Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Horror Genre: Codes and conventions of opening Horror Films

Trick or treat: (1986) Charles Martin Smith
  • The production company is "De Laurents Entertainment Group
  • The logo for this company is a lion
  • These were presented on a black blackground in white writing, the sans serif connotes that it is the production company of a horror film
  • There is "spooky" sounds being played over the production titles, heavy breathing
  • Shaky camera work
  • The title is in sans serif, again connoting it's horror, it is also in orange, the colour you connote with Halloween (trick or treat being what young kids do on Halloween-tradition)
  • The cast and producers etc is also in sans serif
  • The name of the cast is a sub-title over the first image- something that we may have to use in our own openings as we are limited to two minutes
  • The titles at the beginning last approximately 50 seconds, a more realistic time that we may use for own, maybe a bit less
  • There is a own title saying the film stars Ozzy Osbourne, a very famous music artist, which also adds exposition as he is into rock, which is connoted through mise en scene in the opening
  • The music gradually gets louder which then leads on to the mise en scene that is connoted in the boys bedroom, it is non-diegetic
  •  In the boys bedroom there is rock books, chains, stud belts, skulls, posters of rock bands and DVD players connoting the character is into the rock genre, and heavy metal, he is connoted as quite gothic, this is all mise-en-scene providing exposition
  •  There is a voice-over, of whom is presumed to be the main character, as if he is talking what he is writing in his diary, again talking about a rock band, adding exposition and foreshadowing the contents of the movie
  • This film links into our movie, as the boy is talking about a girl he likes, he waves at her and she ignores him, the boy is un-noticed by her, this relates to our movie as the stereotypical stalker is the "loner" the boy who is not recognised by the girl, the girl does not even know him, stereotypically in a stalker film the girl does not know the boy well, and does not know he likes her, yet he is often close to them in the sense of they work together, they go to the same school, etc.  

