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media products? (I.e. of film openings) In my opinion, our media product incorporates many forms and conventions real media products would; as our task was to devise/create the plot of the opening sequence, prepare and plan in advance, shoot and edit the production to a high standard so that it is able to become comparable to other opening sequences from mainstream films. We felt as if the horror genre had to be challenged, innovated and transformed into a less predictable genre, as stereotypes can be useful in order for the audience to relate to the characters, however we felt as if the horror genre itself had a lot of scope for reconstruction. This therefore allows us to challenge the conventions of a stereotypical horror film, and add twists and originality, therefore also having a USP emerge from the idea. We found the horror genre is quite broad, and our target audience was quite familiar with horror/thriller films, which is why we thought this would be suitable among teens and adolescents, as the genre itself is quite popular among young people. In addition, to form our USP, we wanted to conjoin horror with psychological horror, creating a sub-genre being a psychological horror. We also found watching over the video, that the film itself does mirror some forms and conventions of a psychological horror, as we observed and took information from films such as ‘SAW’, ‘Insidious’, ‘The Exorcist’ etc. We used the conventional narrative pattern of Tzvetan Todorov, to introduce main characters, set the scene, and add a twist/cliff hanger at the end of the film. The narrative pattern itself is widely utilised among many mainstream films, as it is what we associate to be a standard narrative for any film, allowing the audience to relate to it more.
Setting & Location: The location for our final product ‘The Three Wheels of Horror’ did not conform to the conventions of the Horror genre, as we decided to set it in a school; as this would allow the target audience to relate better to the film itself, as we have chosen to target teens and young adults. The fact that the film was shot in a school allows me, as a Director to innovate the stereotypical conventions of a classic horror film, and by setting the production in a school environment, this allowed the plot to become clear, and as an audience, we get to see Ahmed in a natural environment, and contrast it with the enigmas created as the film goes on; e.g. seeing a little girl on a tricycle, which is odd to see in a secondary school. Furthermore, our target audience will familiarise with this type of environment as they
spend a maximum of 5 days a week at school, so an immediate relationship is created between the production and audience, as they are able to understand where the location is, and why it is set in such a way, e.g. props of desks, chairs, computers, whiteboard, paper and pen etc. We also wanted to keep the location fairly simple, as we wanted to create suspense by introducing sudden movement unexpectedly in a completely normal environment. Therefore, our product does not directly connote the conventions of the horror genre, however does address elements of unexpected events, and allowing maximum clarity and understanding of characters to be channelled to the audience. Which is a less obvious way of initiating suspense and tension, however still allows heightened enigmas to follow through as shocking events and scare the audience. Title Font & Style:
Our opening sequence’s title is both basic and clear; however helps illustrate the simplistic horror convention devices used to enhance the product. Also, the font used for the title is clear and readable, and slightly grotesque as the font is not ‘times new roman’ which is a very basic and classic font, we wanted to include a slightly more abstract font, which almost looks as if it is dripping/melting/dismantling, to illustrate this classic convention of blood in horror films, and what it symbolises; sacrifice, suffering, death, and foreshadows events, which create enigmas. The red is to also symbolise danger, blood and alertness, and we found having a transition (as above) really helped to sustain the suspense all throughout, and I find it has some sort of a leading affect for the audience, as they will be curious to find out what has happened to Ahmed, where and why she has taken him, and if he survives or not. Also, by including the title of the film at the end of the sequence, the title is more likely to be remembered as it is right at the end of the film, which will allow the viewer to have overcome the release of tension and acknowledge the title of the film, and why it was called ‘The Three Wheels of Horror’. The use of red and black in horror films is also a convention of the genre, as it is what we associate with goriness, fear, suspense, and to be scared. The font is also large enough to be read to therefore catch the attention of the viewer. Title of the film:
