Horror - Genre Conventions D . I . S . T . I . N . C . T

Horror genre conventions

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Page 1: Horror genre conventions

Horror - Genre ConventionsD . I . S . T . I . N .

C . T

Page 2: Horror genre conventions

• Small communities or isolated places. Urban environments, dark streets and narrow alleyways. Large cities or run down ghost towns.

• Anything that connotes isolation or being alone. Often places with a “dark” history, such as abandoned houses, hotels and asylums.

• Locations for a good horror genre film could be: Lakes, Long roads, Highways, Countryside, Farms, Woods, Cabins, Subways, Underground Tunnels, Hotels, Abounded Houses, Space-Stations (for Sci-Fi Horror), Cemetery, Alien Planets (Like Predators), basements, attics, science lab, Shopping Mall, Cornfield, etc.

SettingDon’t Ignore. . .

Page 3: Horror genre conventions

Technical Codes• High and Low angles can connote fear and nightmares.• POV shots are important because they allow the audience to see the

world from the monster’s eye. (Evil Dead has a very long POV shot when the monster ia chasing the hero through the cabin).

• Handheld shots make it difficult for the audience to make out what is happening. Cornfields are a prime example of this, since the entire scene can be shot with a handheld camera to promote the feeling of terror and the unknown to the audience directly through what the character is experiencing.

• Disturbing sounds are very important in a horror movie. Ambient diegetic sounds like footsteps and non-diegetic sounds (like a heartbeat) help to provide suspense and entice the audience.

• Types of shots used like ECU on a victim’s face can help induce the audience with horror and fear.

• Editing can create unsettling tension and suspense. If the editing hasn’t been paced up in a while it is a sign that something is about to jump out and scare you.

Page 4: Horror genre conventions

Iconography• Often uses dark colours like red and black are used(links to

evil, blood, danger etc).• Lighting is expressive and non-naturalistic, low-key lighting can

help to crate dark shadows and unfamiliar shapes in the blackness.

• Lighting can be motivated in the world of the film (like bonfires, fireplaces, torches and bed side lamps).

• Props can help the audience to further identify the genre. Specific props can be identified with a certain villain or character (Chainsaws, Machetes, Knife, Claw Gauntlets, Costumes, Firearms etc).

• Common objects include: Weapons, Masks, Icons of the Supernatural, Religious insignias etc).

• The iconography of the monsters helps to connote extreme fear, disgust and terror: Werewolves, Vampires, Mummies, Frankenstein and many others.

Page 5: Horror genre conventions

Narrative Structure• Classic narrative structure largely made applicable to the

Horror genre but it can either be left for closure or maybe perhaps leave room for sequel and thus enable a franchise (Like Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street).

• There’s always a hero a protagonist, a man or “final girl” of the film, keeping with the normal conventions of the genre. Usually the hero must embark on a mission or quest to kill or solve problems.

• Some narratives are very formulaic and this is practically present in sub-genres, most noticeably ‘Slasher’ films.

• After some event that turns the killer insane or by some childhood past or a psychotic medical issues, the villain returns to his home-town and always preys on teenagers. These teenagers represent “immoral” and are quite stupid, usually they are the ones who start the horror in the first place or maybe they just get killed quickly and there is always (sometimes) a survivor, most likely a female character.

Page 6: Horror genre conventions

Character Types• The Main Protagonist, often the “victim/hero”

of the movie.• The Villain, often a monster, mutated freak,

alien or serial killer.

• The stupid/immoral teenagers that always get killed.

• Creepy children.• Police Officers that can either be good or bad.• And many more: Ghosts, Zombies, Demons,

Psychopath, Stalker, Weirdo, Werewolf, cheerleader and the list goes on.

Page 7: Horror genre conventions

ThemesGood versus Evil, Depression, Religion,

Childhood issues, Revenge, Supernatural,

Possessed object (or person), Beyond Death,

Science gone wrong, Zombie Apocalypse,

Nightmares, Madness or Insanity, Power,

Lust, “Self-consciousness” Making you

Question what is real and what is not, Envy

and Suicide.