Media TimelineHISTORY OF FILM & THE HORROR GENRE Charlotte Page
History of Film In 1878, The Horses in Motionby Eadweard Muybridge was one of the first films to be created. Muybridge began making the film by placing a series of cameras along a race track which photographed a horse in fast motion. Fast motion is when a film frame is shot at a much slower speed than it would be played at in which by using this Muybridge’s imagery allows details to be picked out which the human eye cannot notice as a faster speed. The series of photos made a short film strip which shows that all four hooves do leave the ground at the same time. This film today still remains as one of the earliest forms of videography.
The Silent Era The silent era ran from 1894 to 1929 in which instead of using diegetic sounds such as dialogue, silent films relied heavily on exaggerated gestures or facial expressions from the actors to tell the story. Incidental music also became an essential for adding atmosphere to a silent film whilst also indicating what emotion is being portrayed to an audience. Earlier silent films that were shown at public venues usually had a live musician to improvise the music on a piano or organ. The Great Train Robbery was the first silent film to be released in 1903. It’s release introduced new editing techniques to the rising film industry by being the first to employ parallel editing. This is where the film cuts between two different scenes that are happening at the same time. Video – The Great Train Robbery (1903)
BBC The Magic of Movie Editing • Early film makers simply took photos of what that interested them in which they would turn these images into a film that would continuously play. For example, The Life of an American Fireman tells a story from one continuous narrative. • Editing can have various effects on a film such as slowing down or speeding up time which can create various audience reactions. This shows how length of shots can change an audience’s response to a scene. • Editor D.W Griffith was one of the first to employ the use of the close-up shot as well as parallel editing and flashbacks in 1915. • The editing process was known as the “invisible art” as editors tried to making transitions so smooth that audiences would forget that a scene is changing. Editing rules were originally quite strict, timings were very specific, scenes would typically change through a dissolve and camera shots would often change in a logical order. Breathless (1960) was first to break these strict rules. • Computer technology today allows editing to be a quicker process. By using visual characters, editors can now directly change aspects on screen changing the original image to something new.
First Feature Films Produced by Warner Brothers, The Jazz Singer (1927) was the first feature length film to be released that combined music and part dialogue following the silent era. The film used a system called Vitaphone which meant that when the film was shown on a projector, the dialogue and music could be played in sync with actions of the characters on screen. Some consider The Jazz Singer as a musical due to it only having a few minutes of dialogue however it holds a significant place within film history because it was the first “talkie” film to be introduced to the industry. In 1928, Warner Brothers released Lights of New York which was the first all talking feature film.
1930’s The 1930’s film industry has been labelled as “the Golden Age of Hollywood.” The silent era had ended after many silent actors decided not to make the transition into talking films and film genres such as horror, western, comedy, musicals and gangster had the opportunity to further develop. Colour movies were also invented in the 30’s with the first colour, short live-action film being La Cucaracha (1934) and Becky Sharp (1935) was the first full length feature film to use the latest colour technology, Technicolor. Walt Disney’s Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first feature length animation film to use colour. Other popular film of the 1930’s - Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone With The Wind (1939).
1940’s Technology in the 1940’s began to advance. The use of colour, sound recording, lighting and special effects made films more watchable as they appeared modern. During the war years, many media platforms used the war as a subject for their products and so did the film industry. In particular, British audiences wanted more realistic films and as a result British studios began producing documentaries and war films, for example Casablanca in 1942.A style called “Film Noir” became popular during the 40’s. In French, “noir” translates to black which reflects the series of dark films which was created. This style was typically used for crime dramas and employed the use of low key black and white lighting to produce strong shadows as well as using tilted camera angles. This created darker films not just visually but reflected darker content and themes.
1950’s In the 1950’s, the introduction of television became a threat to the film industry as cinemas saw attendance rates begin to drop because black and white television was more affordable than going to the cinema. In an attempt to gain their audience back the film industry made bigger and better films by ensuring they were made in colour, shown on bigger screens, showed pictures of a higher quality and some in 3D. Rock and roll became popular in cinemas during the 50’s which introduced a new teenage market to the film industry which was disapproved by older audience who had previously seen realistic war films. Young audiences wanted to see exciting new stars which included Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.
