Detailed Research

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Detailed Research

  1. 1. DETAILED RESEARCH RHIANNON JENKINS
  2. 2. IDENTIFY THE INSTITUTION FOR EACH OF THESE TRAILERS AND THE INSTITUTIONAL CODES EMPLOYED BY THE TRAILER The Skeleton Key: main producer who also distributed the film was Universal Pictures. This company also distributed The Purge which is a horror/thriller film. However, this company are very large and mostly produce more audience-friendly films. Codes employed by the trailer: equilibrium-disturbance narrative is employed, there is no resolution which draws the audience in. Shutter Island: Paramount Pictures are the main producers for Shutter Island and are a large and well known studios much like Universal Pictures. The codes employed are very thriller oriented and are much more audience friendly than the other two films I am analysing as there is not too much emphasis on horror. Enigma codes are a very prominent part of this trailer as the audience are kept suspended. A Nightmare On Elm Street: the main producer was New Line Cinema who also produced the first series of these films in the 1980’s as well as the current version I am analysing. New Line Cinema was originally an independent film company who produced only horror films before it was acquired by Time Warner, however in the case of this film many of the institutional codes and horror conventions that were shown in the original series of films are still apparent in this one, such as the focus on nightmares which scares the audience.
  3. 3. WHAT ARE THE KEY SELLING POINTS OF EACH TRAILER? The Skeleton Key: mentions that it is from the writer of “the Ring”, from Universal which is an acclaimed producer of films, Kate Hudson who is a well known actress is in the film. The trailer creates a mysterious atmosphere and ends on a cliffhanger which draws the audience in. Shutter Island: on screen text shows that Leonardo DiCaprio appears in the film as well as Martin Scorsese who are both well known in the film industry. The trailer also creates an element of mystery through enigma codes and strange, supernatural type imageries such as a woman which makes the audience want to watch the film to answer their questions. A Nightmare on Elm Street: enigma codes throughout keep the audience interested to find out what the resolution will be. Mysterious imageries such as a room full of snow and a knife covered hand coming out of the bath make the audience question what these have to do with the plotline. On screen text notes the producer who has been successful with other films.
  4. 4. HOW DOES EACH TRAILER ESTABLISH GENRE, MOOD AND EXPECTATION OF THE FILM? The Skeleton Key: This trailer establishes genre by the supernatural-religion based theme that is evident throughout. Images that depict death, graveyards and sacrifice are flashed up onto the screen which are conventional to the horror genre. The mystery and suspense elements such as change in pace of the trailer and the cliffhangers create a thriller standpoint as well. The mood of the trailer can be established by the lighting that is used throughout as it is dark and dingy which creates a tense atmosphere as well as the evil religious imageries which intensify the scare factor from not only a religious, but a somewhat supernatural standpoint. This prepares the audience for a dark film that is sure to be packed with jump scares and intriguing storylines associated with witchcraft.
  5. 5. HOW DOES EACH TRAILER ESTABLISH GENRE, MOOD AND EXPECTATION OF THE FILM? Shutter Island: The trailer for Shutter Island establishes genre by the theme of mystery running throughout which conforms to the thriller genre. The general mood of the trailer is shown through the dark and dimly-lit settings as well as tension building music. This film is set on an island inside a mental asylum which is very different to the other two trailers I am analysing, as the setting is assumed to be very clean and sterile but the idea that the people contained are not sane means that the protagonist is in a potential position of danger which keeps the audience on edge, wondering if anything is going to happen to him. Dialogue from the film is used as a narrative voice at the beginning of the trailer to let the audience have a brief outline of the setting, but still leaving an enigma to be solved. Binary opposites are used as well as juxtaposition for example the sound of a scream with the imagery of a clean, white hospital room.
  6. 6. HOW DOES EACH TRAILER ESTABLISH GENRE, MOOD AND EXPECTATION OF THE FILM? A Nightmare on Elm Street: The trailer begins with an establishing shot of a derelict industrial state and is very dark and grimy, which fits in perfectly with the horror genre. The next shot is of a man being chased into one of the buildings and this along with the background music helps create an atmosphere of danger which foreshadows the dangers the other characters will face in the rest of the film. The trailer also shows the antagonist who is very in-human, and his hands which are covered in knives and charred and melted skin make him seem physically monsterous which further establishes the horror genre. Binary opposites are used to show the huge differences between good and bad, as the protagonists are shown as innocent and young compared to the antagonist who is older and evil. The song sang in a childs nursery-rhyme fashion is scary and highlights the horror genre by again using binary opposites, but also by the content which talks about “freddy” come for them and to “lock your door” which creates a sense of danger.
