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Task 1

Horror film genre
What are the conventions of a horror film? How are they used in
order to target an audience?

Horror films


Small closed off communities which are quiet and isolated. Dark
streets, alleyways are often used for horror films.
Often places which have been known to be haunted, like old
castles and ancient house
Locations for good horror films would be; lakes, forests,
abandoned house, basements, attics, insane asylums, hospitals,

• Camera work during a horror film is very expressive, directors use high
low and side camera angles to show fear within actors
• A lot of horror films have a POV (point of view) shot this allows us to see
life through different perspectives e.g. the killer or the person who is
being killed
• Handheld shots are used a lot in horror films this allows the audience to
view things through different perspectives
• Also ambient sounds such as footsteps which in some horror films will be
turned up so you can clearly hear them this installs a sense of fear in the
audience and allows us to emphasise with the victim in the film


Visual style: dark colours are used e.g. red and black which will be
associated with blood and evil.
Lighting is used to set scenes e.g. dark lighting will tell us that the
characters might be in danger or something bad might happen.
Light lighting might signify that what we are seeing are happy
Props help us to further identify that the genre is horror e.g.
Freddy Kruger's sharp claws or Michael Myers long machete.
Common objects that we will see in the horror genre are :
chainsaws, knives, religious icons (crosses)

Narrative structure

Usually a protagonist a final person who survives the story and
goes on to resolve the problems
Usually the story will consist of a killer who has gone insane by
something that has happened in his childhood, he always goes
back to his hometown and kills teenagers that are represented as
immoral or stupid, there is always most time a survivor who gets
out and lives to tell the story

Character types
• Main protagonist often victim/hero of film often
goes through a lot
• Villain often mutated, crazy, evil, demon, alien or
serial killer
• The stupid immoral teenagers who get killed/
cannon fodder as they are there to enhance the
• Police officers who either are good, bad or get
killed for being naïve

Conventions of a horror film

Childhood issues
Beyond Death
Science gone bad
Zombie Apocalypse
“Self-consciousness” making you question what is real and what is not

The end