• Horror is a genre of film that seeks negative emotion from its audience by playing on their fears
• The first horror films came about in the late early 20th century with a supernatural theme as the
first Frankenstein film was made in 1910.
• Gothic horror became popular in the 1930’s under Universal studios. More Frankenstein and
Dracula films were made and the first signs of Egyptology were evident with ‘The Mummy’.
Werewolf themed films were also introduced as the ‘Wolf Man’ was created 1941.
• As technology improved in the 50’s and 60’s more sub-genres became common e.g. the horror-of-armageddon
film and the horror-of-the-demonic film. Alien invasions and mutations in films were
popular as Godzilla came to screens for the first time. British films were then introduced under
The Hammer company where sequels of Frankenstein and Dracula were both produced. Ghosts
and monsters still remained a frequent feature of horror, but many films used the supernatural
premise to express the horror of the demonic.
• The late 20th century saw "Evil children" and reincarnation becoming popular subjects for
example: ‘The Omen’ (1976). Slasher fims were very common and a succession were created
including: Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. This continued in the 90’s
with sequels of many of these films being made however some say that this ‘’wore out horror.’’
• The routine in the 2000’s was remakes of previous popular films such as: The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre and The Hills have eyes. Currently in the 2010.s horror movies have developed into
television series’ for example: The Walking dead and American Horror Story .
• Horror films tend to be set in large, dark houses with lots of corridors. Others
are in isolated locations or run down places with abandoned areas. Pathetic
fallacy plays a large part as it is often cold, dark and gloomy in these films
which always suggest that normality is no longer presenet. This is ensured by
the use of low key lighting. There is normally an innocent character who is
always victimised by a monster, creature or person who always attempts to
track down the main character. The narrative of horrors tends to be classically
played however some are left open at the end for a future sequel. The main
idea of a horror is for the main protagonist to solve the problems and defeat
or get rid of the antagonist. The main antagonists that tend to be used are:
ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves, demons, gore, torture, vicious animals,
evil witches, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers.
4. AUDIENCE PROFILE
• Psychographics- Horror films would ideally relate to Mainstreamers as if they are
the popular genre at a certain time then they would probably follow this trend and
become involved in the genre themselves. If comedy or another genre however, is
very common in a particular moment in time then horror could appeal to explorers
who want to be different from the crowd. They will explore all genres and possibly
become interested in another genre e.g.: Horror.
• Demographics- The age rating of horror films is normally from 15-30 mainly due to
the BBFC ratings that they are given. They appeal to both males and females due
to shown statistics and the ethnicity would be predominantly white as most lead
actors in these films are of this ethnicity. This genre would most likely apply to
someone of a social grading of C1-D as they have a job and therefore the money to
either buy the film or go and watch it at the cinema however they are still
interested in films like this without having other things in their life that someone
with a higher social grading may have.
• Horror films have existed for a long period of time however they have not always been the most popular genre
• Many people prefer bright happy comedies or Rom Coms although it does depend on what type of film you enjoy
yourself and what influences you.
• Big horror films have always been present and are the most common genre to have remakes made out of films so they
must be very popular if the producers continue to freshen them up
• These remakes have been popular in recent times and have rather revived horror after its small decline at the very
beginning of the 21st century.
• Small children has returned as a recent theme as they are currently a huge fear for many audiences therefore are more
eager to watch them.
These figures show the amount of films released in
the UK and ROI in 2012. Here we can see that Horror
movies have an average box office percentage of
10,200 per site. The total site amount is 6,077 which is
the 4th highest based on genre so they are obviously
still very popular with a very large audience mass.
6. WHY DO AUDIENCES WATCH THEM?
• People often watch horror films because they enjoy the way their emotions and
fears are tested within the genre. Many like this rush of adrenaline and are
entertained by their reactions and the way that they respond.
• Some other people however are mainstreamers and watch horror films to join in
with a crowd and to say that they have seen it. They may not enjoy the film or
even the genre of it but they believe that they will fit in to a certain group if they
can say that they have seen the film.
• Another reason why these films are popular is because people are eager to watch
a sequel or a remake of a horror film that they have enjoyed. Remakes are popular
in the horror genre which keeps the content fresh.
7. AUDIENCE THEORIES
• The desensitisation theory is often evident in horror films because if somebody is exposed
to this type of film more often then the less effected they will be by it.
• The uses and gratifications theory is clear in this genre of film because some peoples
ideas of entertainment are being scared. It comes under the ‘entertainment’ title of the
theory because it allows people to escape and relax from their daily troubles and woes of
life whilst they enjoy a tense horror film.
• The Levi - Strauss theory also applies to horror films as they often contain a battle
between Sane and Insane. They are total opposites which are often defined as ‘binary
opposites’ as it is necessary for that person to have an opposition.
8. TYPES OF HORROR FILM
• A recent theme is small children, (most often girls) as film producers have identified these as a potential fear
or weaknesses for current audiences. Films of this theme consist of: The Conjuring, Sinister, Annabelle, The
Others, The Ring and the Exorcist.
• Action horror- involves the intrusion of an evil force or event with lots of gunfights and chases. May include,
zombies, vampires, zombies with lots of gore.
• Body Horror- Derived from regeneration of the body. Others may include unnatural movements or incorrect
place of limbs to form a ‘monster’.