1960’s Film audiences continued to decline as television became more powerful and dominant. As a result the film industry began to struggle financially. After the introduction of colour television in 1936, film companies decided to expand their forms of entertainment and reach their audiences by creating records, TV films and programmes. Rock and roll continued into the 1960’s with the USA gaining interest in British music, fashion and culture. The film industry acted upon this by producing comedy documentaries and musical films, the most popular featured The Beatles. Film technology continued to develop in the 60’s, the introduction of “liquid gate printing” provided a brighter, clearer picture by filling in any scratches on the film reel.
1970’s After financial difficulty in the 50’s and 60’s the industry started to release summer blockbusters to increase profits. Summer films such as Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977) were successful for the film industry as they appealed to mass audiences and therefore increased income. Films within the 70’s became more creative due to restrictions on language, violence, adult content and sexuality becoming less strict. VHS players in 1977 meant that films could be bought and watched at home, this had a positive impact on independent film makers as through marketing, their products could gain attention. Alternatively, cinema audiences would decline again due to consumers staying at home. Jaws Trailer (1975) Star Wars VHS (1977)
1980’s Blockbuster films became increasingly popular in the 1980’s with the biggest films being released either during the summer or around the Christmas period. Through successful marketing, blockbuster film’s made a larger profit as bigger audiences attended cinemas. Special effects had also progressed, the use of CGI was now available to films in which this allowed the science-fiction genre to gain more attention as exciting characters could be created such as ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) which was the top grossing film of the decade. Furthermore, sound tracks were of higher quality meaning that more atmosphere could be created in a film. Cable TV, broadcasting satellites, and VHS tapes allowed film distribution to become more varied. This meant that films could reach audiences at home as well as at the cinema. ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) Ghostbusters (1984)
1990’s In the 1990’s changes began to occur within major film studios. Warner Communications formed with Time to form Time Warner with Warner Brothers making working in film and television. Viacom bought film company Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks was formed in 1997 with their first feature film, The Peacemaker. Also in 1997, the first DVD’s were released which not only had better picture and sound quality but interactive features. This meant that home viewing of films was still more popular than attending cinema releases. Summer and Christmas blockbusters however were still popular in the 90’s. Films such as Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Forrest Gump (1994) and Titanic (1997) were successful not only because of the quality of the film but because of successful marketing and merchandise raising awareness of their releases. Sequel's became more common too, with the most popular of the 90’s being Toy Story 2 and Batman Returns. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) Titanic (1997)
2000’s This decade is known as the era of franchises as series of films became extremely successful. Most franchise films were based on existing products such as novels, or comic books. Franchise films of this decade include Spider Man, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and the Twilight Saga. During this decade, films found a niche to market films online through social networking (Twitter, Facebook…) Examples include the final Harry Potter series releasing exclusive posters on Twitter and The Twilight Saga setting up its own Facebook page. In 2005, the latest 3D technology, RealD, was introduced to cinemas which helped to produce 3D images in brighter colours and sharper details. The film industry was dominated by 6 major companies. These were Time Warner, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony, Walt Disney and Universal. This reflects how the film industry is an example of an oligopoly as several companies dominate the market. Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise Harry Potter Franchise
History of… THE HORROR GENRE “An overwhelming painful feeling caused by something frightful, shocking, or terrifying.”
Mythology Some of the earliest forms of horror began in mythology. Stories from Greek mythology created a sense of fear through the characters that were created. For example, Medusa being a character with snakes for hair, and would turn people to stone created a sense of terror in those who would hear the story. The Romans also had myths based within the horror genre in which some of their stories about monsters have been made into novels. For example, the first version of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was written in 1818 in which this novel created a new style of writing for rising authors and introduced wider audiences to the horror genre.
Horror in Literature The horror genre has early links within gothic literature. People would read novels and plays of the gothic genre for a sense of entertainment though fear, horror and terror. The first author to write a text within the gothic genre was Horace Walpole in 1764 with his novel The Caste of Otranto. The text involved the supernatural and used female characters as victims which was frightening to Victorian audiences. Gothic Literature has allowed horror to develop sub-genres, including :- • Victorian Gothic – Enforces setting, supernatural, and has romantic sub-plot. • Visceral Horror – Shows blood and gore as source of horror. • Supernatural Horror – Involves zombies, vampires, ghosts… • Clerical Horror – Associated with religion. • Sci-Fi Horror – Uses science to explain source of horror. • Lovecraftian Horror – Involves outer-space. • Apocalyptic Horror – Uses end of the world as source of horror. • Psychological Horror – Plays with the mind, beliefs and guilt.