Friday the 13th: (2009) Marcus Nispel
  • Paramount production- the logo of the mountains is red- connoting horror, violence and blood
  • There is a non diegetic music, with sharp sounds, almost sounding like a knife, this connotes it is horror
  • New line cinema, Time warner company- also in red connoting horror
  • In association with Micheal Bay, white serif font on a black background, connoting it is a horror film
  • Exposition is shown through a subtitle, "June 13th 1980"
  • There is rain, and a forrest, connoting something is going wrong
  • There is then a sign saying "Lamp Crystal Lake" again giving exposition of where the film is set
  • There is then a loud thunder, which synk's with the girl coming on screen, crying, and running
  • There is then the actress's name, presumably the girl whom is on screen
  • There is then screams and cry's
  • And again an actress's name
  • The camera then goes back to the girl running through the forrest, to build up tension, to make you want to know what she is running away from
  • There is then again an actress's name on screen
  • A woman then approaches the girl near the lake, this is connoted to be whom the girl is running away from
  • And there is an actors name, this helps to build up tension
  • It then goes back to the same girl, and exposition is provided by the woman saying to the girl "Your the last one, I killed all the others" Connoting this girl in the clip is about to be killed, or she is the final girl
  • Also connotes the film is going back in time
  • Then again there is actors and actresses names
  • And exposition is again provided by the woman saying "It will be easier for you than it was for Jason, you need to be punished for what you did to him"
  • This connotes the girl has done something wrong, and the woman is getting revenge
Bride of Chucky- (1998) Ronnie Yu
  • Universal- the logo is of an earth
  • Non-diegetic music, music going from high to low, chilling
  • White gothic serif font- universal pictures presents "A David Kirschner Production" on a black background
  • A Ronny Yu film
  • Exposition is provided through the American flag- this connotes that it is set in America
  • The rain and thunder connote horror, create tension, connotes something bad is going to happen
  • The big building and the sign "Lockport Police dept. evidence depository" connotes that something has happened in the police station, or something is going to happen
  • Thunder over the sign cause tension
  • Exposition is provided through the objects that are fenced up, such as the masks, and guns, connote these are weapons used for evidence
  • A police officer then opens a lock saying "unsolved" this connotes a murder, or some sort of crime that hasn't been solved
  • The man then drives with the belongings from the locker in his car, shots towards the belongings connote something wrong is going to happen
  • The man then swerves in the road, this is a false scare to the audience
Halloween- (1978) John Carpenter
  • A compass international pictures release- this is red writing which then flashes orange, connoting horror but also links into the name of the title, and when the film is set, orange is a symbol of halloween the red connotes horror, violence and blood
  • Moustapha Akkad presents
  • The orange writing suggests the movie is set on halloween, along with the title 
  • Non-diegetic music gradually gets louder- two strings- builds tension and causes you to skip a heartbeat
  • The orange pumpkin on the side of the screen also provides exposition of when the film is set
  • "Donald Pleasence in John Carpenter's Halloween" this is in serif font to connote horror, the director and the film name go together, this is something we could use to give us more time to spend on the film
  • "A Debra Hill production"
  • Introducing Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie- Jamie's Mother, Janet Leigh, is famous for her role in Psycho, this may widen the audience
  • Actors and actresses names, all again, flashing from red to orange, again giving exposition of halloween and connoting horror
  • It gives the actors and actresses names and their characters names together- another thing we could do to save time on titles
  • It then give screenplay, editors, directors of photography etc. 
  • Gradually zooms in on the pumpkin
  • There is then non-diegetic music of children singing a famous halloween song
  • Exposition is provided through the sub title "Haddonfield, Illinois" "Halloween night 1963" This tells he audience when and where it is set
A Nightmare On Elm Street- 2 (1985) Jack Sholder
  • A red background with black writing "New Line Cinema" this flashes, connoting horror, violence, death
  • There is then the image of a bus driving down a road, connoted as a school bus by it's stereotypical looks, yellow, and it also says "school bus" on the front
  • There is then sub-titles of the production companies, "New line cinema, heron communications and smart egg pictures presents A Robert Shaye Production" 
  • Non diegetic music, spooky, gradually gets louder, connoting something is going to happen
  • The title of the film comes up in red and glowing this suggests that it is to do with horror, blood, violence
  • There is also non diegetic slasher sounds like a knife as the title appears on screen
  • It then says "Freddys revenge" in blue, connoting cold, sci-fi, something is not right
  • It then comes up  with whom the film stars
  • Exposition is provided that it is set on school teens, as school children get off the bus, this is connoted by them carrying books and having school bags
  • The co-producers names then come up as a sub-title in white
  • There is then a boy sat in the corner of a boy, exposition provided that he is a "geeky boy" as he is alone and also ginger, this is stereotypical of a "geek"
  • The editor etc names then come up as a sub-title
  • There is then a focus on a character sat alone, looks nervous and tense, the girls are laughing at him, connoting he is not seen as "cool" 
Cry wolf- (2005) Jeff Wadlow 
  • Rogue pictures- white writing, which is flashing, sharp music, connoting horror, blue, connotes coldness and sci-fi
  • Black scream but you can hear diegetic music of the girl screaming (you can't yet see her but you eventually do)
  • This causes tension and gets the audience to think for themselves, gives a narrative enigma
  • You then see a girl running through a forrest, with someone behind her, the person behind her as a torch, connoting they are searching for her
  • She is crying and there is heavy breathing, emphasis on the sounds of her feet and rustles of the leaves
  • The girl trips over, this connotes something bad is going to happen
  • A change in the music synks with the torch light getting brighter
  • The spooky sound and rustle of leaves connotes they are alone
  • The phone gives exposition of the name of girl, "Becky"
  • You then hear the phone ring, a bang and it changes scene
  • This scares the audience, as they then think for themselves what has happened, it also anchors that the film may have gone back in time
Scream- (1996) Wes Craven 
  • Dimension films- in blue writing- chilling, cold, 
  • There is a bang when it comes on screen, connoting horror, 
  • The title "Scream" is in white on a back background
  • There is a phone ringing in the background
  • The title then flashes red, connoting horror
  • You then hear a non-diegetic distant scream
  • There is then knife slash sounds, and the title turns red
  • It then zooms in on the title
  • The scream then gets more and more loud, then stops and you hear a faint heartbeat, this adds tension and connotes horror
  • There is then a transition to a woman answering the phone
  • You can hear the man on the other line but can't see him
  • There is then a shot of outside the house, a lonely swing, creeking, this adds tension, makes you feel the caller is outside the house, this is chilling
  • There is then a loud bang which acts as a false scare
  • The girl puts some popcorn on the oven, which has a loud bang, makes the audience jumpy
  • The girl picks up the knife, a slash sound, which synks together
  • The girl then talks about her favourite horror film which foreshadows the film
When A Stranger Calls- (1979) Fred Walton
  • A black background, with white writing in serif font, connotes horror
  • There is non-diegetic nature sounds, rustle of leaves, the sound of footsteps, connotes someone is working yet you can't see him due to the title and black screen
  • "A Barry Khost Production" 
  • The music gets louder, but you can still hear faint footsteps
  • There is then the actors names, the title, and then there is a transition to a street
  • There is two streetlights turned on, as you can gradually see a person walking down the street, builds tension
  • There is then sub-titles of all involved in the movie
  • You then see the actress walking into a house, it is dark, you can't see all the house, builds up tension
  • It is then a false scare as the girls turns out to be just a babysitter for the couple who live in the house 
The Lost boys- (1987) Joel Schumacher 




