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Thriller Planning: Character characteristics and costume

Thriller planning - what each character is going to wear throughout the thriller, why they are going to wear it, and the effects it will have upon our opening sequence.

Thriller Planning: Character characteristics and costume

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Thriller Planning:
Characters
Characteristics and costume of the characters
1. MURDERER
CHARACTERISTICS
We have decided that the murderer should definitely be male. This is partly because our audience research
surveys indicated that people prefer a male villain, but mainly because males are much more conventional
villains than females, evident in American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, The Dark Knight and The Dark
Knight Rises, just to name a few. Males are greater villains due to the stereotypical representation of them
being stronger and more violent, and therefore more able to harm people. Due to this, the representation of
the victim being vulnerable is emphasized, as they are more prone to being hurt in the presence of the male.
In our thriller, this is the case, as the victim and the murderer will be in the same space.
We also discussed that we want the murderer to have
a big build and be very tall. This will enable us to exaggerate the
power that the murderer has within the scene, as size is often
representational of power. For example, Hannibal in Silence of
the Lambs has a much bigger build than his victims, making him
appear more powerful and capable of doing damage to them.
We discussed the possibility of showing the murderer
dance slightly to the diegetic music which will be playing after
he kills his victim. It is a small personality trait, representing how
gleeful and satisfied the victim is after killing his victim, while effectively
representing him as the psychotic character he has been
throughout the scene so far. This is much the same as a scene
in American Psycho where the Patrick Bateman slightly dances
before killing one of his victims, showing his joy at this possibility
and the thrill he gets from such an act. We might try to recreate such
an emotion with the dancing.
As well as this, we want the murderer to be very slow
moving, showing how little effort they have to put in to be able to
kill their victims. We will then contrast this with frantic movements of
the victim, emphasizing the ease at which they can kill them,
representing the victim as incredibly vulnerable; essentially helpless.
COSTUME

Conceptual costume:

Our initial ideas for our character’s costume is a black trench coat, black trousers, black
shoes and black gloves. We don’t need any items for the head of the murderer, such as a
hat or glasses, as we don’t intend to show their face throughout the opening sequence to
keep their identity hidden, representing them as an enigmatic character.
We have decided upon using all black clothing to represent their enigmatic
nature of the murderer, indicating to the audience that they are unknown within society and
therefore there is little chance of them being found. Due to this, they are capable of
murdering anyone within the general public, representing them as threatening and
establishing the theme of chaos – anyone could be killed next. They would also slightly fade
into the dimly-lit room in which the sequence will be shot, causing them to become a part of
the environment. This would further the representation of violence and danger that is
evident in the murderer, as it is as though they merge with the murderous environment,
embodying the very threat that they pose.
More specifically, the leather gloves present a sense of professionalism as the
murderer understands that they need to protect their identity from those that finds the body
of the victim, enabling them to avoid getting caught. Due to this, the audience understand that
there is a very minimal chance of the victim getting caught, meaning they are likely to keep
killing. This represents the murderer as being very powerful, as they have the ability to kill without
getting caught, meaning everyone is weak compared to them.
We are trying to provide the murderer with a costume that represents them as being
within the upper class and consequently wealth. This is done through the use of black, which is
widely regarded of a classy colour – suits, top hats and leather shoes – in conjunction with the use
of clothing which carries some class – leather shoes, leather gloves and black trousers. Due to
this, the murderer is seen to have enough money to continue his murdering spree – he can use
bribes to cover his tracks, and buy whatever he needs to continue. He is therefore represented as
a very capable murderer, who has the full potential to kill anyone, furthering the dangerous,
threatening and powerful representation.
We discussed possibly having the murderer wear a red shirt underneath the trench
coat which will only be partly visible. The red of this shirt could connote violence and death,
foreshadowing the death of the murderer. It also connotes passion and love, which would relate to the
murderer’s love for murder and his passion for killing people, furthering the psychotic representation
within the narrative.
2. VICTIM
CHARACTERISTICS:
The most prominent feature of the victim will be their height and build. We plan to find someone who is very small and
has a small build, contrasting to that of the murderer. This exaggerates the vulnerability of the victim, making the
power imbalance between the two characters more apparent. We also plan for them to have a quivering voice,
showing their shock and fear at being in the situation they are in – alone with a bizarre figure in a derelict warehouse
who they have never seen before. This should also add to the vulnerable representation, as they are clearly not in the
frame of mind to make a logical escape.
We also discussed that it would make sense for the victim to be a female. Our audience research surveys
showed a clear majority of people preferred female victims compared to male victims, conventional of many thriller
movies – parts of American Psycho, for example. Females are stereotypically represented as the weaker sex due to
the general assumption that they are weaker, less physically able and therefore less likely to be able to make an
escape, furthering the theme of entrapment within the sequence as the victim is clearly not going to be able to escape
– especially not in the presence of the dominant male character.
We may also make the victim’s hair very scruffy and untidy
throughout the sequence, as well as streaking mascara below their eyes, much
like the example from the psychological thriller movie Orphan. This would
represent the victim as being traumatised by some kind of events that have lead
to them being this upset. By having the victim appear like this from the beginning
of the sequence during the chase section, we can imply that there has been some
past trauma that has lead up to this situation, allowing the following events to have
some context an meaning – it isn’t just a random sequence of events, it has some
reason to be happening.
Once the victim comes to, we want them to move very frantically,
contrasting that of the murderer. This would represent their panic during this time,
and make it clear to the audience that they are trying very hard to escape from the
murderer. Due to this, when they are inevitably killed, the murderer is represented as a lot more powerful, as they put
relatively little effort into killing this victim who was trying their hardest to escape their grasp. This also furthers the
conventional thriller theme of entrapment, because no matter how much the victim tries to escape, they still can’t. As
well as this, the audience will be more impacted by the murder of the victim if they and faster moving. They might think
that, because they are putting more effort in than the murderer, they would have a chance of escaping this situation.
This red herring would provide a narrative to the victim which the audience can attach themselves to, making the
death of the victim more thrilling as they wouldn’t expect it and would be fond of that character.

