2. AGE – HOW IS IT SHOWN IN OTHER
PARANORMAL HORROR FILMS?
Typically in paranormal horror films, the main characters are a group of teenagers, with none of the characters being more
than 18 years old.
An example of this would be Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014). Within this film, there are a group of teenagers
that are subjected to mystery that they need to uncover. As you can see from this screenshot from
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, there are a couple of teenagers that are central to the films plot
and storyline. This keeps to the conventions of paranormal films and therefore we decided to keep to
them ourselves within our film The Hellion.
Another example of this would be Truth or Dare (2012), it is clear that the main body of the cast is made
up of teenagers no more than 18 years of age. We have replicated this by choosing characters that fit that
criteria, of being 17 years old and younger. This makes the film and the characters more relatable and
realistic for the audience which will make them enjoy the film more.
We have decided to conform to the codes and conventions of typical paranormal films because of our mainstream
psychographic as our target audience. Mainstreamers tend not to like change and so we wanted to be able to target the vast
majority of our audience by keeping to these expectations.
Within our cast, we have a younger girl, aged around 10-11. This is typically when we see young children being
portrayed as innocent and vulnerable. However in horror films in particular, young children are seen as sinister
and ones who are exploited in the sense that they are subjected to horror and usually made to do things
they wouldn’t normally. An example of this would Sinister (2012), the young girl pictured below, looks innocent
facially but then we see that she has bloody hands and clothing, this shocks the audience as you wouldn’t
expect this from a young girl. However, due to the nature of the film, the audience would make inferences
about whether the young is actually innocent or evil.
3. AGE – HOW HAVE WE REPRESENTED THIS
IN OUR FILM?
We, as a group, have conformed to the codes and conventions of paranormal horror films
because we will be targeting demographic E for our main audience who are typically in the
mainstream psychographic. This tells us immediately how we will represent our characters
within the opening of our film, The Hellion, because we know that typically mainstreamers
do not like change and therefore would not like/appreciate art house films for example and
would want to stick to what’s popular, which would be ghost horrors with conventional
characters and a reasonably simple storyline.
The cast we have chosen are around the age of 16-17, which from looking at several films is
typical. This enabled us as film makers to get a true representation of what the characters
would look like and to make it relatable for the audience. This will aid the film in becoming
more successful because of this factor.
4. AGE – HOW HAVE WE REPRESENTED THIS
IN OUR FILM?
We have conformed to conventions of paranormal horror films of having teenagers as our main cast, with
the exception of the character Lilly Rivers, who is a young girl aged around 10-11. This is to shock the
audience when Lilly becomes possessed and odd things start to happen to the group of friends. This would
subvert the expectations of the audience because we associate young children with being innocent and not
being evil and being able to be possessed.
We have shown Lilly being young by the way her costume looks and is. Her costume depicts her as being
young and innocent due to her clothes being pajamas. Pajamas make the character of Lilly seem young
and vulnerable as the connotations of the colour white (the main colour of her costume) suggest purity
and peace. Also, as her pajamas have different coloured hearts on them, it suggests that Lilly is young and
cute which contrasts with Lilly’s actual personality within The Hellion due to the fact she is being
possessed and going to put the other characters through hell.
The mise en scene used within the scenes also suggest innocence and youth as she carries a teddy bear
down to where the other characters are and watches on. The audience will associate the teddy bear with
being innocent and pure due to the fact young children have bears for comfort. Also, her hair style as a
plait which suggests innocence as this is typical of young children and early teens, this also shows her
vulnerability. This, again, subverts the audiences expectations which is conventional of horror films.
5. GENDER – HOW IS IT SHOWN IN OTHER
PARANORMAL HORROR FILMS?
In paranormal horror films, there are codes and conventions of what typical character types
appear and are therefore expected by the audience. For example, males are portrayed as being
masculine, strong and brave whereas females are weak and vulnerable, needing help from the
As you can see from this screenshot to the right, the male character seems to be a ‘jock’ and
popular by the way he dresses. As mentioned in our costume decisions, ‘jock’ type characters
are usually seen to be wearing reasonably sporty clothing/plaid shirts, which this male
character in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is wearing. This highlights the
fact that he could be of central importance to the films plot. This type of character
is expected within a horror film, in particular paranormal as they are the ones to
be the ‘hero’ and be strong and brave for the other characters.
Girls are typically seen in paranormal horror films as ‘wimpy’, weak, or even nerdy which is
what the audience come to expect from a group of teenagers in a horror film due to the
amount of films with those character types within them.
In the screenshot taken from Truth or Dare (2012), shows the female character appearing
innocent because of her costume. The colour white connotes purity, peace and innocence which
makes the audience more shocked when something bad happens to that particular character.
6. GENDER – HOW HAVE WE REPRESENTED
THIS IN OUR FILM?
In my research into how gender is represented within other paranormal horror films, males were depicted as
being strong, brave and being ‘jock’ like. We have decided to stick with the codes and conventions of this
because our mainstream audience would be able to identify with the characters as perhaps they know someone
like that personally or they may be simply expecting there to be a character like that within a paranormal film.
We have done this by looking at the two male characters and dressing them in what we thought would be
appropriate and fit with the conventions of a horror film, in order to bring their personality’s out without them
having to speak, so it is obvious for the audience who is what type of character.
With the character Will, we dressed him in stereotypical ‘jock’ clothing with a varsity jacket which
makes him seem brave and strong. This is ideal for The Hellion as the dialogue he says makes him
seem this way also – “Come on, let’s play.” Another typical trait of the jock is to not take things
seriously, or to joke about which is exactly what we made Will do in our film, to be true to the
codes and conventions of the paranormal horror genre. There is a specific scene where Will
makes Lucy (the nerd of the group) jump whilst playing with the Ouija board.
Another type of male character that is usually seen within paranormal films is a ‘cool’ kid, although different to
the ‘jock’ previously stated. This character is still masculine and tries to persuade the other characters to take
part in the action. This is what Josh did in The Hellion, by saying to Lucy:
“Come on, nothing bad will happen.” to try and reassure her whilst playing the Ouija
board. As mentioned in the costume ideas post, we dressed Josh in ‘cool’ and current clothing
to emphasise his role within the group.
7. GENDER – HOW HAVE WE REPRESENTED
THIS IN OUR FILM?
In paranormal horror films, there is always a cynic and is not sure about what is going to
happen – these types of characters are usually female. This is because it enables the
characters to interact with each other more due to the fact that one isn’t so sure, making
the storyline interesting and at the same time establishing what character plays what role
within the conventional paranormal horror film.
Within our film, The Hellion, Lucy fulfils this role. We have dressed her in ‘nerdy’
clothing, with a tartan top and glasses which makes it easier for the audience
to realise what character she is and also to fit with the codes and conventions
found and mentioned in the costume post. We have made her dialogue fit with
this image also – “wait, so we’re not actually going to play this, are we?”
This makes the audience shocked when we see that Lucy is the one to actually
play the ouija board first, with the persuasion of the other characters.