British Horror Essay

995 words - 4 pages

British Horror seems to feature very similar narrative themes and characters. The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005) and Dracula (Terrence Fisher, 1958) are films that present very typical narratives, characters and conventions of British Horror films.

British horror mostly follows a definite narrative structure which is usually Todorov’s five steps to a narrative structure; Equilibrium, disruption of equilibrium, realisation of disruption, attempt to repair and finally a reestablishment of the equilibrium. Also you could use Syd Field’s 3 act narrative structure; an overview to the genre, characters and what the film will be about. A conflict with the protagonist involved in a number of ...view middle of the document...

Dracula is a very typical British Horror in the point that it follows Todorov’s theory throughout; Harker travels from his home to Dracula’s castle which is isolated, Harker is then bitten, Van Helsing is given Harker’s diary and he then goes to Dracula’s castle and finds Harker, Van Helsing uses things that Harker has written in his diary and Dracula’s mistakes to learn from them how to finally defeat Dracula. Dracula is also very typical to Hammer Horror because of its iconography; Blood, stakes, crucifix, castle, gargoyles and gothic themes. Dracula is also typical of Hammer Horror because of the female characters and the way they are represented. Lucy and the un-named female vampire are very sexualised in the way they act and what they’re wearing. Lucy’s night dress is faintly transparent and the female vampire’s wears a low cut dress. As Lucy allows herself to be seduced by Dracula even though she is engaged she breaks the sanctity of marriage and therefore her character must die. However even though Mena is bitten she gives doesn’t give into Dracula and is ultimately saved by her commitment to marriage. This reflected the sexist society in which the film was released and marriage was a more meaningful thing.
The other film I studied was ‘The Descent’. It is typical of British Horror in the sense it follows most of Todorov’s theory but disregards the last stage; characters travel from their home country the wilderness in America, they travel down to the caves and get trapped then realise it is an unexplored cavern system. Then they come to the realisation they are not alone as the crawlers attack the group which ends with two deaths. The remaining characters then become aware of the crawlers weakness which is that they are blind/Sarah finds out that Juno and her husband had been having an affair when he was alive. This is one of the events which transform her into a ‘modern...

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