Radio Horror Radio was an early platform used to tell horror stories. One of the most successful radio horrors was The Witch’s Tale which ran from 1931 to 1938. The series was hosted by Old Nancy, a Salem witch, who would introduce audiences to a new tale each week. Sometimes the stories told would be based on existing tales such as Frankenstein or The Flying Dutchman. Topics covered in radio shows varied from creating fantasy monsters, ghosts, and looking at the darker side to human behaviour. Playing horror on the radio was popular because it allowed audiences to use their imagination and to picture themselves in the story rather than seeing it on film. Using powerful music, sound effects and having good timing allowed radio horror to be extremely successful.
Television Horror The television wasn’t necessarily known as a platform for playing programmes of the horror genre. Due to the success of radio horror and cinema releases, television horror struggled to get air time as many programmes failed to create the atmosphere that was need for a successful horroron a small screen. Despite this, the horror genre was able to expand through the television with programmes such as The Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964) and gothic television series, Dark Shadows (1966 to 1971) introducing supernatural elements to horror such as vampires, werewolves, and aliens. The Vampira Show is an early example of an American television horror which was aired late at night and took influences from radio horror by having a host to introduce each episode.
History of… HORROR FILMS “A film which unsettling, striking an emotion of fear, disgust and horror from an audience.”
Early Horror Films Many of the early horror films were based upon existing novels and have links within myths and folklores. For example, 1922 film, Nosferatu, was based upon Dracula by Bram Stoker and was the first vampire horror film. Important features of the horror genre such as shadows, and various lighting were often difficult to capture in early horror films due to the limited technology available. Although some of the earlier horror films may not seem as frightening to modern audiences as they once were, the codes and conventions used are still relevant to modern horror films. Furthermore, the role of incidental music in these early films shows how these silent horrors have been influential in making music one of the most important conventions of the horror genre. The Golem (1920) Nosferatu (1922)
Development of Horror Films • Horror films of the 1930s’s to 1950’s were often low budget films, and usually comical to try and entice the teenage audience. Even though these films may not be considered as scary today, they were a form of escapism for audiences who were living in difficult times. • Films of the 50’s created their horror though science and technology with fictional creatures and monsters being a source of fear for consumers. • 1960’s horror films became more controversial as many took risks by displaying more graphic detail and violence. This style of film foreshadowed the rise of slasher films in the 70’s. The theme of the supernatural also gained attention in the 60’s as a series of ghost films were released. These were popular because the black and white picture and little special effects allowed audiences to be scared by their imagination. • The late 70’s and 80’s saw slasher films become increasingly popular with films such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday 13th being extremely successful. • 1990’s horror films were extremely varied, from psychological horrors to more violent films. Ideas for new horrors in 90’s started to become limited so filmmakers tried update previous classics by remaking films such as Dracula and Frankenstein.
Modern Horror Films By 2005,the horror genre was extremely popular as audiences viewed films for a sense of entertainment and escapism as modern horror films today are so varied in terms of their plot, characters and themes. The style of films that have developed throughout the decades such as slasher films and psychological horrors, to plots that include vampires, zombies, and the supernatural are still continuing in today’s modern films. The development of technology such as 3D cameras, CGI, and green screens allow horror films to be more creative and challenging with their settings and characters. Many use realistic settings and characters with a darker twist for a sense of horror as the realism of the film is something an audiences can relate to.
Codes & Conventions Camera Work Extreme Close –Up! Point of View Shots Point of view shots are usually used within the horror genre to reflect either the villain or victims perspective. For an audience this makes them feel like their playing the role of that character creating an uncomfortable or uneasy feel. Oblique/Canted Angles This is where the camera is titled rather than horizontal. This is popular within the horror genre because it creates a feeling of being unstable and makes an audience feel disorientated. This camera angle is often used with the point of view shot to make it feel like the character as a hand-held camera and therefore makes the audience feel more involved. Close Ups & Extreme Close Ups By employing these kinds of shot types, an audience is able to see the emotions of the victim or villain. Extreme close-ups can make a consumer feel uncomfortable because the image will feel the entire screen, creating an intense and fearful atmosphere.