• Comedy Horror- This combines comedy and horror fiction. E.g. Scary Movie.
• Gothic Horror- A story containing goth and horror. They are normally suspenseful but often unfold with
Romance as older Horror films tended to do.
• Natural horror- Features nature and animals which often evolve into cold-blooded killers.
• Slasher film- Revolves around a killer looking to graphically kill a sequence of victims normally with cutting
• Splatter film- Focus or graphic events and portrayals of violence using special effects for the interest of the
vulnerability of the human body.
• Zombie film- Involves creatures portrayed as reanimated corpses or mindless humans.
9. BBFC RATING
Information from: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/education-resources/
• BBFC has treated horror as a special case as it is a unique genre where serious
amounts of emotion are evident throughout this genre of film. They introduced a ‘H’
for horror to warn the public of the scary content involved within the film however
horror films were banned from distribution altogether in the latter years of the
second world war due to a possible decline in public morale. In the 80s and 90s, the
Friday 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream series, as well as recent 21st
century remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, (the original having been rejected
on film in 1975 before finally being rated 18 uncut on film in 1999), and Dawn Of The
Dead have proved hugely successful with newer, younger audiences, restabilising the
horror genre as a top box office draw. Many children enjoy the excitement of scary
sequences, but where films are targeted at a younger audience, age rating decisions
will take into account such factors as the frequency, length and detail of scary scenes
as well as horror effects, including music and sound, and whether there is a swift and
reassuring outcome. Most horror films are rated 15 or 18 however some films are
very controversial e.g.: The Woman in Black which was rated 12 despite high amounts
of gore and very strong visuals
10. BBFC CONTINUED
• Most horror films tend to be classified at 15 or 18 and these ratings have very interesting
effects on the audience.
• If the film is rated at a 15 then it is available to a wider range of audiences who want to
come and watch these scary films. This can however have a negative effect on the
audience mass because older audiences may believe that it is not scary enough for their
liking and therefore will not go to watch them.
• If it is rated 18 however, the film will have a higher ‘scare’ level. Some people are more
encouraged to watch scarier films and many of these are rated 18. This rating can be
negative though as it is not available to anyone under the age of 18 therefore the
audience range watching the film will be more limited than if it was a 15 film.
11. COMMON HORROR FILM ACTORS
• Boris Karloff- The Monster in Frankenstein and Ardeth Bey in The Mummy
• Bela Lugosi- Count Dracula in Dracula and Ygor in the Son of Frankenstein
• Robert Englund- Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street
• Peter Cushing- Van Helsing in Dracula and John Banning in The Mummy
• Jamie Lee Curtis- Laurie Strode in Halloween and Alana Maxwell in Terror Train
• Jack Nicholson- Jack Torrance in The Shining and Frank Costello in The Departed
• Brad Douriff- Chucky in Child’s play and the sequels and Sheriff Lee Brackett in
Halloween and Halloween 2
• Linda Blair- Regan Macneil in the exorcist and the sequels and Marti Gaines in Hell Night.
13. TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS
• This title sequence begins with some spooky, non diegetic music. This is used to control
the mood of the audience and in this case to make them feel tense. The sequence is full
of thin, red writing to highlight actors and directors names however this use of colour hints
to the audience that danger, violence and fear evident in the film as these are the ideas
that are connoted from the colour red. The directors name is shown in a white light to
identify the source of production or to symbolise safety from the possible fear that is
heading to the audience. The camera however twists around and falls from the light which
will make the audience feel uncomfortable as they lose a sense of control. The camera
then pans around the house and we are introduced to the protagonist but as we approach
the antagonist the music intensifies and is much more high pitch in order to make the
audience feel a large sense of insecurity. As the credit names appear they quickly vanish
to create a supernatural effect and this confirmed as the camera identifies more
paranormal activity as it travels around the house.
15. TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS
• This is a rather unconventional title sequence for a horror film as it lacks many of the
features that you would expect from a horror film sequence. It begins in a pleasant looking
landscape focusing on a car driving along the side of a mountain however there is no sign
of danger of fear anywhere. The lighting is very high key and the colours are bright
however throughout the sequence there is some intimidating non diegetic music which
may just provoke a thought in the mind of the audience that all may not be as it seems.
The sounds begin very loud and powerful to make the audience feel rather vulnerable
however this moves into a more high pitch sound that would appear to sound like human
screams. If the audience were to just listen to the sequence they would expect it to be
horror however what they see visually does not match up with their ideas. Text begins to
move up the screen and this is in blue font which could represent power to match with the
intimidating music that the audience hear. It is yet another factor that the audience will
take into account during the sequence.
17. TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS
• This sequence is more typical of a horror film. It begins with a blue background which
symbolise power which may be needed to overcome a problem in the film. The text is
currently in white which could represent the innocence of the protagonists within the film.
As the sequence moves from clip to clip there is the crackling screen of tv and within this
we can see a body which represents the power of a possible supernatural or demonic
threat which may be relevant in the film. In the rest of the sequence the background
shows a possible setting for the film which is in a woods, stereotypical of a horror film.
The lettering of titles across this however, are very spacious and portray the effect that
they are written by children as there are no capital letters evident either. This could strike
fear into the audience as it suggests that young children have a large part to play in the
film as producers have identified these as a weakness for the emotions of a modern day