative thread even more clear as we could definitely tell that he wasthe villain this time around. In the second session it became apparent that our audience would enjoy the trailer more ifit had sound. So we downloaded sound tracks from a royalty free music website from the horror genre section. Wescouted few many different tracks and found two that were suitable and fitted our horror sub genre of psychological.We then placed the music where it would fit most with the right type of shots and emphasise the horror that would befeared within our audience. Overall, our respondent feedback was very helpful, in that we could cater for our intendedaudience and understand what they wanted most from a horror trailer, instead of doing no research, which would haveresulted in our group forming our own opinion of what the audience would have wanted, which could have been toogeneralised and not enjoyable for everyone else. We needed to make sure we could make a large group of people
  10. 10. What have Iyou learned from yourout to teenagers aged between 16-19 to findIn the pre-production stages produced a questionnaire that was handed audience feedback?out what they would favour in a horror movie. Some of the questions that I asked were to do with what type of genrethey would most like to see, the setting they would prefer and what types of characters. From the respondents answers Igathered that majority of them would prefer a psychological horror film as they were unfamiliar with this genre type andwould enjoy watching a movie about it. The setting that my audience wanted to feature in the film was in an isolatedwoods and large house. This would then intensify their viewing experience and make them feel more frightened as itwould put the characters in a real life type of situation that could happen. The intended audience responded that theywould prefer to have young people feature in the film/trailer because it would feel more realistic for them as it creates asense of realism as they would be of the same age. The questionnaires were very helpful for our group as we coulddevelop an understanding of what the audience wanted and would enjoy. It also helped us to structure our traileraround the respondents thoughts and ideas and incorporate them as our own to ensure that we made a successfultrailer that our audience would go and see if it were to be released.Whilst producing our trailer, we had sessions of class feedback during lesson time, which meant that we could all watchevery groups trailer and feedback on how successful each were and also tell them what they could improve. For ourtrailer, groups said that we had a good range of shot types, however they didn’t quite understand our narrative thread.They gave us tips such as we could try more editing techniques to make it flow a lot more smoothly. Our group took thisidea on board and then added fade in/ fade out effects so that each slot fitted better and created a smooth flow of thestory line. Another point that the audience made was that we didn’t see enough of the villain or the alter-ego that wassupposed to be in our trailer. So we went away and filmed some more shots featuring both of these characters in variouslocations and doing different things. We also got a shot of the victim being dragged through the woods screaming as shewas pulled along by the villain, which made the narrative thread even more clear as we could definitely tell that he wasthe villain this time around. In the second session it became apparent that our audience would enjoy the trailer more ifit had sound. So we downloaded sound tracks from a royalty free music website from the horror genre section. Wescouted few many different tracks and found two that were suitable and fitted our horror sub genre of psychological.We then placed the music where it would fit most with the right type of shots and emphasise the horror that would befeared within our audience. Overall, our respondent feedback was very helpful, in that we could cater for our intendedaudience and understand what they wanted most from a horror trailer, instead of doing no research, which would haveresulted in our group forming our own opinion of what the audience would have wanted, which could have been toogeneralised and not enjoyable for everyone else. We needed to make sure we could make a large group of people

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