Analysis of horror trailer

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Analysis of horror trailer

  1. 1. Psychological and slasher horrortrailers.Rebecca Paterson
  2. 2. ConventionsSub-genres within the horror genre stimulates the viewers mood and heightensaudience levels of terror, fear, anticipation, dread, anxiety and surprise.Propp’s theory of stock characters suggests that there are limited amount ofcharacters in any story, in which they can be grouped in to eight groups. Conventionalcharacters include a villain who is a psychologically or physically deformed, mysteriouspsychopathic killer or serial killer. The villain is violent and brutal shown through theuse of props such as knives, cleavers, chainsaws and axes.The conventional victim or victims would be youthful, teenager, rebellious, andunaware of the surroundings.There is a hero who is usually female, sensible, senses the villain, sometimes the lastwoman standing if they manage to kill the villain.Location is also important as this can add to heightened levels of emotions due to theisolation of the surroundings, college and campus like settings are regularly used inhorror trailers because of the age of the characters and isolation of the setting othersettings include forests, cabins, wilderness, diners, character’s houses, churches andgraveyards, highways, farms, ghost towns.Camera shots, movements and angles are also important as they can depict or deformimagery in the shot.
  3. 3. Narrative structureThere is a series of establishing shots, where the scene is set and there is anintroduction the characters showing the equilibrium – the norm. There isthen a built up problem or crisis that the characters have to try and resolve,in which we are introduced to the victim/s showing the disturbance of theequilibrium. There are then teaser shots of the action scene that revealsproblematic events but does not show them to their full extent, they areusually distorted and quick paced in order to build tension and createenigma also created through further complication shown through a dramaticend. The trailer ends on a cliff-hanger in order to create enigma so that theaudience is left wanting to see the ending and go and see the film.
  4. 4. Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe establishing long shot depict an old woman singing to a teen age girl thatseems to be upset. The old woman in contrast to the teenage girl is an example ofthe binary opposites used in horror movies, depicting the characters at differentages in such contrast allows us to empathise with different age groups in relation tothe age of target audiences. The teen age questions the woman and implies thatshe doesn’t know where she is, also implying that she is the victim. After this thereis a series of fact paced, distorted teaser shots of couples in an isolated setting andthen a jump cut scene of car crash. Weapons shown in the trailer are guns,chainsaw, knife, bear trap, and brutal violence is captured in the teaser shots. Theuse of low key lighting adds to the disturbing violence. There are heightened levelsof fear through the fact paced editing and lighting. The conceptual sound of thelullaby and the brutal violence creates anticipation, and also creates a false senseof security at the beginning of the trailer. The trailer ends on a cliff-hanger to leavethe audience wanting to go and see the film.
  5. 5. Nightmare on Elm StreetEstablishing shots run all the way through this trailer. The use of locations allreinforce the idea of isolation, as is common in most horror films. This trailershows, firstly a mid-shot depicts an American diner which pans along theinside of the diner to a over shoulder of a man sitting alone on a rainy nightat a table, this isolation is also reinforced by a humming tune and a clockticking. There then is fire which is a foreshadow of danger followed by ateaser shot of violence and a small introduction of the villain through thisteaser shot. There then is the introduction to the 2nd location which is a highschool with more introduction to implied victims, there is the use of weatherin scenes to foreshadow the arrival of the villain who is name “Fredi”. The useof claws is the only weapon that is shown and this is reinforced as theweapon in different shots through out the trailer. The last location that isshown is a street and a street name, reinforcing this sense of isolation. Thereare two series of teaser shots, the first showing victims and the use ofchildren in this scene is disturbing also another common character used inhorror as they are usually associated with innocence which is opposite to thewhat you associate with horror (binary opposites). The second teaser shotsare more violent, there is a sound clip of Fredi’s voice and the use of an “evil”laugh and lullaby at the end to increase enigma and make the audience wantto go and see the film.
  6. 6. Woman in BlackThe first shot is a mid location shot which pans around a child’s room followed by aseries of extreme up close shots of children’s musical toys that the music in thebackground seems to be coming from. There is a sound bridge into the next scene,there is a series of shots from toys to foggy marshland in which there is a horse andcarriage along the road. There is then an introduction to the setting of a lonelydecrepit house/mansion. There are continuous shots of the child’s toys and thecontinuous music in the background. There is track of a dark corridor reinforcing thesense of the isolation. A child’s voice narrates while there is a series of shots of themain characters, children and location. The music pace quickens as the story is toldas the main character gets closer to the house in which the girl describes as “thereare those who believes the whole town is cursed by the house on the marsh is byfar the worse”. More establishing shots of the location marsh and house and then aseries of close up’s of the main character. The weather and low key lightingintensifies and foreshadows the introduction to the villain (ghostly figure). There isthen a shot of writing on the wall in red which is associated with blood, and thentoys. There is then teaser shots of action shots depicting children, fires and themarsh. The water surrounds the house/mansion that also increase isolation andloneliness. There is another introduction to the villain is tease shot. You don’t havea clear image of the villain which increase the enigma and tension.

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