Essay on Slashers: Horror Film and Audience Expectations

Submitted By Jessiemessy2
Words: 1787
Pages: 8

Genres are based on the ideas of repetition and difference. Within the genre, the repetition is the common conventions audience expectations of character, story, structure, context and instructions associated with the genre.
For the slasher genre, regardless of cycle, the repetition is... * The killer * The final girl * The initial scare * The pot event * The body count * The knife * The isolated setting * The ineffectual parents * Subjective camera * The phone * Wes craven * Robert Englund * New line cinema * Scream quotes * Franchise / sequels

The difference in most genres can be that subtle changes between the films and the genre. For example, the knife should be different – machete, chainsaw, kitchen knife. If they were all hunting knives, it would be boring.
Feminism relates to the social and civil rights moment concerning equality between the genders and for this equality to e socially, culturally, and historically and, most importantly recognised.
The feminist movement falls in to 3 distant waves. In broad general terms they are: * 1st wave – the suffrage movement and the right to vote c. 1890 – 1910. * 2nd wave – the woman’s liberation movement, equal rights, equal pay, abortion legalized, widespread contraception. * 3rd wave – the post feminist movement, beauty is empowerment sexualisation equals power.

Cycle one of slashers are traditionally considered sexist or misogynistic in that the there is a strong hatred towards woman evident. The female characters are weak highly sexualised and often brutally murdered; punishment for their independence of sexual liberation from the 70’s. There were also the idea that ‘she’ grained power by taking ‘his’, not through internal personal strength. Guarantee physiological
However the 3rd wave feminism heavily influenced the slasher genre. It was no longer socially accepted ‘to’ punish women in brutal means – times had changed, including the growth of female audiences for genres like horror. Post modernism and playing with the formula of genre allowed the female characters to be depicted stronger more independent and equal to the male characters. Sidney deeply embodies this. She challenges ghost face over the phone about ‘scary movies’, continues to survive and when she does sleep with Billy, it has been her choice all along.
Casting known figures as Neve Campbell, Country Cox, and Jenifer love Hewitt and Sarah Michele Gellar drew in a distinctly broader audience. Many of the same tenets are upheld, epically those of the ‘looser’ female characters (Casey is not that virtuous), yet on the other side of the victim list, the female characters are strong, independent, resourceful and above all equal to the male characters.
Cycle 2 captured the ‘girl power’ zeitgeist of the 1990’s where much of the new feminism centred on characters like Sidney from scream or Buffy. Feminism has changed since, often becoming synonymous with the term ‘lesbian’, yet as the ‘princessification’ of an entire generation, the level of feminism has decreased. The feminism of cycle 2 was a way in reclaiming the place of women in the slasher genre, Laurie (Cycle 1) may have been the first in the line, yet the model was shaped, updated and empowered into and ironic figure on par with the masked killer Sidney Prescott.
Why did cycle one slashers die?
With the huge profileration of slashers in the 80’s, a glut in the market has been creating. Too much product drives down demand, especially considering the very things that make a genre created a kind of predictable that becomes stale. The yearly installements of icons (Freddy, Jason, and Michael) were not capturing the audience’s imagination anymore – the scares were less frequent and the cheese was on the increases. The audiences wanted to be entertained and Jason in spare was not cutting it.
The VCR also plays a part, the audience could now buy