Our title includes the word ‘horror’ itself, making it very clear that the film is going to be in the horror genre, and the play on ‘three wheels’ corresponds with the main prop, being the tricycle. This symbolises transition and movement within the film, as we give importance to the prop, as it channels the relationship to Billy from ‘SAW’. We also decided to name it ‘The Three Wheels of Horror’ as it creates an immediate enigma for the audience, as it is confusing at first, but then watching the film makes the title make sense; which is another reason why we decided to add it near the end of the sequence, so that there was a smooth flow, so that the audience is able to relate and understand why the film has put emphasis on ‘The Three Wheels’. By having an unusual title, we are able to attract more viewers, as it does not allow them to predict what is going to happen, and therefore lose interest and no longer be scared, instead, it makes them more eager to want to watch the film, and be completely aloof and clueless to what is going to happen, which is more likely to scare them. Costumes & Props: Costume & Props:
The costume of our protagonist, does not conform to the conventions of a typical horror film, however does correspond with the theme of school, although Ahmed is not dressed in smart clothing, we can tell he is young, and is a rebel, which is why he does not wear uniform. Ahmed is a character who is portrayed to be an anti-social outlaw, as his chain around his neck symbolises him to be quite tough and masculine, and almost mirroring the attitude of ‘not caring’ which allows the audience to gain more insight into his character, and gives them a reason why to understand Ahmed is in detention after school, and possibly hint at why he disappears at the end of the sequence. We did not want Ahmed to look innocent, as this wouldn’t be a sufficient contrast to his vulnerability by the end of the sequence, and this also is not a convention of the horror genre, however ultimately will relate with the audience better, and heighten the scare factor.
We took inspiration from a classic psychological horror film, being SAW, as the antagonist almost mirrors ‘Billy’ who is ‘Jigsaw’s puppet. As director, I wanted to take inspiration from this character, as I thought the purpose of the character suited the film as a whole very well. The costume for this character was a little harder to achieve, however definitely does conform to the conventions of the horror genre, as it displays a huge contrast in costume and makeup, having innocent pyjama’s you would normally expect a young girl to wear, however her face is masked by a distorted clown face, (which is also quite similar to the face of ‘the joker’ in batman. I wanted to keep the makeup very dramatic, as this would therefore allow the audience to recognise who the antagonist is. I decided I would give her a white, pale face, with a painted smile which almost resembles blood (to create the scare factor) and dark eye makeup which would begin at the brow bone and end under the lower lash line, to create dark demon eyes, and depth to give a threatening look.
I also had her hair bunched up into two pony tails, as I wanted to clearly portray her as a little girl, who later reveals her ghastly, scary face. The idea of having a clown face on a girl is completely original, as it is not normally seen on many horror films, however does still conform to the conventions of the genre, as the antagonist is presented to be some sort of supernatural/scary being which should look like they prove to be a threat to the antagonist, and should not in any way be approachable.
This was the main prop which was used in the production, as it is hinted at in the title of the film itself, this is similar to what Billy uses in ‘SAW’, however the tricycle he uses looks as if it has been hand crafted, using colours such as black, brown, red and a metal looking frame to emphasise the ‘dungeon/realm of torture’ aspect displayed in the film. We took a more modern take on the film, as we wanted to get a tricycle that would suit a little child sat on it. The use of colour is not similar to SAW, as we wanted to incorporate both bright colours, and a striking/shocking face, which would visually stun the viewers. The use of a tricycle is not necessarily a convention of a horror film, although can be recognised as our audience will most probably be familiar with the SAW films, or a classic horror film such as ‘the exorcist’. Story and how the opening sets it up: In the opening of the film, the audience are shown right at the beginning, a notice on the board which reads ‘Detention, Ahmed 3.10pm-5.40pm!’- this already tells the audience that Ahmed has probably gotten into a lot of trouble, hence why his detention is so long. Already the audience find out that he is an outlaw and a rebel, which creates both empathy and dislike towards the character, which is not a full convention of a typical horror film. The way it does connote, is the empathy we as an audience are supposed to feel for him, as he detained after school for so long, and looks glum and