Editing Creating Pace Through fast editing and changing of camera shots can help to build tension and suspense for a horror film. Typically within horror scene will begin with a slow pace before suddenly building tension and making audiences jump through the fear that has been created. Combination of Shots To create a disorientated feel, shots in horror films will sometimes be pieced together in an illogical orderto create a fast, tense pace. Music Incidental Music Music is an important convention within the horror genreas it emphasises a tense and eerie atmosphere and reflects how an audience should be feeling. Audience emotions are usually reflected through a change in the music's dynamics, starting quiet before suddenly getting louder as a sense becomes more frightening. Diegetic Sounds Whilst creating a sense of verisimilitude, diegetic sounds help to create an atmosphere. Typical sounds include footsteps, screams and creaks.
Mise-En-Scene Dark Colours Horror films will often use dark colours to help create a tense atmosphere. For an audience dark colours can be associated with the unknown and feeling of uncertainty therefore a sense of fear is created. Low Lighting To match the dark colours, horror films will typically use low key lighting to add to the suspense as this style of lighting creates a contrast in light and dark and as a result emphasises shadows. Characters In modern horror films, typically the role of the villain is played by someone who appears normal to an audience as this makes it easier for a consumer to imagine themselves in the film and therefore makes it more frightening. Setting Settings in horror films can vary. Stereotypical settings would be isolated places such as haunted houses, forests, and castles however horror film’s of today’s society can take place in settings that have a sense of normality. For example, using a family home can be just as scary because it is something the audience can relate to.
Representation of Women in Horror Films Within the horror genre there is a stereotypical image for the female male. She is usually in some kind of distress, young, with blonde hair and is physically attractive. Men are often considered to play the role of the hero in horror films, and females usually play the role of the victim. This is often used to reflect how rights between men and women were previously unequal. It is thought that for a female to survive in a horror film, she must have masculine characteristicsas males typically play a more dominant, heroic role. Despite this, from the 1970’s and onwards to today’s modern society, female characters in horror films have been taking a more dominant role, displaying strength and independence.
FILM POSTERS Film posters are used as part of the marketing campaign for a film’s release. They are often displayed on streets, in shops and at cinemas to help raise awareness about a new film. Usually the same picture or style used on the film’s poster will be used for other advertisements relating to the film such as for adverts newspapers, magazines, DVD’s , and websites. Conventions of a film poster include an image of a main actor or scene as well as the title of the film, cast names, release date and may also include a quote from the film as a slogan to help make the poster more memorable. From looking at some existing film posters from the horror genre, I have found that typical conventions used are dark colours, bold texts and the images can be quite ambiguous to create a tense feeling. The style of the poster will help to create the tone and emphasise the genre of the film.
Magazine Front Covers I have carried out some research into existing magazine front covers which has allowed me to find out about some film magazine conventions. Firstly, the main image used on the front is usually of an actor in the role of their character as this will allow an audience to become familiar with the character that they will see in the film and on adverts. Sometimes the title of the magazine will adapt to the style of the film which is being featured. For example, on the Inception front cover, the title, Total Film, has been designed to reflect how the film involves technology. This is also shown through the colours used as silver can also be associated with technology so this reflects how colours are important at portraying ideas to an audience. Other conventions used on magazine front covers are a masthead with the date, title, and price. Plus a main coverline, smaller coverlines , an insert and a strapline. These are all things that I can consider when I create my film magazine front cover.
Influences From creating this PowerPoint presentation I now have a clearer understanding of the history of film and how it has developed to produce the films that we have today. Furthermore, I also now have a more in-depth understanding of the horror genre, from how it began to how its origins has impacted on modern horror films. I have researched the conventions of horror through the micro elements and have found that things such as dark colours, incidental music and point of view shots will all help my trailer conform to the horror genre therefore I will consider the conventions when I created my three media products . The target audience of my trailer will be aged between 15 to 30 and aimed at both genders. I’d like my trailer to focus on the idea of the supernatural perhaps using toys or an object passed down generations and holding some kind of history. This idea has been inspired by seeing the toys that feature in the opening of the Woman in Black trailer. I want my trailer to encourage an audience to use their imagination rather than seeing visually on screen. I have been influenced to do this from researching radio horror and horror films of the 60’s as allowing an audience to use their imagination was extremely successful and I feel that today there is a niche in the market for this kind of film as modern horror is a lot more detailed and graphic than it used to be. For my ancillary tasks of a poster and film magazine front cover I will make sure that they link together in terms of style so that my products become consistent and support the trailer. This will include using similar colours, text styles, and ensuring that suitable images are used for the films genre.
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