Sunday, 13 February 2011

Codes and Conventions of horror

One of the books i used for research is Horror Films( James Marriott) which looks at some of the most iconic films in the genre.
From looking at horror films it is clear that they will always have a audience because this genre acts as a place for directors and film makers to test out their idea which will later filter out into the main stream but in more subtle ways. Horror is one of the only genres were having a low budget can create a big profit, for example Saw had a budget of $1.2 million and a total gross of $55 million. This is evidence that there is a market for horror films.

One of the most popular figures in horror has to be the vampire. Although we are not using any vampires in our opening it is still useful to have a brief look at the basic conventions. The main convention of vampires are;

  • Having fangs
  • Drinking blood
  • Not being able to have contact with sunlight
  • Casting no shadow
These conventions are used less in modern vampire films such as Daybreakers where the vampires are trying to find a way of creating artificial blood for the vampires. Things such as using syringes and razors instead of fangs are becoming more common. Nosferatu (1992) was one of the first films to have a  vampire.

Sound: Fluctuating tempos are used to build suspense (periodically) Many old horror films using instruments such as organs to create loud eerie sounds. Psycho used 'screaming violins' to keep the audience constantly on edge. Many of the low budget films started being more creative in ways to find sound as they didn't have a huge budget. A melon was used to create the sounds in the iconic 'shower scene'.

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