  7. 7. IDENTIFY WHICH ELEMENTS WORK AND WHICH DO NOT WORK FOR YOU? The Skeleton Key: This trailer depicted imageries much like the cult we would like to portray in our trailer. I thought the music that was used in the background was very effective for creating the right atmosphere so I may consider music like this for my own trailer. On the other hand the setting was primarily in a house which I would not use. The trailer was also a theatrical trailer which I do not plan on creating as I do not think it will reach a wide enough audience, so the narrative of my trailer compared to this one would have to be fairly different. There was a narrative voice at the beginning which I do not plan on using as I don’t think I’d be able to do it effectively enough to sound professional.
  8. 8. IDENTIFY WHICH ELEMENTS WORK AND WHICH DO NOT WORK FOR YOU? Shutter Island: dialogue from the film used as a narrative voice is effective but is again something I am not too keen on using for my own trailer as I don’t think it would be a high enough standard. Fades to black are used which are conventional to the horror genre, but used in this thriller film is effective as it gives the impression there is something more which is something I would like to imply in my own trailer. The music and sound effects combined in the trailer are effective as they build a sense of anticipation. However, if I decide to focus more on the horror aspects in my trailer I will probably use some more dangerous sounding effects, such as metallic or gunshots. I liked the mise en scene of the trailer but don’t think it would be suitable for my own as it is too sterile and clean and focusing as well on the horror genre I would like somewhere more dark and dingy.
  9. 9. IDENTIFY WHICH ELEMENTS WORK AND WHICH DO NOT WORK FOR YOU? A Nightmare on Elm Street: the trailer for this film focused equally on horror conventions as well as thriller, which is very much like the finished product I would like to create as my own trailer. The constant elements of suspense and enigma which is conventional to the thriller genre is used throughout, keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. However, the scare factor comes from the theme of nightmares, the imageries of knives which connotes violence and the fear that is shown on the characters faces which transmits that they are in danger and the audience themselves should be afraid. I thought the pace of the trailer was effective: action at the start, slower in the middle and then faster paced as nearing the end; as well as the metallic sound effects throughout which again connoted danger.
  10. 10. WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE TARGET AUDIENCE FOR THE FILMS? The Skeleton Key: The Skeleton Key is rated at an age 15 because the threat in the film is strong but is not sadistic or sexualised, which is only deemed acceptable for an 18+ audience. Because this film was released through Universal it will have been targeted to reach a large audience, so having it rated at 18 would have wiped out a large amount of viewers. However, some of the witchcraft related themes may have scared children under the age of 15. Shutter Island: Shutter island is rated at an age 15, probably because of its use of strong language and behaviour as well as the issues addressed related to mental health, which may not be deemed suitable for a younger audience as they may not understand or may find it distressing. However, the target audience is probably thought to be older than this anyway because of the plotline which is quite mature. A Nightmare on Elm Street: This film has a rating of 18 because of the theme of horror which not only addresses physical abuse, but abuse of minors which is unsuitable to be seen by people under the age of 18. Some of the more explicit scenes where characters are seen harming themselves or other people are not allowed to be shown to a younger audience as they are more easily influenced.
  11. 11. HOW IS THE AUDIENCE EXPLICITLY TARGETED IN EACH TRAILER? The Skeleton Key: The tag lines explicitly target the audience by using the word “you” to speak directly to them. Themes of witchcraft, supernatural and mystery are made prominent, so viewers that are interested in these are going to pay more attention and watch until the end of the trailer to see what the film is. Shutter Island: The trailer starts with a narrative voice asking “give you a briefing about the institution?” which directly speaks to the audience through first person. Every now and again a shot is used which shows a character looking directly at the camera, as though they are looking through it to the viewer themselves. A Nightmare on Elm Street: Again, the tag line “don’t fall asleep” targets every one because it is inevitable that anyone is going to have to do it and the audience will wonder why.
  12. 12. IS THERE AN IDENTIFIABLE FORMAT ACROSS THESE TRAILERS? DOES THIS APPLY FOR OTHER TRAILERS? IS IT SUCCESSFUL? The films for these trailers all follow Todorov’s narrative structure of: equilibrium, disruption, recognition, attempt to repair, new equilibrium. However, because a trailer only shows part of the film, it also only shows part of the structure. All three of the trailers start at equilibrium and end in disruption in order to create an enigma that must be solved and can only be solved when the viewer watches the whole film. There are parts of the trailer that show recognition and attempt to repair but these are shown before the trailer ends on a cliffhanger, in a non linear order, which still leaves an air of mystery for the audience to resolve.
  13. 13. WHY ARE TRAILERS CONSTRUCTED IN THIS WAY? Trailers are constructed to not show a new equilibrium because it means the audience must invest in the product in order to be rewarded with the resolution. To further this point, they are convinced to invest by becoming connected to the characters or plot through the exposition of the trailer, which usually shows the characters in their best light or shows how important the events in the film are going to be.

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