Applying and identifyingthe micro-elements in Horror Movie Plots Rebecca Paterson
The Human centipedeThe Human Centipede has several sub-genres with in the horror genre including, sci-fi, and body parts. They frequently useconventions such as women, psychopaths, isolated locations, weapons and violence, these can be found in ‘The Humancentipede’.Within this film, there are certain iconography that are associated with it, such as the doctors white coat which emphasisesthe way he loves to play the role as creator and dress the part, it looks quite military as well so this also relates to his powerover his patients. There are also bandages and the way in which his the victims are forced to crawl on their hands andknees, which reflect the title of the film, and the movement of a centipede. The iconic locations of the medical facilitieswhich are depicted, the laboratory, and hospital where he holds and experiments to victims.There is also iconic reference to the time of the Nazis, the experiments performed when they were in power, from thesetting of Germany, name of the doctor, Dr Heiter. The isolated medical facilities, hospitals and laboratory is used, which isaerie and has conations of blood, death, loneliness. Other isolated setting include his house, the pool that is only bigenough for one which gives a sense of loneliness and isolation.The character in this film are also stereotypical of certain horror genre films, tourists are often used in horror films becauseof they are unfamiliar of the setting, taking a character out of their home setting and putting them in a foreign locationgives them a sense of innocence and vulnerability about them, this is in addition too two of the characters being female.Also the way in which there is a male and 2 females, the male being the protector and women being venerable and helplessis also stereotypical, the way in which the male character is put at the front of the ‘Human centipede’ means that he isdominant and also give the male characters voices where as the woman do not because they are sown together from‘mouth to anus’. Also stereotypically is the ‘mad’ Doctor and the last girl standing.We can apply sever theories such as Noell Carol’s theory that films are left open ended to create enigma so that filmproducers can make sequels which we will watch because we have made a personal connection with the final girl. LeviStrauss theory of binary opposites can be used the idea of good vs. evil; death vs. life; sane vs. insane; old vs. young andalso the idea of surgically attached ‘mouth to anus’. Laura Mulveys feminist theory of the male gaze can be applied as thereare two young attractive women who brake down and happen to stumble upon the mad doctors house in the middle of thenight, wet and cold and in need of help. through Bathes enigma code even though the movie is grusome and difficult towatch, we have this engma that is created through the disequilibrium of victims being captured and then slowly dying andhow are they going to ecape, will they live, this is also helped by the fact that the victims cant physically get up and runaway.
Nightmare on Elm StreetNightmare on elm street has several sub-genres with the horror genre including, slasher, psychological, andexploitation horror. They frequently use conventions such as teenagers, serial killers, isolated locations,weapons and violence, these can be found in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’.Within this film, there are certain iconography that are associated with it, the villains hat, jumper, hismutated face, his laugh, certain actions, claws and his nursery rhyme. As well as these, low key lighting, thatcreates shadows which distort the scenes, is used through out the film to add to the tension and suspensethat is created by his iconography, and also builds up enigma throughout the film.Isolated locations were also depicted to increase the audiences levels of fear and suspense, such as, thesetting of the Midwestern town, a boiler room, and a party, also the way in which the villain uses dream, isisolated because they are personal.Characters within the film are also stereotypical, the use of teenagers are effective because they can bedepicted in two ways, firstly innocence and naivety which the audience can empathise for and secondly, theycan be depicted with a rebellious lifestyle e.g. sex, drugs, alcohol.Many narrative structures can be used to explain the film, firstly, Levi Strauss theory of binary opposites canbe used the idea of good vs. evil; dreams vs. nightmares; light vs. dark; heaven vs. hell. Secondly throughBathes enigma code can be applied to the beginning of ‘nightmare on Elm Street’ through the unknown manin the boiler room creating a glove with razor-sharp knives imbedded in his fingers. Thirdly through LauraMulveys feminist theory of the male gaze, for example, why does the female character need to be depictedin her night dress? Does this add anything to the scene? Or is it purely there to please male audiences? AlsoClovers final girl theory, in this example, all of Nancy’s friends die and she is left to deal with the villain. LastlyNoell Carol says that films are left open ended to create enigma so that film producers can make sequelswhich we will watch because we have made a personal connection with the final girl.
The Shining‘The Shining’ has several sub-genres with in the horror genre including, supernatural and psychological horror. Theyfrequently use conventions such as, psychopaths, isolated locations, weapons and violence, these can be found in ‘TheShining ’.Within this film, there are certain iconography that are associated with it, firstly the weather (pathetic fallacy) which forcesthem to stay in the hotel, even if the characters wanted to leave they couldn’t. The hotel and room 237, which is the maincause of the problems and there is no conations to this number which make it iconic and is easily memorable andreferenced to the film, unlike 666 which can be referenced to numerous films, it gives the film individuality. The carpet usedin the film and is depicted on one of the posters is iconic to hotels in general, it also sets the scene for the audience as it issomething that they can relate to.The characters in this film are a family, husband, wife and son, there is also ghosts and a donor. The idea of having a familyin the film is effective in horror because of the conations like, unity, happiness, love this is opposite to the connotationslinked with horror film like, destructiveness, evil, sadness, death. Having them juxtaposed create enigma and allows theaudience to empathise with the family. The innocence of the child also adds to this feeling. Other characters like the ghostsand donor are stereotypical of this genre, typically the donor will be killed in order to save someone else.The locations in this film is an isolated hotel, they get trapped in by the snow fall. Not only is the hotel in the middle of nowhere, but internally the hotel with its long dark corridors also give this isolated feeling to the film. The connotations tohotels are meant to be a home to home, friendly, warm, safe place, and this is not the impression that you get from thehotels exterior or interior, it acts as a foreshadow of events and feeling later on in the film. All of this immediately tells theaudience of the characters isolation and lack of people at this hotel, this especially is emphasised once the manager StuartUllman leaves.You can apply many theories to this film. Levi Strausss theory of binary opposites like, innocence vs. evil; young vs. old;humans vs. supernatural; good vs. Evil. You could say the main cause of evil in this film is the hotel, but it could also be jack,or room 237, its unclear and this creates enigma, which leads the theory of enigma from Barthes. Vladimir Propp’s theory ofcharacter types can also be applied to this film, such as the victim, villain, donor, innocent child. Lastly you can applyTodorov’s theory of equilibrium which is at the beginning of the film where it depicts the balanced ‘normal life’, this thenleads to an event or disturbance which cause a shift in balances (disequilibrium), the characters then must find the path toresolution and reform the balances again which forms the new equilibrium. In this film the equilibrium is showed at thebeginning and the disruption is the hotel, the resolution is the family escaping and jack dying in the maze and his funeral