Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Evaluative Question 1 - In what ways does your media product use, develop, or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our media product is the result of a combination of two horror film sub-genres, teen and supernatural/possessive. The blend itself is a subversion of general horror conventions with there being several teenage characters largely being associated with slasher flicks such as Sorority Row; in true possession films narrative is largely focused around one teen girl among adults, for example, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the pseudo documentary, The Last Exorcism. Our product challenges the conventional group of characters in a possessive horror this is because of the feedback we received from initial questionnaires regarding the identity of our main demographic; females between the ages of 15 and 18.

The narrative location is briefly outside of the girls’ school and within one of the characters' homes; these are safe places in which a violation would be most frightening. This choice is a fairly typical convention of real media products that we agreed would also be effective in our piece. The home becomes a prison when the spirit takes hold of the girls.


A feature frequently used in trailers is the use of a voiceover or, more commonly an abundance of dialogue. We subverted this convention and only used one phrase in our media product, "What do you want?", which is screamed by one character directly into the camera, giving the audience the point of view of the possessed. Dialogue gives the audience more insight into the narrative of the film; we however, felt it more important to concentrate onappropriate mise en scene to give an idea of the narrative and the genre, for example, the ouija board. A non-diegetic soundtrack did much of the work of a voiceover, developing this idea into something more effective. One film that include both of these features is The Craft, a poorly received horror film from the 90s. 
We chose to associate our media piece with film companies Twisted Pictures and Dark Castle. We used their institutional idents to help give an indication of the genre and associate our film with others that have used these institutions. Institutional idents are a traditional feature in film trailers of all genres.


Without the code of heavy dialogue it was important to define our characters for audience, and let them stereotype them. By dressing them in school uniforms reminiscent of that of St Trinians it was easy to give the idea of upper-class private school girls, promiscuity and rebellion.

The use of conventionally attractive actors is a broad and common feature of trailers of all genres, only really differing when the narrative of the film is somewhat based on a character's disfigurement or simply that they are monsters. Attractive actors make films appealing towards those of the opposite sex and especially important in a film of this type. We conformed to this convention in order to make the film appealing to men, with women already interested because of they are unable to relate to the characters. An example of this is Sorority Row, a film that could be considered a 'Chick Flick' because of the majority of female characters, despite its genre. Attractive women and sexy clothing e.g. lingerie, make this film also appeal to men.

Teen party clothing such as that in Sorority Row or Night of the Demons reflects the desperate nature of the situation by becoming torn, dirty and often bloodied; this typical aspect didn't play a part in our production. In fact, very little clothing is seen after the turning point of the trailer; the characters continue to wear the same clothing but the low level lighting and frequent extreme close ups does not advertise this There is more than a suggestion however, of the dire and dangerous environment they are in demonstrated by a host of wounds, cuts and bruises display on our characters in the final third of the trailer.

Final Girl Theory can often be applied to horror films; these include Halloween, The Ring, The Grudge and Sorority Row. Although usually associated with Slashers, our Possessive/Supernatural Horror trailer was made with the idea  that the most morally 'pure' character would survive to defeat the demon. This is displayed mainly by the use of a weapon and that fact she is set apart from her peers by not
'pursuing pleasure', for example, smoking and dressing provocatively.

The use of a knife as a weapon by the protagonist demonstrates the important skill of utilising the environment in order to give a better chance of survival. Weapons in horror films are generally
items found around the home in the desperate struggle to protect themselves and the other characters. Examples of this include Laurie in the 1978 film Halloween, in order to defend herself
against the crazed killer. The hint of subversion of this traditional convention is the actual pointlessness and hopelessness of such a weapon against a possessive evil spirit. This weapon is very
unlikely to defeat the evil antagonist and therefore will only provide temporary protection, if that.

Teaser trailers generate an interest in the audience generally by showing some of the most exciting material of the film. These are fast cut in and often in an order that does not match the true order of the film. This gives little of the narrative away. This technique of creating disequilibrium is jarring to the audience and is a way of pulling them in.  Despite this however, our one minute teaser trailers also features scenes to establish information such as the location and characters, despite being a more of a characteristic of a theatrical trailer. Usually, in this kind of trailer about half of the product is dedicated to the establishment of the initial situation and the rest to confuse and entice the audience with the disruption of the situation, relating closely to Todorov’s Theory. We subverted the convention of disequilibrium so that we might include more of the narrative in our trailer.

  • Our poster most obviously conforms to forms and conventions of the genre by featuring the film’s antagonist.
  • Rule of thirds that is often used to create effective posters, this poster uses very defined sections. Our product does conform to this but not entirely accurately, giving a jarring effect on the audience.
  • The bold whiteness of the face stands out against the background. White is a common colour used in the horror genre, usually coupled with red; this however is not featured.
    Unlike in teen horror posters such as Sorority Row or The Craft, only one girl instead of the whole group of characters is present, suggesting that she has some significance to the plot. This is namely as the embodiment of the antagonistic spirit, appearing decaying and threatening.
  • Like the poster of the film Orphan, this poster employs the one iconic portrait.  However, it is to the side, creating a landscape image with the title present on the other side.
  • Shadows around the image signify the darkness of the film and also so there are no distractions from the image, this is a convention we conform to because of its effectiveness. An example of this is the film poster of The Number 23. 

Our webpage is very typical of the horror genre and largely conforms to codes and conventions.
· Black background and same iconic image shows the threat and mystery of the events in the film, parallel to that featured on the poster.
· The title text of the page is at top in the centre, clearly standing out against the rest of the information on the page.
· There are share options linking to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube, something that has become very common among sites that generate interest with viral campaigns.
· There are links so that more of the page could be explored, as well as large font in order to draw attention and clearly mark the different options.
· There is the option to pre-order the DVD, online shopping in the second function of any film webpage, after promotion. Our film conforms to typical codes around the film generating profit.
· Teaser trailer centre of the page, with the tagline of the film and the release date underneath it.
· Involvement of secondary images on the page such as the planchette that give clues to the genre and the narrative.
· Placement of portrait makes her appear somewhat predatory, and follows the idea of the rule of thirds.
· The main soundtrack has not been included. The site remains silent except for the teaser trailer when played to keep the focus on it. This is one thing that is uncommon among movie websites and a code we have subverted.

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