Horror Films Essay

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Final Exam
Horror Film Genre and Nightmare on Elm Street
Part 1 Genre is easily defined as, “A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter” according to dictionary.com. To look more specifically at horror film you need to analyze a film to find a few key elements such as, isolation, desolation, lost cause, and redemption. There are many more aspects that make a film a horror film but I feel as if these are some of the most important. Horror film has exploded since its start in 1922 with Nosferatu. However, the same themes and elements still exist today. Although it can be argued that the aspects of horror were different back when films like Nosferatu and writers like H.P. Lovecraft were around, but it remains still that it can be easy to get a good scream or to raise the hairs on the back of the audiences’ neck from a few tricks of the horror film genre. How do we recognize a horror film? Well, in my opinion, it has a lot to do with the setting. Much like a piece of writing you need to grab your reader’s attention, although film is a different type of portrayal, it is first and foremost a piece of writing before it is a film. Some tings that give it away are elements of darkness, or the inability to see, a sense of being lost or a state of confusion. Something a film can use is sound; both diegetic and non-diegetic. The soundtrack music will be eerie and strange. The diegetic sounds can be screeching, or screaming. These things will begin to first put your audience at a sense of unease. A gloomy or hard to see setting helps as well. Its further heightens the feeling of fear, not only in the main character (s), but also in the audiences. Characters in the film need to have a loss, not in life but a loss of something that seems to be missing to have them move on or recover from a moment in their lives that challenges them. Character development in horror film can happen as at the beginning or as the plot “thickens”. Tone is very important as well. A film maker can create a great setting for the film, but the tome needs to be carried on throughout the film. Plenty of suspense and mystery needs to be present. It makes the watcher feel uneasy if they are confused or don’t know what is going on. Holding back information that will (sometimes) lead the resolution of the film can give a great mood and tone throughout the film. The atmosphere and theme of the film have to make the audience insecure about what they are watching. With recent films, such as, Hostel, the Saw collection or the newest, Sinister, I find myself asking, “Why am I watching this? People are getting tortured and killed and I am watching for entertainment?” All these films have done very well, but for the same reasons. Its not just a suspenseful watch, it is the theme of making your audience somewhat uncomfortable for watching the film. Another theme or atmosphere to set is reality. You want your audience to think, “This could happen to me”. If they start thinking in that way, you have a great film. In films such as The Collector, this atmosphere is very much present, given that it is set in real time, with a real enemy that is out for blood, and for no good reason. Unlike the un-believable characters that continue to come back to life after dying several times in several different ways like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, evil people like this leave the atmosphere to feel very uncomfortable. Some elements of style, such as mise-en-scene or the cinematography are very important as well. They set the mood for the scene to take place. See below for specific details in Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street.
Part 2
Some elements that go into the beginning sequence of Nightmare on Elm Street are the use of several different and specific parts that make up the whole of a scene, otherwise known as mise-en-scene or the cinematography. The First thing…