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Transcript of Horror Movies
Director: William Friedkin
Actors/Actresses: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb Film Title: Insidious
DIrector: James Wan
Actors/Actresses: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins The first key characteristic in all horror films are the characters.
> Protagonists/Victims - generally innocent, everyday people, sometimes w/ an apparent weakness of character - physically or mentally. (Ex: children, women, etc.)
> Antagonist - any type of evil force; person, animal, creature, etc.
> Murderers - zombies, deformed beings, demons, vampires, ghosts, people in frightening masks, etc.
> Costumes - Dark clothing, masks/facial deformities, weapons,
> Stereotypical Secondary Characters: Female Victim, The Couple, The Non-Believer, The Hero. > Creepy music; orchestra’s, organs, violins.
> Dark, scary mood.
> Squeaky doors, creaky stairs, dead silence, abrupt bang/crash
> Music builds as something scary is about to happen - close coordination between screen movement and sound. Dark scenes, lots of shadows, disturbing props.
Classic Settings; mental hospitals, forests, islands, abandoned places (warehouses, homes, etc.), cabins/cottages near the lake, small towns, etc.
Setting: If outside - far away from society. If Inside: No way out.
Doors can be used in horror films to symbolize Light vs. Dark, or an escape root.
Religious symbols are often used in horror films as a representation of life, death, spirituality, good vs. evil, etc.
Colors are used in horror films to symbolize the powers of good and evil. Red and Black are often used to represent evil, and white is generally used to represent good.
Mazes/Labyrinths are sometimes used to symbolize the protagonists lack of control, leaving them trapped. Editing is used in horror movies to add scary
effects that could not realistically happen for them to be filmed. > 12 Year old Regan becomes possessed by a demon after playing with a ouiji board. Paranormal occurrences start to happen, and her parents turn to the church and have two priests perform an exorcism in attempt to get the demon out of their daughter's body. Renai, her husband Josh and their son Dalton move into a new house. Their son enters a comatose state and does not wake up for months. Paranormal occurrences make the family question Dalton’s state, and call an expert. They call a woman, Elise, who determines Dalton has the ability to astral project (out of body experience) during his sleep, and that he has wandered too far into “The Further”, and spirits are trying to consume his body. Specific Examples from The Exorcist: > Main character: Regan, 12 year old girl. (Apparent Weakness - small girl)
> Antagonist: The “devil” or a demon spirit who possesses Regan/takes over her body.
> Secondary characters: Chris/Regan’s mom, Father Karras, Father Merrin. Specific Examples from Insidious: > Victim: Dalton; apparent weakness: small child.
> Main character; Josh - Skeptic
> Secondary characters; Renai, Elise, Lorraine, Specs & Tucker
> Antagonist: Demonic figure with a red face and dark hollow eyes The second key characteristic in horror films is the sounds used and added in after. Specific Examples from The Exorcist > Creepy orchestral music: "Polymorphia" Written by Krzysztof Penderecki Performed by Orchestra of the Cracow Philharmonia.
> Music builds up as plot intensifies Specific Examples from Insidious > Creepy music: Tiny Tim - Tiptoe through the tulips
> Long silences
> Music build-ups Key Characteristic: Set Specific Example from The Exorcist Set:
> Dark, old house
> Outside - creepy town, night time
Religion; churches, priests, "The power or christ compels you" - represent good vs. evil Specific Example from Insidious Set:
> Shadows> Darkness - Dark/Black rooms> Fog/Smoke Quick cuts are used to unsettle the audience and create mystery, showing them only quick flashes of what is happening.
Dark shots and the use of shadows and shading are used to give the movie a dark, eerie look.
Effects are added; speech in another person’s voice, body contortions, crawling on ceilings/walls, etc. Specific Example from The Exorcist > Fast pace/Quick cuts
> Shadows & Dark Shots
> Effects added - Ragen floating above bed, puking on priest, head spinning, etc. Specific Example from Insidious Editing/Effects:> Flashing
> Things moving on their own Conclusion In conclusion, the characters, sound, set and editing in horror movies all have key characteristics that make the genre what it is; scary, unsettling and thrilling for viewers. The stereotypical good and evil characters, along with the creepy sounds & music, dark atmosphere, and the added effects are all what make horror movies entertaining. These characteristics are evident in both old and new horror films (eg The Exorcist in 1973, and Insidious in 2010), and will continue to be considered in horror films to come. Historical/Contemporary Development of Horror Films Horror films started in the early 1900’s, with silent movies such as The Golem (1915) and Nosferatu (1922).
In the 1930’s horror films were “reborn”: sound gave horror movies a much greater effect; with monsters that screamed and growled, and music to build suspense.
Movies such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy were all released in the early 30’s and all shared similar characteristics; drawing on literary classics of the 19th century for ideas, horror films of the 30’s often included people speaking in strange accents in a faraway land.
In the 1950’s, monsters and creatures became more evident in horror films. This era’s obsession with monster films had to do with the Cold War; monster horror movies would show humans as a force for good, providing a few hours of escape from the realities of the war.
In the 60’s, horror movies changed drastically, and started to offer new ways of perceiving sex and violence. Films became more believable and sophisticated, and dealt with some of the issues being faced around the world.
The 70’s horror brought contemporary societal issues and physiological fears into the films.
The 80’s brought gore; special effects and new technology allowed for more realistic carnage that took over the genre.
In the 90’s, serial/psycho killers were popular in horror films, trying to make them more scary and realistic, as oppose to gross and amusing from all the latex, blood and gore in the 80’s.
Contemporary horror movies today often focus on paranormal activity, serial killers/murderers/psychopaths, as well as more realistic/believable versions of past themes.
Bibliography . Wilson, Karina. "Horror Film History - Horror Films in the 2000's." http://www.horrorfilmhistory.com. N.p.. Web. 2 Jan 2013. . "The Exorcist (1972) - IMDb." www.imdb.com. N.p.. Web. 2 Jan 2013. . "The Exorcist (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." en.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 2 2012. Web. 2 Jan 2013. . "Insidious (Film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." en.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 01 2013. Web. 2 Jan 2013. The Exorcist. Dir. William Friedkin. Perf. Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Linda Blair. Warner Bros, 1973.
Insidious. Dir. James Wan. Perf. Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Ty Simpkins. Film District, 2010.