Researching Genre- Horror

Researching genre horror

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Researching Genre- Horror







Survival instinct




Demons Villains



A familyGroup of friendsBlood





Old photographs

The dead- skeletons and




Broken glass





ApocalypseSerial killer

American Horror Story (2011)

Blood is extremely common in horror movies, as they aim to tap into your fears, including a natural fear of being brutally hurt or even killed. The fact that bloodied tools are present implies

someone has already been hurt in a sadistic way, fitting in with the horror theme perfectly.

Children are a common occurrence is recent horrors. Their natural innocence provides a distinct contrast to horror films- nobody expects a child to be evil. Using a negative image is a way of connoting their ‘dark

side’, which everyone has deep inside. Vintage photographs often appear in horror films because sometimes the misfortune is caused by someone from the past, or they experienced it themselves.

Broken glass is a common connotation for carelessness, somebody has accidently knocked over something , most probably whilst they were in a hurry i.e. running away from danger.

Alternatively, broken glass can occur out of anger, if someone smashes it. Anger is seen as a trigger for wrong-doing, hence it fits in with the horror theme.

Seeing body parts of unusual objects/animals in jars is more uncommon in modern-day horrors however they still successfully act as a horror stereotype. This is due to the disturbing mind-set

one must have to present creepy things in this way.

This shows a title dissolving perhaps? The idea that it is dissolving gives the impression that chemicals are being used. Chemicals can cause serious damage, hence they are threatening and

intimidating, perfect for a horror.

Chains are particularly threatening; they can connote being tied up or even hung. Therefore, due to their menacing connotations , they often fit in to horror films well. The noise of their rattling

also creates an eerie atmosphere, like something sinister is approaching or taking place.

This shot is a particularly disturbing one- it shows someone under some plastic, however we are unsure as to the circumstances. The person could be dead or being held against their will. The

could have been suffocated using the plastic. All of the previous make it a shot suitably matched to a horror film.

Often in horror films, you see body parts of people, yet not the rest of them. In this particular shot, you can only see their hands, you can’t decipher their expression to see if they are a threat or not. Therefore, we must automatically assume they are, making the thought of coming across

them very scary.

It appears this is the person in the previous shot, holding on to a pair of clippers. Once again, you can’t see their face. The fact that they are in possession of a weapon immediately makes them

seem menacing, ideal for a horror.

Skeletons are often found in horrors because people tend to be scared of the dead or of dying. The fact that this has clearly happened to someone, and they’ve only left behind a skeleton, implies whatever location

you’re at is a scary one. There is also a couple of reflections shown. Mirrors are often used in horrors because they increase the number of people you can see, ultimately making them seem like more of a threat because

you can’t identify which one is real.

This shot encompasses all things horror: fire, broken glass, children, coffins. All of these aspects are scary- fire and broken glass can be dangerous and harmful, whilst coffins connote death and

the child’s innocence creates a strong contrast.

Insidious (2010)

The blood red colour chosen for the titles is stereotypical of a horror. Blood is nearly always included in this genre, so to see it used for the titles is to be expected and sets the theme for the


As I mentioned in the American Horror Story shots, children are often shown in horror films because their innocence provides a contrast against evil. Furthermore, children are more

vulnerable, so using them as victims in horrors only serves to make the horror more menacing.

Silhouettes can sometimes be found in horrors because they create a feeling of unease. It appears as though the victims are being watched.

Like I mentioned earlier, certain body parts can often be made visible, without including the rest of the body. By using a face, it allows the audience to see the expressions, so they are able to

identify sinister characters. Candles are often used to highlight these particular parts.

Dark shadows and silhouettes imply there is an evil presence watching or intimidating the characters. This idea is extremely alarming, therefore the audience feel disturbed, just the

impression horrors aim to achieve.

Reflections are regularly used in horror films because they created the feeling of being watched or of there being multiple threats. The reflection in this shot is showing an ominous face, creating

a feeling of unease, perfect for a horror.

A lot of horror take place in old houses, so grandfather clocks represent this. The chiming of the clocks also creates tension in the atmosphere.

Footprints automatically have the connotation of an intruder. Intruders are often the perpetrators in horror films, so seeing footprints immediately makes one suspicious.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Tools are often shown in horror films because they can be go-to weapons for the attackers and even for the victims as a form of defence.

Here you can see the attacker’s weapon of choice. The choice of weapon can affect the whole film- they could be a slasher, arsonist etc. Therefore it is important for horror films to show the

weapons being used.

Dark corridors or alleyways are regularly used in horror films because the darkness and openness make them feel intimidating- you can barely see and you have nowhere to hide.

The fact that a mask is being worn fits in perfectly with the genre. Masks can be made to look scary, creepy, disturbing etc., therefore they can always be made to fit in with the theme of the film and successfully scare you. Being able to see the eyes peeping out of the mask makes them

stand out and look a lot more piercing. This makes the predator look a lot more sinister.

Fire is a common occurrence in horrors because it is so dangerous to be around. Therefore fire creates a feeling of unease. It can also connote anger because of the colouring, representing the

attackers anger or rage which is causing them to turn evil.

By showing the victim actually being attacked, you get a sense of the emotions- fear, dread, hatred- they’re experiencing, putting the audience in their shoes and making the audience feel

scared too.

Here you can see a cross. Religious symbols- particularly crosses are used in horrors because some believe they keep evil at bay. Therefore they are used as a defensive weapon by the victims.

Decidedly, based on my research, the most common ingredients for any horror are blood, fire , silhouettes and close-ups. In modern day horrors there are also a considerable number of children included. After performing my research, I have decided I will aim to include blood, shadows or silhouettes, footprints and reflections in my film opening because I feel these ingredients make any film universally recognisable as a horror. I also feel they are the most effective at creating an eerie atmosphere- I want the audience to feel on-edge and uneasy from the get-go. I may also choose to include candles because I won’t be able to include fire, as it’s too dangerous, plus the flickering lights help set the scene.