Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Use of Genre in our Media Trailer Narrative

We decided that we would choose the genre of horror once again, as we had enjoyed making a horror film opening for AS. However this time we decided to try a new sub genre; instead of psychological thriller we have chosen to do a supernatural/possessive narrative. Highlighted in red in the information below are examples of when we used or did not follow the codes and conventions of the genre.

The Genre of Horror
The horror film seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural. Horror films deal with the viewer's nightmares, hidden worst fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Plots written within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage, commonly of supernatural origin, into the everyday world. Themes or elements often prevalent in typical horror films include ghosts, torture, gore, werewolves, ancient curses, satanism, demons, vicious animals, vampires, cannibals, haunted houses, zombies and serial killers.

Design of horror
Horror films are designed to:
- Frighten and panic its audience
- Cause alarm and dread
- Invoke its audience's hidden most/worst fears
- Captivate and entertain its audience in a liberating manner.
- Often concludes in a shocking yet terrifying finale.

Depending on the audience watching, horrors can create different types of fear:
- Vulnerability
- Terror of the unknown
- Nightmares
- Alienation
- Revulsions

The Sub-Genre of Supernatural Horror
Supernatural horror has its roots in folklore and religious traditionas on death, the afterlife, evil, the demonic, and the principle of evil embodied in the devil. These were manifested in stories of withces, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and spirits. A lot of horror fiction was written in the eighteenth century, usually written by women and marketed at a female audience, a typical scenario being a resourceful female protaganist menaced by fiends in a gloomy castle.

Supernatural in film
Supernatural films tend to have themes including gods and goddesses, ghosts, apparitions, spirits, miracles, and other similar ideas or depictions of extraordinary phenomena.

Haunting and Demonic possesions
These films play on our fear of the unknown, superstition and the idea that evil forces exist in the world. these forces can remain spiritual presences (e.g Don't look now) or can take the guise of witches (e.g. The Blair Witch Project), ghosts (The Haunting) or demons (The Exorcist). The characters fall prey to an evil force that is trying to victimise them in some way. The evil entity is doing this to gain vengeance, for example in The Blair Witch Project the witch is taking vengeance on the characters for trying to expose her. In Nightmare on Elm Street Freddie is taking revenge on the people who killed him by haunting the dreams of their children and stalking them in their dreams. In many haunted house stories the ghost simply resents the presence of the people who have just moved in. Sometimes the evil force wants to corrupt its victims to make them do evil e.g. The Shining. In this case the evil force wants to take control of its victim by taking over his body, mind or soul. Often in these stories there is the fight between good and evil in the Christian sense - temptation and sin. So there is usually a counter part to the evil force - a symbol of good.

Sound used within supernatural horrors tends to be:
- Fast paced music for tense scenes or action scenes
- Common use of choir singing
- Common use of a beat in the time of a drum/heart
- Piano/Organ music - whether it be fast or slow it has a spooky feel.

Although we have only used one of these main ideas of supernatural film sound, we have linked our sound to the mood and scenes shown in the trailer at the time. The suggestion of choir singing we have taken into account by using sounds made by several different people at the same time - the whispering done by Emily and I, as well as the different laughs used throughout our trailer.

Location within supernatural horrors tend to be based in places such as:
- Churches - huge relation to supernatural and Christ (main base for supernatural genre). The frequent links between supernatural films and religion are key, and are why we chose to have a ouija board as our main prop, and choose the title of Penance, a religious word for payment for sins.
- Barns/ Farms - deserted, dark, old
- Fields, country roads - deserted, associated with creepy looking surroundings eg. trees, animals and birds etc.

Although not one of the main location suggestions, we decided to use the home because we felt that this would be scariest for our audience - the home is where you are meant to feel the most safe, as nothing should harm you there - yet spirits have been allowed to violate and intrude into the home of one of the girls, and there is nothing they can do - they are exposed and vulnerable.

There are also conventions for the types of shots generally found in supernatural films, and we have followed most of these; handheld camera shots; quick zoom ins and outs; point of view shots; bird's eye for establishing shots; dirty shots.

Theory regarding the supernatural genre in films and audience reception
Witches, vampires and demons all have their roots in folklore. Before modern medicine many disorders, diseases and psychological illnesses were attributed to supernatural causes e.g. epilepsy was thought to be caused by possession by demons. So these mythologies are in our 'collective unconscious' and are brought to the surface by horror films.

Carlos Clarens believes that the horror film renders on film "the imminent fears of mankind: damnation, demonic possession, old age, death".

H.P Lovecraft - "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown".


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