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Horror film Analysis

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Antonia Fitchett

on 17 April 2016

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Transcript of Horror film Analysis

Generic Codes and Conventions
Cabin in the Woods is a film which uses lots of typical horror codes and conventions. It utilises many of the generic conventions of a horror film. It is set in a spooky, haunted cabin; the cabin is in an isolated settings and its cast are young care free adults, who often end up being victims in horror films. Also many of the film's scenes are filmed at night which is stereotypical of the horror genre. These codes and conventions clearly indicate to the audience what genre the director and actors are trying to achieve i.e the horror genre. The film is about five college friends who go on a vacation to a remote forest cabin where lots of unexpected, horrible things happen to them. Some aspects of this film could easily be recreated in my filming such as filming at night or in a dark room to create suspense and foreboding.
Narrative Events
Horror Film
Genre Codes
and Conventions-

Genre Codes and Conventions - Narrative Events
The Shining is about a family who go to stay in a haunted hotel. The use of the horror genre is unconventional as the storyline concentrates more on the father, Jack's psychosis/madness rather than the supernatural. It is unclear whether the sinister goings on are just in his mind or are supernatural. It is as much a family drama (about how Jack's relationship with his wife and son disintegrates) as a horror movie. Jack's madness and psychosis is as frightening as the ghosts that haunt the hotel. The narrative eventually picks up with Danny's sightings of the ghostly twins and the introduction of the other hotel guests but this is not until half an hour into the film. Suspense and foreboding is used to grip the audience's attention. I could recreate something similar in my filming to the scene where the son Danny sees the ghostly twins and use flash ups of the murder scene as was done in The Shining.
The doll, Annabelle wears a pretty, white dress -indicating innocence -with a red sash, which may indicate blood/death in contrast.

The Annabelle doll wears garish, gaudy makeup. She wears bright red lipstick and blusher and mascara to lengthen her eye lashes, making her look even scarier.

Hairstyle -
the doll has plaits indicating a childlike innocence, in contrast to the evilness the doll possesses. Horror often juxtaposes innocent inferences with the evil inferences for full dramtic effect.

Annabelle is a horror film about a doll brought for an expectant mother by her husband. The doll is possesses by an evil spirit and the couple then begin to experience supernatural, scary occurrences.

In the Sewing film clip we see the house is well looked after and homely, and decorated in pastel colours. The woman, in contrast to the doll, has soft makeup and blonde hair indicating innocence and gentleness. She is wearing a loose pale yellow dress and is heavily pregnant showing her vulnerability.The conventions of horror such as blood, fire and smoke are introduced making the audience scared. Close ups of the doll's face show her staring non-blinking eyes increasing the audience's fear.

I could use aspects from the film Annabelle in the opening of my film by showing close ups of a creepy doll 's face. I could go a step further than in the Annabelle clip and have the doll's head or facial expression move. This would make the audience jump as it would be unexpected for a doll to move like a real person.
Opening Titles
Insidious uses diegetic (natural) sounds such as the baby crying, doors creaking, the banging at the door and the house alarm going off for full dramatic effect causing the audience to feel unnerved and fearful. Non-diegetic/unnatural sounds such as background music of screeching violins and creepy music also creates suspense and fear in the audience. The director, James Wan often follows periods of silence with loud, dramatic sounds to unnerve the audience and make them jump in fear. He also uses diegetic sounds through the dialogue between the characters to show their fear and desperation. The diegetic sound of creaking floorboard is used in this clip to create suspense making the audience tense before the jump scare later in the clip (ie the face at the window). The diegetic sound of loud crying is used to create more hysteria. Finally the loud high pitched sound of the house alarm going off is loud, overwhelming and unnatural keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.
This clip is taken from Child's Play. It uses lots of different camera shots to increase drama and suspense. A mid shot is used when the woman is holding Chucky demanding he speak to her. Over the shoulder shots are used to flip between Chucky and the woman. Also a high angle shot is used when she is shouting at Chucky to intensify the drama between the two characters. Close ups of both Chucky's face and the woman's face are used to show the reaction of the characters - the woman's anger and fear and Chucky's evilness- as they fight. A tracking shot is used to follow her to the fireplace. A close up of the woman's face is used when she is shouting at Chucky and then an extreme close up is used to show Chucky's face when he comes alive , intensifying the audience's shock. An establishing shot is used later to show the location (the lift) Chucky has run into to escape. A tracking shot is used to follow the woman as she runs down the stairs as well as to follow the lift as it goes down. An aerial shot is also used to show the lift going down. This adds suspense. Finally an establishing shot is used to show the streets and a close up shot to show her anger/despair when she realises Chucky has escaped. I like the idea of using a doll, usually a symbol of innocence and child play, in my film opening. I would like to experiment with different camera angles and movements to add drama and suspense.
In Psycho the title credits are thrown at the audience in a jumbled disorientated way in time to stabbing, violent sounding music. The titles are dissected and then pieced together. This gives the audience an indication that the film will be about a murder. The colours black and white are used possibly inferring good and evil. Grey lines are used horizontally and vertically to create stabbing motions again inferring that there will be violence/stabbing in the film. The font is bold and simple as is the message: this is a horror movie.
Catalyst Event
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a classic horror film that uses suspense, tension and frequent murder scenes to push forward the horror element of the film. It is about a group of teenagers linked by their parents to a dead serial killer who comes back to them in their dreams to murder them. There are several dream sequences showing the brutal murders of the teenage characters by the serial killer, Freddy Kruger,which keeps the plot moving forward. There is suspense and tension as the characters try to keep awake to avoid being murdered. This film uses many horror codes and conventions - dark shadows, isolated streets, teenagers, nightmares, lots of blood and gore and a deformed male antagonist. In horror films the antagonist is usually male.
The opening sequence of Insidious includes a dramatic catalyst event - a face at the window- which immediately engages the audience, grabbing their attention right from the start. It shows a boy in bed at night sleeping while there is someone or something watching him sleep. The face is a malevolent evil presence which is made clear to the audience by the scary and dramatic music that is used when the camera zooms in for a close-up shot of the face. This clearly tells the audience the presence is evil and dangerous, and this sets the tone for the rest of the film which is of the horror genre. The film is about a family who have just moved into a new home and are being terrorised by evil spirits . People are most vulnerable when sleeping, particularly young children. This opening sequence taps into the one of the audience's deepest fears - being watched when asleep . In the opening scene aclose up of a lamp shade is used which rotates so it is up side down. This is symbolic of the way the family's lives are going to be turned upside down by the evil presence. The opening tilte "Indidious" flashes on to the screen in bold red letter (indicating blood and murder) taccompanied by dranatic, terrifying music, telling the audiecne this is a horror film. It is a suspense horror film.
In the Reverse Bear trap clip of Saw a lot of editing is done to increase drama, showing the character's panic/terror and increasing the audience's fear. Fast forwarding is used to show the woman's panic and fear and also to disorientate the audience as the room spins round. Cut away shots are used of the lock at the back of the head which she must unlock in order to survive. Also cut away shots of the man's intestines are used to add gore and revulsion. Also the scene is filmed as a series of flashbacks - cutting between her being trapped in the cell and her at the police station being interviewed after her ordeal. These editing devices are all instrumental in showing the character's terror and panic and in intensifying the audience's horror and dread.
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