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Thriller Planning: Character characteristics and costume

  • 3. CHARACTERISTICS We have decided that the murderer should definitely be male. This is partly because our audience research surveys indicated that people prefer a male villain, but mainly because males are much more conventional villains than females, evident in American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, just to name a few. Males are greater villains due to the stereotypical representation of them being stronger and more violent, and therefore more able to harm people. Due to this, the representation of the victim being vulnerable is emphasized, as they are more prone to being hurt in the presence of the male. In our thriller, this is the case, as the victim and the murderer will be in the same space. We also discussed that we want the murderer to have a big build and be very tall. This will enable us to exaggerate the power that the murderer has within the scene, as size is often representational of power. For example, Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs has a much bigger build than his victims, making him appear more powerful and capable of doing damage to them. We discussed the possibility of showing the murderer dance slightly to the diegetic music which will be playing after he kills his victim. It is a small personality trait, representing how gleeful and satisfied the victim is after killing his victim, while effectively representing him as the psychotic character he has been throughout the scene so far. This is much the same as a scene in American Psycho where the Patrick Bateman slightly dances before killing one of his victims, showing his joy at this possibility and the thrill he gets from such an act. We might try to recreate such an emotion with the dancing. As well as this, we want the murderer to be very slow moving, showing how little effort they have to put in to be able to kill their victims. We will then contrast this with frantic movements of the victim, emphasizing the ease at which they can kill them, representing the victim as incredibly vulnerable; essentially helpless.
  • 4. COSTUME Conceptual costume: Our initial ideas for our character’s costume is a black trench coat, black trousers, black shoes and black gloves. We don’t need any items for the head of the murderer, such as a hat or glasses, as we don’t intend to show their face throughout the opening sequence to keep their identity hidden, representing them as an enigmatic character. We have decided upon using all black clothing to represent their enigmatic nature of the murderer, indicating to the audience that they are unknown within society and therefore there is little chance of them being found. Due to this, they are capable of murdering anyone within the general public, representing them as threatening and establishing the theme of chaos – anyone could be killed next. They would also slightly fade into the dimly-lit room in which the sequence will be shot, causing them to become a part of the environment. This would further the representation of violence and danger that is evident in the murderer, as it is as though they merge with the murderous environment, embodying the very threat that they pose. More specifically, the leather gloves present a sense of professionalism as the murderer understands that they need to protect their identity from those that finds the body of the victim, enabling them to avoid getting caught. Due to this, the audience understand that there is a very minimal chance of the victim getting caught, meaning they are likely to keep killing. This represents the murderer as being very powerful, as they have the ability to kill without getting caught, meaning everyone is weak compared to them. We are trying to provide the murderer with a costume that represents them as being within the upper class and consequently wealth. This is done through the use of black, which is widely regarded of a classy colour – suits, top hats and leather shoes – in conjunction with the use of clothing which carries some class – leather shoes, leather gloves and black trousers. Due to this, the murderer is seen to have enough money to continue his murdering spree – he can use bribes to cover his tracks, and buy whatever he needs to continue. He is therefore represented as a very capable murderer, who has the full potential to kill anyone, furthering the dangerous, threatening and powerful representation. We discussed possibly having the murderer wear a red shirt underneath the trench coat which will only be partly visible. The red of this shirt could connote violence and death, foreshadowing the death of the murderer. It also connotes passion and love, which would relate to the murderer’s love for murder and his passion for killing people, furthering the psychotic representation within the narrative.
