Studying Horror Films

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Information about Studying Horror Films

Published on August 14, 2007

Author: Gabir


Studying Horror Films:  Studying Horror Films Making a horror trailer for a new horror movie Genre:  Genre A genre is a type of film: romance, comedy, horror, science-fiction, action/adventure… Now complete the ‘Genre Mix ‘n’ Match’ activity Sometimes a film borrows from more than one genre, these films are called Hybrids Now complete the ‘hybrid’ activity So You Think You Know Horror:  So You Think You Know Horror Name the films that the following characters appear in: The Conventions of Horror Films:  The Conventions of Horror Films List the conventions of horror movies (conventions are the elements you expect in a horror film): Complete the conventions sheet attached Horror Movie Conventions 1:  Horror Movie Conventions 1 Blood Death Killing Villain Victims Haunted houses and isolated settings Monsters Evil Horror Movie Conventions 2:  Horror Movie Conventions 2 Weapons Darkness Storms Chase sequences Gore Violence Screams Ghosts Fear:  Fear What makes us scared? Suggested horror movies to watch::  Suggested horror movies to watch: Scream The Ring Gothika The Others Blair Witch Generic Horror Movie Log Sheet:  Generic Horror Movie Log Sheet When you watch a horror movie complete the following tasks about it: What is the film called? Who directed it? (Have they directed any other horror films?) When was it released? Does it have any well known stars in it? If so who? List the Horror genre conventions in the film. What elements in the film created fear and suspense? What elements in the film failed to create fear or suspense? It is good to watch as many horror movies as you can. Some contemporary horror movies as well as some older horror movies (Halloweens, Nightmare on Elm Streets, Friday 13th, …) Complete the generic horror movie log sheet when watching horror films Narrative and Character:  Narrative and Character Narrative: most, according to Propp, film narratives follow this structure: Equilibrium – disequilbrium – a new state of equilibrium According to Propp again, there are certain characters in films and stories with certain functions: the hero – the one on the quest and the one who saves the day the villain – the evil one who causes the disequilbrium the helper – a person who helps the hero on their quest/the sidekick the victim – at the mercy of the villain the donor – someone who has something special which will help the hero Complete the narrative and character worksheet on the horror movies that you watch Brief Outline of the Film Industry 1:  Brief Outline of the Film Industry 1 Production A small production company will form and have an idea for a new movie. They will then have to get funding for this movie. Movies often cost many millions of dollars/pounds to make. The production company will go to a distributor for this money. If the distributor likes the idea: in other words that the film has a winning formula (similar films have been successful before) or that it is so brilliantly original that it amazes them (this is most unlikely to be the case). Also the idea must meet the conventions of the genre to which it belongs. Then the distributor may well lend the money for the production company to make their film. The distributor can force changes to the idea and demand that certain stars appear in the film. Production…:  Production… The production phase itself is split up into 3 sections: Pre-production: planning, design, storyboarding, casting… Production: the actual shooting of the movie Post-production: editing the movie together, adding sound and special effects Brief Outline of the Film Industry 2:  Brief Outline of the Film Industry 2 Distributor/Distribution These are the people with money. They are often the large studios: Universal, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers. They are often part of huge media conglomerates: Vivendi Universal, News Corporation and AOL Time Warner. They are wealthy and own much of the world’s media. Once the film has been produced (made) then the distributors start marketing the film: posters, interviews with stars, merchandise, soundtrack, trailers… Seeing as the distributor lent most of the money for the movie then they scoop up the majority of the film’s profit. The distributors are often American, hence this is why the American Film Industry dominates our screens Brief Outline of the Film Industry 3:  Brief Outline of the Film Industry 3 Exhibition The showing of the film. This can be either: Cinema DVD (rental and sales) Video (rental and sales) Satellite/digital TV and Box Office Terrestrial TV History of the Horror Movie Condensed…:  History of the Horror Movie Condensed… Horror movies have been around since silent movies (Nosferatu). Obviously being scared is something the audience want. The horror movie received a huge revival in the late 70’s early 80’s (Omen and Nightmare on Elm Street) but died a sad death in the late 80’s and throughout most of the 90’s. However, with the advent of the horror smash parody Scream the genre is, once again, extremely popular. What was frightening back in the silent movie days and what is frightening now may well have changed. As society changes so do our fears. For example, when moving image was first invented footage of a moving train caused fear in the audience because people really believed that the train would come straight out of the screen The web address above will take you through the top one hundred horror movies. Research and produce your own power point presentation of the history of the horror movie Textual Analysis of the opening sequence to Scream:  Textual Analysis of the opening sequence to Scream The opening sequence to Scream is Wes Craven at his best: he deliberately uses some of the most common horror conventions in the genre… Complete the worksheets on the opening sequence to Scream Textual Analysis Important definitions:  Textual Analysis Important definitions Denotation: a description of what is actually there in the frame Connotation: what are the suggested meanings of the elements you have identified under the section of denotation Complete the denotation/connotation activities Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Extreme Close Up: This is used to Emphasise something. What is this image Emphasising? In other Words, what is the Connotation of this Image? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Close Up: This is where the subject fills the frame it shows emotion. what is the connotation of this close up? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Dutch Tilt: Where the subject is tilted. Often used in horror to create disorientation. What is the connotation of this Dutch Tilt? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Extreme Long shot: This is where the setting Fills the frame. It is An establishing shot which Sets the scene…what is the Connotation of this shot? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Long shot: this is where we see the subject in relation to their surrounding the setting dominates. what is the connotation of this image? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Medium long shot: this is where the setting and the subject are in equal proportion. What is the connotation of this still? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Medium Shot: this is when the subject is cut off at the waist. You can still see their costume but also some of their emotions. What is the connotation of this still? Camera Angles:  Camera Angles Medium Close Up: When you can still see some of the subject’s physique but their emotions are clearly evident. What is the connotation of this still? Camera Movement:  Camera Movement Zoom = when zooming in the camera does not move Tracking (dollying) = the camera moves smoothly towards or away from the subject Pan = the camera moves from left to right following a moving subject. Hand-held camera = produces a jerky movement, creating a sense of reality/chaos Steadicam = a hand-held camera worn with a harness to achieve a steady shot Editing:  Editing This occurs everytime that a film is cut. A film is never shot in the order that the events happen. This would cost a fortune: all sequences with the same location will be shot at the same time regardless of where they appear in the narrative. Sometimes the opening sequence to a film will be the last sequence to be shot. When a sequence has high octane action the cuts/editing is fast and numerous… Chase sequences are very good to demonstrate this Soundtrack and Sound effects:  Soundtrack and Sound effects Soundtrack: this is the music playing in the background. It can be diegetic or non-diegetic. If the sound is part of the narrative, the action (eg: a radio playing in the shot) it is diegetic. However, more often than not, the soundtrack is non-diegetic. Music playing in the background which is not evident in the action. Sound effects: these are the effects added during post-production. For example, explosions, birdsong… Jaws: watch a shark approaching sequence without the sound and then with the sound!? Notice the difference…        Costume:  Costume Costumes tell you something about the character (the genre too)? What are the Connotation of the following costumes? Props:  Props What are the connotations of the props in these images? Lighting:  Lighting What are the connotations of the lighting used in the stills below? Mise-en-scene:  Mise-en-scene If you were to pause a moment in a film, that frame would be mise-en-scene. Textual analysis of elements within this frame, in terms of denotation and connotation, is mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene…:  Mise-en-scene… Your practical production 1:  Your practical production 1 You must first form a production team and invent a name for your production company You must then begin your primary research The target audience is very important in any media product. You must meet their needs in order for your product to be a success. So, decide on your target audience (teen…) and create a questionnaire which sets out to discover what horror movies are popular with this audience, what their fears are, what conventions they rate as the most important in a horror film… Hint: make your questionnaires easy to fill in and give the participants choices to choose from. Don’t ask a random question like: Why do you like horror movies? Instead, give them a list of possible reasons to choose from to state why they like horror movies – this will make your analysis much easier Your Practical Production 2:  Your Practical Production 2 Once your questionnaires have been completed and your results have been analysed (together with your knowledge of the horror genre and your knowledge and analysis of horror movies + clips) you will be able to begin brainstorming possible ideas for your own horror movie Your Practical Production 3:  Your Practical Production 3 Once you have decided on an idea for your own horror movie then you must write the TREATMENT for your film. A treatment is a 200 plot summary of what happens. When the treatment is complete you may begin inventing your PITCH Your Practical Production 4:  Your Practical Production 4 The Film Pitch This is a very short sales pitch about your film designed to get distributors interested in your product. Films have been sold with pitches of only three words: the film Alien was sold on the pitch: Jaws in Space The Film Pitch:  The Film Pitch Your Practical Production 5:  Your Practical Production 5 Once you have pitched your film and created your treatment. You are ready to move straight from production into post-production. The distributor ‘farms out’ the job of creating the trailer for a film to a post-production house. You, in effect, will become that post-production house and create your own trailer for your new horror movie The Film Trailer 1:  The Film Trailer 1 Film trailers are between 2-3 minutes long. They have about 100 cuts in them. They are designed to make the audience feel both: The pleasure of the text – the audience recognises familiar conventions and narratives Suspense in the audience – by the use of engima codes. Who is the killer? What happens in the end…? The film trailer itself tends to be structured in the following way: this structure is not ‘set in stone’ and can be moved around to have a greater effect The film trailer 2:  The film trailer 2 The distribution company logo The production company logo The narrative establisher – a series of longer sequences which establish the fundamental storyline of the film The stars or the USP – the unique selling point – often stars or directors. Horror movies traditionally don’t always use well-known stars because the audience feel more uncomfortable with actors they don’t recognise and that don’t make them feel secure. In the trailer for the horror movie Scream the director Wes Craven is the USP because he is famous for directing the cult horror film Nightmare on Elm Street A series of quick, exciting, sequences that are full of suspense from the film – this is the convincer in that it should create enough suspense to ensure that the audience decide to go and watch the film All through the trailer will appear the conventions of the genre The black and white film listings Complete the trailer analysis worksheets Go to for film trailers Storyboarding:  Storyboarding Now, in your production teams, please storyboard your film trailer using the conventions of trailers Storyboarding:  Storyboarding You must number each image/sequence on your storyboard Underneath each image on your storyboard you should include some notes as to camera angles, lighting, etc… Please see attached blank storyboard Prop ListCast List:  Prop List Cast List In order to organise yourselves effectively you must complete an prop list and a cast list for your trailer… Please see attached blank listings Production Schedule:  Production Schedule Your production team must complete a production schedule. You must not go over schedule as you will go over budget and the distribution company would lose profits… See attached blank production schedule Edit List:  Edit List Now you have shot your footage; you must now look at the footage on your tape and number the sequences + a description of them in the order they appear on the tape. Then you have to, using your footage list, prepare an edit list of the sequences you will use and the order they are to be edited in… See blank sheets attached Evaluating your product:  Evaluating your product You must evaluate your product and the stages of production. Please see attached evaluation structure Slide48: 

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