  • Warner Brothers Pictures
  • Non-diegetic vocal harmony
  • Warner Brothers Productions- white writing 
  • Richard Donner production- title is as the camera is panning the sea
  • The directors name- "Joel Schumacher" then comes on screen- auteur theory- suggesting the director is taking the majority of the credit for the film
  • Approximately 50 seconds worth of titles
  • The title "The Lost Boys" then appears in a serif font- emphasis on the "T" making the ends of the T look like fangs, connotes the movie genre, about vampires
  • The blue sea connotes that it is horror, sci-fi, a very cold movie
  • There is then an establishing shot of a fairground, which is also a helicopter shot (This is something we would not be able to do)
  • There is then a cut, a transition to the fair ground
  • Non diegetic music is playing
  • The names of the actors comes on screen at approximately 3 minutes into the film (something we would not be able to do as ours is the opening two minutes- but we would have less actors/actresses to present on screen)
  • The music changes on entrance of the first character- connoting he is the main actor and the antagonist
  • He is also connoted to be the antagonist- this is anchored by mise-en-scene and the clothing he is wearing, he is wearing all black and has a smirk on his face
  • Another few characters then come into the shot, one of them touches his teeth, signifying he is a vampire
  •  The weakness of the authority figure of the police man shows the target audience of youths, it connotes that teenagers will most probably be the heroes in this movie, no authority figure in movies is the heroe (parents, police, God) 
  • Typical policeman- large, moustache
  • There is a sound motif, which signifies the presence of a killer, sharp beats, this is the same as in Friday the 13th, when Jason kills
  • The audio connotes an attack, there is no image of the police officer being attacked, but the audio and screaming connotes that he is, it makes the audience think for themselves and not have to show the whole attack/murder
  • This can help us with our opening of our film, as we don't necessarily have to show the attack of the female, we could connote it, we could also use serif font for our titles, signifying it is of the horror genre

    Sorority Row- (2009) Stewart Hendler 
    • "Summit Entertainment"  white serif font on a black background, this connotes horror
    • It then zooms into a house, like the famous horror "Trick or Treat" 
    • Non-diegetic sound
    •  There is then a false scare, the girl screaming, this adds tension, makes the audience think everything is ok for the time being
    • The party connotes something bad is going to happen, as they are all drinking alcohol
    • How-ever the refusing of sharing the alcohol connotes something is going to happen
    • Mild nudity is signified through mise-en-scene and the costumes the girls are wearing, this again connotes something bad is going to happen to these characters, as stereotypically the "scream queens" are the ones who drink, and have sexual encounters
    • Close up of the girls dancing, connotes these are the main actresses in the film
    • A blue filter can then be seen, connotes horror, coldness, danger

    2 comments:

    1. Exceptionally detailed megan! Note btw: its serif or sans-serif, not serif sans! Its important now to draw up a summary of all of this: what are the common conventions (and indicate where you've seen these with each point)

      ReplyDelete