Published on April 27, 2014
Titles Analysis Suzanne Micael I thought it was important to research the way films within the Horror Genre include opening titles to inform (which is a key concept in the uses and gratifications theory) the audience about the film by relaying subtle hints of information about the contents of the storyline. As well as this, the audience is aware about who took part producing the film such as the director, producer, sound etc. Titles are often manipulated to suit a certain genre and in this case I will be analysing two distinct horror films within the genre. Friday the 13th (2009) and Sinister (2012) are both examples of successful horror films as they include many of the conventions recognised in other forms of research I have analysed. This includes foreshadowing, red imagery and a heavy reliance on special effects. I have chosen 2 relatively new horror films as I felt their opening sequences and titling would be more appropriate as my film is also based on contemporary society.
Friday the 13th(2009) The first film I decided to analyse is Friday the 13th which follows a group of friends who discover an abounded camping site. They soon come to realise the murderous Jason Voorhees is hunting them down and his true intentions are made known. I felt this film was particularly interesting as it conveys many of the Horror Genre features that I had previously studied. I also found it intriguing that I would be considered the desired target audience for the film which also contributed to the reason I chose this film.
Initially, the films begin with silver stars, directly from the centre using the rule of thirds positioning, falling from the night’s sky and through the clouds to form the classic Paramount Pictures logo. The camera pans out slowly in pace following the stars, in a slightly high angle to allow more visual information to be shown such as all of the stars forming together. This highlights the importance of the company as it is the first title the audience can see. Paramount Pictures is a successful and distinctive production company and this logo is featured in every film the company produces in the introduction of its opening sequence. Therefore the audience recognises the success of the intertexual brand and automatically associates the film with being worth watching as it allows the audience to identify (uses and gratifications) the film with others the company has also produced. However, the logo has been manipulated to present different denotations of the colour red in the classic trademark. This is a peculiar juxtaposition as the connotation of the clouds is symbolic of dreaming and positivity which is a complete contrast to the connotations of red which throughout my research I found red imagery (a key convention in film within the horror genre) represents the unnatural nature of blood, gore and thoughts of murder. This thematic red tint continues into the next logo of the production company Platinum Dunes as the logo is shown using an extremely close-up shot, also using the same panning out movement. The red aspect adds to the level of continuity in the sequence which intentionally connects the film to create a fluent introduction that grips a audience.
The shot suddenly jump cuts to a short clip of a dark forest, however the audiences attention is set towards the vivid white titles in positioned in the rule of thirds bottom right corner. The typography is a classic font text that has a dated motif. This informs the audience of the date of the footage they are watching set in June 13th, 1980 taking the audience back in time to relive the events they are about to witness; preparing them that action is about to take place. The denotation of the colour white really stands out against the contrast of the colours within the actual shot. This title also refers to the title of the film as the audience can put together the date exaggerating the important of the opening sequence. After the next couple of scenes, The audience then witnesses the same typography and colour in a slightly larger font size this time positioned in the centre of the blank black screen. Again, this clearly stands out and appears quite effective even though it seems quite simplistic. This carries on with the other titles of the film such as the names of the actors, directors etc. in the same continuous progression in billing order.
Finally, the actual appearance of the title of the film was actually shown approximately 23 minutes into the film. This was very interesting as the titles were clearly controlled to a certain level of continuity; as right as the audience became used to a specific routine of the same titles being repeated, they were caught of guard with considerably the most important title they would have seen. This is similar to the plot of most horror films as the scary factor supporting most of them relies on the unexpected occurring and shocking potential audiences. Therefore the build-up of the action in which the villain kills multiple people and then the sudden stop to this with use of the title makes the titles a lot more memorable. The titles appear in the centre of the screen similar to before in a faded in effect. However, this time the titles are a vibrant shade of red. As well as this, the typography appears slightly bolder, larger in font size and in all capitals. These three aspects combined are successfully used to distinguish the title of the film with the other titles already shown. As stated before, this generates a more memorable title.
Sinister(2012) The second film I chose to observe the opening sequence of within the horror genre is Scott Derricksons ‘Sinister’. This film tells the supernatural story of a ‘serial killer’ dating back to the 1960s work, in which a crime writer discovers; the numerous victims’ cause of death in a series of home movie films. The writer himself, including his family find themselves in the same pattern as the victims experienced. When watching this film, I felt the opening titles were very entertaining as they heavily reflected the plot of the film and told a story in the space of two minutes.
Universal trademark making audience connecting this film to the already successful films that the intertexual bran Momentum Pictures has previously produced. Using a bold gold colour, the camera follows the fizzling fireworks that form the second logo of Alliance Films. Gold is often associated with luxury and connotes the idea of wealth. This makes Alliance Films production company more glamorous as the typography suggest this company only creates quality media products. The fireworks also creates excitement about the products as the use of fireworks are often displayed in times of celebration therefore audiences should be aware they should feel a sense of joy watching a film made by this company. The iconic figure of the ‘A’ above the actual name is used as visual information of enabling the audience to remember the production company by.
The titles of this production company are edited to appear in way that plasters them into the corner of the room. This connotes the idea of being vulnerable as being cornered suggests there is no escape route and possibly the risk of death. Using a key theme in the narrative of the homemade movie roles, in the sequence in the background of the titles as well as the frame of the shot. The rule of thirds positioning, the titles are seen in the bottom right of the screen. Dim lighting in the foreground of the shot to create a more eerie motif and allow the brightness of the titles to stand out more. The typography is unique as it is in a scribbled font in different sized lettering as if it was written by a child. Haunted Houses are often a repetitive convention in the horror genre.
To conclude.. To conclude, I felt it was very helpful acknowledging the ways in which opening titles can impact an audience in a way that affects their view of the film in a build-up of suspense. It was evident that both films that I had studied were very different in their portrayal of titles, yet mutually made an impact on me as part of the audience. To ensure my opening titles are just as well done, I observed specific traits I could inject into my own media production of the opening sequence. This comprises of a different colour that sets apart the title of my film with the other billing titles e.g. Directors name. Also, the importance of having an iconic logo for the production company. The fluency of the repetitive premise of titling was also deemed necessary as it marked the stability of the opening sequence.
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