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The Horror Genre Essay

1579 words - 7 pages

Media Studies Film Criticism Task- The Horror Genre Horror films have been a very big part of the filming world ever since the first ever horror film "Le Manior du Diable", made in 1896 by George Melies. In those early days, horror films were very theatrical and overacted, so audiences usually looked upon them as comedies. It was only in the 1920s when the genre was really started, and it was in the 1960s when the genre flourished. Films like "Psycho" by Alfred Hitchcock, shocked many audiences. Ever since then, horror has become one of the most popular of all genres. Horror has developed extensively over the years, from a primitive religious "˜monster', to modern day myths and ...view middle of the document...

During the eighties we were overcome by some very big budget "slasher" movies which involved many stabbing and slicing scenes, (e.g. Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm street) The Nineties followed this trend, but added a few creative and humorous touches (e.g. Urban Legend, Scream). The Nineties also saw the welcome back of the older forgotten horror genres, including supernatural themes etc (e.g. Stigmata, The Craft). This essay will discuss the different movies of the three different movie eras: 70s, 80s, and 90s. The changes that have been made in the horror genre and the different methods in which movies are made, mainly by comparing the three films viewed in class: "Jaws", "Halloween" and "Urban Legend".Jaws, although not very terrifying for today's audience, shocked the 1970s movie going audience. The highly graphical and bloody scenes such as when the boy is eaten and when Quint is killed were horrifying- and still are to some people. This movie relies a lot on blood and gore, to horrify its audience. Dislodged body parts and blood in the water, are trademark features of the "Jaws" movies. Steven Spielberg has also used POV (point of view shots) very well in this film. Whenever there is a shark on attack, we get to see its POV- unless there is a shock tactic involved. A very good and effective POV shot is viewed in the opening scene, we can see through the shark's eyes, and all we see is the water's surface and some legs, indicating that the shark is going to attack, building a lot of suspense. The POV shot is accompanied by a very good soundtrack, which builds the suspense even more. Throughout this film the soundtrack is used very well, it is definitely one of the most important elements of the film. The setting of this film is obviously very important due to the fact that sharks can only live in the water, so much of the action did occur out at sea. Murders did not necessarily occur during the night. In "Jaws" the horror generally comes from the fear of sharks, and the fact that sharks are real, and this may be real! In the 1980s we moved away from supernatural beings, monsters, aliens and sharks"¦ and it was the time for big-budget "slasher" films, and we have "Halloween" by John Carpenter to thank for it, (although this film wasn't necessarily a big-budget film). A psychopath (wearing a mask) is on the loose, killing teenage girls with a knife"¦ sound all too familiar to you? Surprisingly enough, at the time it was quite original. "Halloween", although quite boring now, was terrifying at the time, due to the fresh minds of the audience. POV shots are used in Halloween, just like in "Jaws." This is probably so, because of the strong 70s film style influence (this film was actually made in the 1970s) A good example of where a POV is taken is the opening scene, where Michael is only a child and the first killing takes place. We see the first killing through his mask. One fact that must be noted, is that whenever Michael is...

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