Supernatural horror conventions

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  • 1. Supernatural/Possession Horror Conventions

2. Supernatural films mainly consist of: Religious elements and traditions, many of the supernatural/ possession films within todays film industry base the narrative of their films upon religious factors as religion being a sacred and holy topic many of the viewers of todays society find using religious as part of a narrative extremely frightening as its the fear of realism or fear of what could happen, especially if you are a religious person.Evil and Demonic forces. Many supernatural and possession films feature their narratives around an Evil or Demonic force as its the fear of the unknown but also the fear of something not being real and creating evil upon your family which in many possession films they use a evil and demonic force to take over the soul of one of the family members in order to cause disruption and fear amongst the entirety of the family, which exemplifies the idea of evil becoming embodied within a character causing fear to the audience. A modern day film which displays all of these conventions within the film is The Devil Inside this film is a prime example of a film which clearly and successfully uses all of these conventions to scare its audience. Majority of these conventions all feature within a Supernatural horror film, due to the fact that these are constant fears within the Audiences minds allowing Supernatural Horrors to play on it. 3. Supernatural is a sub-genre that primarily focuses around supernatural elements, such as spirits, ghosts, the afterlife, the devil and forms of demonic possessions. Many Supernatural films deal with the constant questioning from the fear of the unknown, questions that in many cases cannot be answered. Therefore many Supernatural films feature religious elements within the narrative as many religious aspects themselves cannot be answered creating emphasis upon the narrative of the film as it keeps the audience on the edge of their seat throughout the entirety of the film. Supernatural horrors are considered to be full of suspense leaving you with an unnerving chill creating tension for the audience whilst watching the film. Many supernatural films cross over into other genres, creating hybrids such as Supernatural-Comedy or Supernatural- Drama, displaying the popularity of the genre and how successful it is to be able to have a cross over with other genres. In addition, unlike genres of Horror such as Thriller, Supernatural Horrors do not have specific limitations to the religious elements they use within their narratives and sometimes even tend to contain more vivid violence. The sub-genre of Possession is a sub-genre of a subgenre, however within our group we chose to base our promotional packages predominantly around Possession as we felt through carrying out intense research that this sub-genre was the most effective and most successful sub-genre and is one that we have seen crop up again and again when distributing our Questionnaires, the audience have always answered Possession being a favourite. The genres of both Supernatural and Possession Horror films both tend to use identical codes and conventions, but there are still some conventions which we would typically associate with either Possession or Supernatural. 4. There always appears to be a constant battle between good and evil throughout the narrative which tends to be when religious factors crop up as its usually the religious characters versus the Evil. The dominate, main character tends to be the one has been or becomes possessed and soon starts to become the antagonist. For example in films such as The Conjuring and The Amityville Horror the possession corrupts the characters whilst they sleep. Other main characters feature the protagonist who appear as the innocent character who is either being tortured or harmed by the antagonist. Another example of a character that would appear as a protagonist within a Possession Horror would be a priest, as they commonly are involved in possession films as they try to remove the evil possession out of the characters body by performing an exorcism or other religious actions. A prime example of this would be in the film Insidious where the priest performs an exorcism on the possessed man. The locations used within Possession/ Supernatural Horrors tend to be in secluded and abandoned houses that have a past history such as a basement where deaths have occurred and a evil demonic creature now lives down there ready to haunt the family which now live there. However the truth about who lives down in the basement always becomes revealed mid way through the narrative for example in Mama the truth behind the plot of the film is only revealed mid way through the narrative creating emphasis upon the suspense. Another common convention within Possession films are the colours they feature. Typically the colours they use are quite dark, eerie and mysterious ones alongside the predominant horror colours of red, black and white. However the use of greys and browns are also used sometimes within Horror trailers to help create tension and suspense so that the audience can identify the common use of colours within a Possession/Supernatural film. The film Sinister is a perfect example of a Possession film that uses a great use of colour within the film trailer in order to make the target audience full of suspense and on edge displaying the use of colour as a successful way of creating fear for the audience. 5. The main character always tends to be the one that has been possessed and they soon become the antagonist, e.g. `The Amityville Horror and The conjuring when the possession literally goes inside of her while she sleeps. Other main characters include the protagonist who either is tortured or harmed by the antagonist or religious characters that try to help remove the evil possession from inside them e.g. Insidious when the priests and professionals try to perform exorcisms on the possessed man. The stock location tends to be quite secluded, in an abandoned house that tends to have history, such as an old base for an old mental asylum or deaths/murders have happened in these houses before. The truth tends to come out mid way through the film e.g. Mama as it is set in a rural location and the real truth and narrative behind the plot does not come out until quite far on in the film. 6. Here are some examples of the possessions and evil spirits/demons that gain control of the protagonists body, and who then go onto torment them and their families within the household. The two top right hand images are both from the film Insidious 1 and 2 and these characters have tormented the man since he was a child and now start to do the same to his children and wife. The other two images on the right are from the film Sinister where he uses film and images to come to life which then kills his victims and eats the soul of their children. The last is an image from the film The Possession where a mystical box possesses a young girl (the protagonist) and uses her body as their own. These two images both show examples of the stock location within possession films. The image to the right shows a house from the film The Amityville Horror where it is surrounded by trees and woodland in a secluded area from other part of town which is the perfect location for a possession to take place, as people have not lived their for years and dont know its history or what happened there within the past. 7. the images below display different posters from a range of Possession Horror films each of these showing common codes and conventions; the typical colours of red, white and black are used throughout all 4 images above. The flames, the typography and the background on the omen film cover all have red in them , this connotes the devil and hell which are big elements of Possession films as the audience are able to relate the colours to the content and sub-genre of film. The white colours that take up a lot of the typography also connote the evil spirits as we would associate is with ghostly beings. But the white colours could also connote the religious elements that are portrayed throughout the sub-genre of supernatural/possession, as white tends to connote innocents and purity and good. The fact that the white typography is on top of the red /dark background could be a possible suggestion that good always triumphs over evil. The black colours give a definite example of evil as we would first associate the colour black with badness as it is a common colour that crops up again and again throughout the Horror genre. Other such colours, such as greys and dark blues are also used as they give of an element of spirit like beings, being there with them, they also make it seem as if a presence is there such as in the paranormal activity poster.