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Horror genre research

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1. HORROR GENRE RESEARCHBy Adam Burgess 2. HISTORY Horror is a genre of film that seeks negative emotion from its audience by playing on their fearsand weaknesses. The first horror films came about in the late early 20th century with a supernatural theme as thefirst Frankenstein film was made in 1910. Gothic horror became popular in the 1930s under Universal studios. More Frankenstein andDracula films were made and the first signs of Egyptology were evident with The Mummy.Werewolf themed films were also introduced as the Wolf Man was created 1941. As technology improved in the 50s and 60s more sub-genres became common e.g. the horror-of-armageddonfilm and the horror-of-the-demonic film. Alien invasions and mutations in films werepopular as Godzilla came to screens for the first time. British films were then introduced underThe Hammer company where sequels of Frankenstein and Dracula were both produced. Ghostsand monsters still remained a frequent feature of horror, but many films used the supernaturalpremise to express the horror of the demonic. The late 20th century saw "Evil children" and reincarnation becoming popular subjects forexample: The Omen (1976). Slasher fims were very common and a succession were createdincluding: Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. This continued in the 90swith sequels of many of these films being made however some say that this wore out horror. The routine in the 2000s was remakes of previous popular films such as: The Texas ChainsawMassacre and The Hills have eyes. Currently in the 2010.s horror movies have developed intotelevision series for example: The Walking dead and American Horror Story . 3. CONVENTIONS Horror films tend to be set in large, dark houses with lots of corridors. Othersare in isolated locations or run down places with abandoned areas. Patheticfallacy plays a large part as it is often cold, dark and gloomy in these filmswhich always suggest that normality is no longer presenet. This is ensured bythe use of low key lighting. There is normally an innocent character who isalways victimised by a monster, creature or person who always attempts totrack down the main character. The narrative of horrors tends to be classicallyplayed however some are left open at the end for a future sequel. The mainidea of a horror is for the main protagonist to solve the problems and defeator get rid of the antagonist. The main antagonists that tend to be used are:ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves, demons, gore, torture, vicious animals,evil witches, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers. 4. AUDIENCE PROFILE Psychographics- Horror films would ideally relate to Mainstreamers as if they arethe popular genre at a certain time then they would probably follow this trend andbecome involved in the genre themselves. If comedy or another genre however, isvery common in a particular moment in time then horror could appeal to explorerswho want to be different from the crowd. They will explore all genres and possiblybecome interested in another genre e.g.: Horror. Demographics- The age rating of horror films is normally from 15-30 mainly due tothe BBFC ratings that they are given. They appeal to both males and females dueto shown statistics and the ethnicity would be predominantly white as most leadactors in these films are of this ethnicity. This genre would most likely apply tosomeone of a social grading of C1-D as they have a job and therefore the money toeither buy the film or go and watch it at the cinema however they are stillinterested in films like this without having other things in their life that someonewith a higher social grading may have. 5. POPULARITY Horror films have existed for a long period of time however they have not always been the most popular genre Many people prefer bright happy comedies or Rom Coms although it does depend on what type of film you enjoyyourself and what influences you. Big horror films have always been present and are the most common genre to have remakes made out of films so theymust be very popular if the producers continue to freshen them up These remakes have been popular in recent times and have rather revived horror after its small decline at the verybeginning of the 21st century. Small children has returned as a recent theme as they are currently a huge fear for many audiences therefore are moreeager to watch them.These figures show the amount of films released inthe UK and ROI in 2012. Here we can see that Horrormovies have an average box office percentage of10,200 per site. The total site amount is 6,077 which isthe 4th highest based on genre so they are obviouslystill very popular with a very large audience mass. 6. WHY DO AUDIENCES WATCH THEM? People often watch horror films because they enjoy the way their emotions andfears are tested within the genre. Many like this rush of adrenaline and areentertained by their reactions and the way that they respond. Some other people however are mainstreamers and watch horror films to join inwith a crowd and to say that they have seen it. They may not enjoy the film oreven the genre of it but they believe that they will fit in to a certain group if theycan say that they have seen the film. Another reason why these films are popular is because people are eager to watcha sequel or a remake of a horror film that they have enjoyed. Remakes are popularin the horror genre which keeps the content fresh. 7. AUDIENCE THEORIES The desensitisation theory is often evident in horror films because if somebody is exposedto this type of film more often then the less effected they will be by it. The uses and gratifications theory is clear in this genre of film because some peoplesideas of entertainment are being scared. It comes under the entertainment title of thetheory because it allows people to escape and relax from their daily troubles and woes oflife whilst they enjoy a tense horror film. The Levi - Strauss theory also applies to horror films as they often contain a battlebetween Sane and Insane. They are total opposites which are often defined as binaryopposites as it is necessary for that person to have an opposition. 