  • 6. CHARACTERISTICS: The most prominent feature of the victim will be their height and build. We plan to find someone who is very small and has a small build, contrasting to that of the murderer. This exaggerates the vulnerability of the victim, making the power imbalance between the two characters more apparent. We also plan for them to have a quivering voice, showing their shock and fear at being in the situation they are in – alone with a bizarre figure in a derelict warehouse who they have never seen before. This should also add to the vulnerable representation, as they are clearly not in the frame of mind to make a logical escape. We also discussed that it would make sense for the victim to be a female. Our audience research surveys showed a clear majority of people preferred female victims compared to male victims, conventional of many thriller movies – parts of American Psycho, for example. Females are stereotypically represented as the weaker sex due to the general assumption that they are weaker, less physically able and therefore less likely to be able to make an escape, furthering the theme of entrapment within the sequence as the victim is clearly not going to be able to escape – especially not in the presence of the dominant male character. We may also make the victim’s hair very scruffy and untidy throughout the sequence, as well as streaking mascara below their eyes, much like the example from the psychological thriller movie Orphan. This would represent the victim as being traumatised by some kind of events that have lead to them being this upset. By having the victim appear like this from the beginning of the sequence during the chase section, we can imply that there has been some past trauma that has lead up to this situation, allowing the following events to have some context an meaning – it isn’t just a random sequence of events, it has some reason to be happening. Once the victim comes to, we want them to move very frantically, contrasting that of the murderer. This would represent their panic during this time, and make it clear to the audience that they are trying very hard to escape from the murderer. Due to this, when they are inevitably killed, the murderer is represented as a lot more powerful, as they put relatively little effort into killing this victim who was trying their hardest to escape their grasp. This also furthers the conventional thriller theme of entrapment, because no matter how much the victim tries to escape, they still can’t. As well as this, the audience will be more impacted by the murder of the victim if they and faster moving. They might think that, because they are putting more effort in than the murderer, they would have a chance of escaping this situation. This red herring would provide a narrative to the victim which the audience can attach themselves to, making the death of the victim more thrilling as they wouldn’t expect it and would be fond of that character.
  • 7. COSTUME: Conceptual costume: We plan for the victims costume to be a stark contrast to that of the murderer. We are going to dress the victim in light coloured clothing, predominantly in white. The colour white connotes innocents and purity, therefore representing the victim as such. Due to this, the eventual death of the victim will impact the audience more, as they would have been willing her to survive – her purity implies that she hadn’t done anything to deserve being in this position. This makes her death consequently more thrilling, as the audience will be attached to her character. In the opening section of our sequence, however, we could show mud splashing up onto the victim’s clothes as they run away from the murderer, making the clothes dirty. This would be representational of the murderer’s effect on the lives of his victims – they ruin the perfect lives of their victims, represented by the white shirt, and become an unwanted stain which they cannot remove, represented by the mud on the shirt. We discussed that it would be effective for the victim’s clothing to be ripped slightly. Much for the same reason as having mascara running down the victim’s face, this would connote suffering and trauma. Due to this, the audience can assume that the victim has gone through some prior traumatic experience that has lead them to be in the situation they are currently in, providing a back story to the narrative and making the death of the victim more meaningful – they have an actual character narrative which the audience can engage with, as opposed to simply introducing a character who then dies. It becomes more thrilling, making it clear that the sequence is a thriller. The blue denim jeans and white plimsolls will purposely represent the victim as a younger character due to the current fashion trends of younger females. This younger age will therefore represent the victim as being even more vulnerable to the murderer, due to the association of dependency with youth. Additionally, the clothes she wears are fairly ordinary; something that would be seen on any member of the public. This indicates that no one is safe from the murderer. The contrasts between the victim and the murderer are the most important feature of the sequence to convey ideas within the narrative. They wear contrasting coloured clothing, move in contrasting ways, contrast in size and build; they are polar opposites. In doing so, we show how much of a bizarre outcast the murderer is compared to those around him, while also enabling us to present other ideas and themes.