First of all, my pre-production task was to create a storyboard for my horror movie. This first part of production was all important because it gave me ideas and supported me in developing my DVD cover and poster at a later stage. Since the genre was horror, I started doing in depth research to find out what the general conventions of a horror DVD cover consisted of. With this research I could ensure that all these were on my final design and inevitably get me the higher marks at the end. I researched four films by watching trailers for them or watching the movie themselves to give me a clear view on the genre of horror. I discovered from my research that many included silhouette and low contrast lighting to create mystery and suspense or included a primary fear factor e.g. a person or thing creating fear for the audience, in most cases both of these were used.
To compare the general conventions of horror I watched ‘insidious’ which is based around a little boy. This is a typical convention of a horror movie to use a small child as the focal point of terror. Nevertheless I had to persevere with this film in order to see how they portrayed the boy because up until the second half of the film the fear factor was with things going on around the unconscious little boy. Also I watched ‘Paranormal Activity’ which was a lot different from ‘insidious’ because although it was based primarily in a household, you don’t actually see any strange looking creatures. The only terror you do see is by possessed humans. The effect of the ‘haunted house’ in horror films is frequently used because it brings a sense of no escape which is demonstrated in ‘insidious’ when the terrors follow them to another house. These types of horrors are designed to keep the audience thinking on what’s going to happen next and there is more suspense. I kept this in mind when choosing the location for my movie. These two films are examples of more psychological horrors whereas when I watched the horror film ‘nightmare on Elm Street’ it was far more different. This is generally known as a slasher horror and it because there is a lot of blood and gore and many people dying. Also this wasn’t just based primarily in a house, a lot of moving around occurred during this film so I did bare this in mind when gathering all my ideas together.
To start with I needed to make a good film trailer in order to lure people in to seeing the film, attracting the target audience is essential. Therefore to get a strong view on the conventions of a film trailer, I watched trailers for sinister, insidious and the new Paranormal Activity 4 trailer. In these trailers it contained very similar conventions, a slow paced start with just scene setting and a brief story telling taking place, which is done with a voice over. As the trailers go on the pace gets quicker and the tension starts to build until it climaxes at the end, but suddenly having that one last shock as everything dies down just to put you on the edge of your seat again. The title release date came across the screen at the end of every trailer. Last of all I found out that the images used in the horror trailer isn’t always in order of narrative, they use them in the most interesting way possible. I found this out when I watched both the trailer and full movie of ‘insidious’ and it didn’t always follow the chronological order of events. I took this into account because it’s a good technique for making people want to explore the film and see how all the horror unfolds. Therefore I made sure that there was enough action and suspense to scare and keep the target audience on edge, but also not reveal too much which will leave people craving for the film to come out and go and see it.
I looked at several DVD covers of horror films to understand the conventions of the DVD cover and what would be required to appear on my final design. The DVD covers I looked at were Women in Black, The Last Exorcism…