unhappy, however an enigma is also created; why is he in detention for so long? What has he done to deserve such a long detention? We then begin to feel some dislike/curiousness towards him as well, because the audience are made unaware of the circumstance, which keeps their interest in the film, to find out what will happen next. We are made aware that something bad is going to happen, as a cause of his doings which allowed him to receive a very long detention after school. The audience is also shown it ends at almost 6.00pm, which creates a dark and dreary atmosphere, where Ahmed will be walking into the unknown, which is a very strong convention used in horror films, as if the atmosphere/time is when no-one is around, it creates a scarier atmosphere. The location is justified by why Ahmed is there, to serve his detention, but an enigma is created here which makes the audience wonder what he has done to deserve the detention. Genre & how the opening suggests it: Our product creates a lot of mystery, which is what horror films use to heighten the shock of the climax, as mystery and tension is built to a point where the audience as completely sucked in and want to see what happens next. Our opening sequence uses immediate mystery, as to why Ahmed is in detention; also when he leaves the classroom, why the little girl is sat there crying, and the POV shot as seen in the picture puts the audience in the actors shoes, which is a effective way of creating suspense as the audience sees what the actor sees, and become just as scared as the actor would be in the situation. The picture itself creates an enigma, why is she crying so loud? What is she doing after hours at school? What is going to happen? Which then leads to her revealing her face and scaring Ahmed; her face also connotes the conventions of the genre as she has a distorted, abstract clown face, which is threatening to the protagonist. Also, the backdrop of why Ahmed is in detention makes the audience wonder what he has done: we wanted to channel the plot of SAW into our production, the idea of paying for your bad deeds, and being punished. We wanted to simplify it further, and show a young boy who disappears as a result of his wrong-doings. Which therefore presents the film to be a horror film, and does contain aspects of the genre. Furthermore, the use of the intense/overwhelming sound effect which builds tension very effectively is a common sound used in horror films, and also the clock ticking, to show it is inevitable something bad is going to happen to the protagonist. The face paced camera work and editing at the end also shocks the audience, which is a convention of the horror genre as well. How characters are introduced: Ahmed is introduced in the sequence in his detention, completing his work, resting his hand on his head- this shows the audience Ahmed is bored, tired, alone and un-entertained. Furthermore, the fact that his teacher is sat right in front of him at his desk, introduces the second actor in the sequence, Mr Cole. It is almost a POV shot of Mr Cole looking at Ahmed in disgust. Ahmed is therefore introduced as being in trouble, and punished for something he has done wrong, foreshadowing what will happen to him in the rest of the film.
The little girl is introduced to the audience in a mysterious way, she is hiding her face and her hair helps her to mask it completely. We see one side of her; hear her crying which shocks the audience and Ahmed. Thus creating an enigma; why is she there? Why is she crying? Etc. In addition, the audience can clearly see she is a little girl, using stereotypical girly coloured pyjamas, being pink/purple. The antagonist creates mystery and wonder as to why she is there.
Camerawork, Editing & Special Effects: The extreme close up of the clock foreshadows Ahmed’s time is running out, and the special effect of the time ticking emphasises this, and also lets the audience know that Ahmed’s detention is over. This is for the audience to have a clear view of the time at school, showing it is quite late, which could mean trouble for Ahmed. (Foreshadowing is quite significant in horror films, as they create ideas as to what could happen next)
The camerawork here specifically captures what is happening behind Ahmed, as Ahmed watches the little girl in shock and amazement as she cycles past looking directly at him. This shot was great as it captured not only what was behind him, but his facial expression, the use of a medium-close up helped us achieve both these things. (A great way to create mystery, which is another similarity to the horror genre)
This shot was edited at a faster pace after the little girl emerges from behind him, as when she whisks him away, it is very quick and the use of a ‘chop’ sound effect adds to the shock. This camerawork and editing helps to build up to the climax, and scare the viewer as Ahmed is taken away, and the ‘chop’ sound could hint something sinister has happened to him right away.
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