A film genre is a style or category of film which is a way of classifying its content.
Genres have conventions which are the small elements of films such as music,
character types which allow us to identify different types of films from one another.
These conventions evolve over time as film makers aim to create new and exciting
storylines and sub genres.
3. Genre Research: Horror
In horror films, the opening scene often starts out calm and normal, then often turning
into chaos through a short build up of suspense, an establishing shot is often used in
order to set the setting and the time for the audience. This allows atmosphere to build
and this is where the main character(s) are usually introduced. Horror films also often
foreshadow the plot of the rest of the film in the first few minutes of the opening scene.
4. Film Opening: Dawn of the Dead
In the opening of ‘dawn of the dead’ the company ‘universal pictures’ appears in red
and then continues to run across the screen as blood. This is used very often at the
beginning of horror films as it is a subtle way to introduce genre. Titles are important
to this particular genre, for example the screen title has become extremely iconic of
the hit series in which white text fades into a blood red.
We can refer to this as a
5. Foreshadowing what will happen…
The opening of horror movies often
aim to foreshadow what will happen
as the plot unfolds. This helps to keep
the viewer hooked on the story line as
they will want to know what happens
next. Using scenes such as the one I’ve
included below are often used in the
opening sequence of zombie films,
along with news reports, pictures of
attempted cures and vaccines and
images of the world falling apart by
showing cars and neighbourhoods in
ruin. Usually this images are a vague
compilation which aim to make the
viewer think and help to build
6. First Shots
The first few shots of the opening of dawn of the dead allow the audience to
establish a sense of setting. This can be referred to as an establishing shot which
helps the viewer grasp a sense of time and place. This helps to build suspense as
the viewers are introduced to a sense of normality and peace in the first few shots
and then slowly this deteriorates.
This shot of the family photo introduces us to the characters,
and allows us to connect to the characters before the rest of
the plot unfolds in the next scene.
The alarm clock provides a sense o
setting and normality.
7. In the next part of the scene, there is a gradual zoom on the outside of the door to the
room we were just shown. This is a convention of horror as the gradual and slow zoom
often helps to build tension and suspense, keeping the audience on the edge of their
seats, waiting for what will happen next.
8. Introduction of Main Character
The introduction of the main character in the horror genre is crucial as the
audience will therefore build an attachment to this character as they follow them
along their journey. This means a characters murder/death is more important and
will receive a bigger reaction from the audience.
Here we are introduced to a middle
aged couple sleeping in bed together.
This shows the normality and happiness
they are experiencing together. This also
allows a contrast to build with the
9. Music/Sound Effects to introduce Genre
Music is often used in horror films in order to introduce the genre of the film to the
audience and to create atmosphere. The music used at the beginning of the scene
is instantly full of suspense and tension. Even along with the peaceful and normal
imagery of the scenes, the music which goes along with it is an entirely different
story. This attempts to prepare the viewer for what might happen next.