8. TYPES OF HORROR FILM A recent theme is small children, (most often girls) as film producers have identified these as a potential fearor weaknesses for current audiences. Films of this theme consist of: The Conjuring, Sinister, Annabelle, TheOthers, The Ring and the Exorcist. Action horror- involves the intrusion of an evil force or event with lots of gunfights and chases. May include,zombies, vampires, zombies with lots of gore. Body Horror- Derived from regeneration of the body. Others may include unnatural movements or incorrectplace of limbs to form a monster. Comedy Horror- This combines comedy and horror fiction. E.g. Scary Movie. Gothic Horror- A story containing goth and horror. They are normally suspenseful but often unfold withRomance as older Horror films tended to do. Natural horror- Features nature and animals which often evolve into cold-blooded killers. Slasher film- Revolves around a killer looking to graphically kill a sequence of victims normally with cuttingtools. Splatter film- Focus or graphic events and portrayals of violence using special effects for the interest of thevulnerability of the human body. Zombie film- Involves creatures portrayed as reanimated corpses or mindless humans. 9. BBFC RATINGInformation from: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/education-resources/student-guide/issues-introduction/horror BBFC has treated horror as a special case as it is a unique genre where seriousamounts of emotion are evident throughout this genre of film. They introduced a Hfor horror to warn the public of the scary content involved within the film howeverhorror films were banned from distribution altogether in the latter years of thesecond world war due to a possible decline in public morale. In the 80s and 90s, theFriday 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream series, as well as recent 21stcentury remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, (the original having been rejectedon film in 1975 before finally being rated 18 uncut on film in 1999), and Dawn Of TheDead have proved hugely successful with newer, younger audiences, restabilising thehorror genre as a top box office draw. Many children enjoy the excitement of scarysequences, but where films are targeted at a younger audience, age rating decisionswill take into account such factors as the frequency, length and detail of scary scenesas well as horror effects, including music and sound, and whether there is a swift andreassuring outcome. Most horror films are rated 15 or 18 however some films arevery controversial e.g.: The Woman in Black which was rated 12 despite high amountsof gore and very strong visuals 10. BBFC CONTINUED Most horror films tend to be classified at 15 or 18 and these ratings have very interestingeffects on the audience. If the film is rated at a 15 then it is available to a wider range of audiences who want tocome and watch these scary films. This can however have a negative effect on theaudience mass because older audiences may believe that it is not scary enough for theirliking and therefore will not go to watch them. If it is rated 18 however, the film will have a higher scare level. Some people are moreencouraged to watch scarier films and many of these are rated 18. This rating can benegative though as it is not available to anyone under the age of 18 therefore theaudience range watching the film will be more limited than if it was a 15 film. 11. COMMON HORROR FILM ACTORS Boris Karloff- The Monster in Frankenstein and Ardeth Bey in The Mummy Bela Lugosi- Count Dracula in Dracula and Ygor in the Son of Frankenstein Robert Englund- Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street Peter Cushing- Van Helsing in Dracula and John Banning in The Mummy Jamie Lee Curtis- Laurie Strode in Halloween and Alana Maxwell in Terror Train Jack Nicholson- Jack Torrance in The Shining and Frank Costello in The Departed Brad Douriff- Chucky in Childs play and the sequels and Sheriff Lee Brackett inHalloween and Halloween 2 Linda Blair- Regan Macneil in the exorcist and the sequels and Marti Gaines in Hell Night. 12. INSIDIOUS TITLE SEQUENCE 13. TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS This title sequence begins with some spooky, non diegetic music. This is used to controlthe mood of the audience and in this case to make them feel tense. The sequence is fullof thin, red writing to highlight actors and directors names however this use of colour hintsto the audience that danger, violence and fear evident in the film as these are the ideasthat are connoted from the colour red. The directors name is shown in a white light toidentify the source of production or to symbolise safety from the possible fear that isheading to the audience. The camera however twists around and falls from the light whichwill make the audience feel uncomfortable as they lose a sense of control. The camerathen pans around the house and we are introduced to the protagonist but as we approachthe antagonist the music intensifies and is much more high pitch in order to make theaudience feel a large sense of insecurity. As the credit names appear they quickly vanishto create a supernatural effect and this confirmed as the camera identifies moreparanormal activity as it travels around the house. 14. THE SHINING TITLE SEQUENCE 15. TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS This is a rather unconventional title sequence for a horror film as it lacks many of thefeatures that you would expect from a horror film sequence. It begins in a pleasant lookinglandscape focusing on a car driving along the side of a mountain however there is no signof danger of fear anywhere. The lighting is very high key and the colours are brighthowever throughout the sequence there is some intimidating non diegetic music whichmay just provoke a thought in the mind of the audience that all may not be as it seems.The sounds begin very loud and powerful to make the audience feel rather vulnerablehowever this moves into a more high pitch sound that would appear to sound like humanscreams. If the audience were to just listen to the sequence they would expect it to behorror however what they see visually does not match up with their ideas. Text begins tomove up the screen and this is in blue font which could represent power to match with theintimidating music that the audience hear. It is yet another factor that the audience willtake into account during the sequence. 16. THE RING TITLE SEQUENCE 17. TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS This sequence is more typical of a horror film. It begins with a blue background whichsymbolise power which may be needed to overcome a problem in the film. The text iscurrently in white which could represent the innocence of the protagonists within the film.As the sequence moves from clip to clip there is the crackling screen of tv and within thiswe can see a body which represents the power of a possible supernatural or demonicthreat which may be relevant in the film. In the rest of the sequence the backgroundshows a possible setting for the film which is in a woods, stereotypical of a horror film.The lettering of titles across this however, are very spacious and portray the effect thatthey are written by children as there are no capital letters evident either. This could strikefear into the audience as it suggests that young children have a large part to play in thefilm as producers have identified these as a weakness for the emotions of a modern dayaudience.