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Understanding Post Modernism

Post Modernism in film is when a film recognises the criticisms of the genre, so it looks in on itself and uses new techniques to keep the audience entertained, it’s self-conscious. This technique relies on the audience having inter-textual knowledge of the film genre. In the genre horror, there are many stereotypes in which they have to overcome to create a new sense in film. These are such stereotypes, like the final girl (virgin), the jock, the killer, the donor who helps the hero out. The Horror genre has been built over the years with films such as Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday Thirteenth. These films are some of the films that set the scene for current horror films. They set many of the stereotypes of horror such as ‘teens’ going out and the van breaks down and they have to spend the night in a conveniently The placed house, which happens in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Promiscuous Girl (usually dies pretty early on) Geek (Usually Helper) Final Girl (usually virgin) Heroin Jock (dies first) Jock (The Hero who kills himself trying to save usually the girl)

Also there is the cast of teenagers in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) which is what provided us with the now stereotypical cast of teenagers. This cast set the standard for modern day films, such as Cabin in the Woods.

The Promiscuous Girl (usually dies pretty early on) Geek (The Helper) Final Girl (usually virgin) Heroin The Donor – Give’s information Jock (The Hero who kills himself trying to save usually the girl)

As you can see the cast is similar in the film Cabin in the Woods (2012). This shows horror has certain stereotypes like the cats and the roles they play. Torodov’s theory is another stereotype, in which the film goes from chaos to equilibrium. This happens in both Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Cabin in the woods. Scream uses many techniques to avoid being a stereotypical film, but The still using the stereotypical cast to start off with.
Promiscuous Girl (usually dies pretty early on) Geek (The Helper) Final Girl (usually virgin) Heroin The Jock The sensitive Jock

The way in which Scream is a postmodern horror in the way it uses the stereotypical cast of two girls, three boys, but the difference is that there is a spin on the teenagers as the two jocks are the killers, but they both still end up dying and the final girl and the geek don’t. Sydney is the final girl and she has to kill the killers in order to save herself and to avenge her mother. The way in which Scream has changed horror and made the film postmodern is leading the audience towards many other killers, keeping the audience second guessing and never really sure who the killers are right until the end of the film. The killers are never suspected because they have little motive and this is postmodern in itself because before this film, the killers would not have been teenagers, they would be the ones dying. Also the killer would always have a motive and the motive would be pain induced. This also ties in with the generation they were living in, the ‘MTV Generation’ in which all kids treated life like a movie and listened to hip hop music where they would rap about killing people. The film is based around a lot of teenagers which is appealing to the audience, but the news reported ‘Gail Weathers’ plays a big role in the film. This is done to represent the times in which the film was created, as the mass media was very influential and they producer tried to portray that by giving her such a big role, which mirrors a reporters role in society. The first death of Casey is a demonstration of the typical horror genre, with her being in her middle class suburban house, alone. This shows the generation that was being portrayed by the director. This was the ‘MTV Generation’ which was all about watching ‘MTV’ and listening to hip hop music. Many parts in the film they reference the film as though it is a movie. For example when Sydney and her boyfriend are in the bedroom and he references their sex life as a ‘PG’. Which shows that they believe life is like a movie. Also in the scene in which Casey gets killed there is a demonstration of typical mise-en-scene in horror. As she is trying to get away from the killer moving around the house and there is lamps and little light in the house, creating a sense of fear and mysteriousness, the feeling of unknowing as the killer could be hiding in the darkness. Also in the same scene the use of disorientating mise-en-scene when she looks out of the

window and there is mist. This is literal as we cannot see what is in the distance, but also it’s symbolic, as it suggests the killer may be hiding in the poorly lit distance. This is looking in on itself by creating typical scene that the audience would expect, but changing it by prolonging the killers attack and toying with the victim and by doing this they are keeping the audience entertained. Scream includes classic icons of horror in the film, like the knife, an obvious killing icon which shows death from the opening scene as we see the knife. Also it indicates an intimate killer, who likes and has to be close to kill the victims. They also use a mask which is a demonstration of disguise as it hides the killer’s identity and keeps the audience from knowing the killer which keeps them entertained.

Also scream is postmodern as it doesn’t use Torodov’s theory, it has a slight adaptation of that as it goes from equilibrium to chaos then it comes back to disturbance, the whole film after they know there is a killer on the loose, there is always disturbance and no one is ever comfortable. This happens right up until the party because the killers set the mood and keep them relaxed so they don’t suspect them. This is the film looking in on itself and changing the film around so they don’t suspect the killers and giving prior horror watchers a sense of excitement and entertainment, by not making it like all the other films. There is obvious the themes of death and destruction in this film as it is a slasher horror and it wouldn’t be much of horror without these two themes. But in the Scream the audience are trying to be influenced into not being such a media influence society. The world in which we live in is a media saturated environment and we see so much death and destruction in the media from real life and television. By getting so

involved in the media, we are becoming desensitized to the reality of killing. So the film is trying to mirror society in the film, showing that any teenagers, who don’t even need a motive, could easily become heartless killers. So Scream is a postmodern film, it incorporates the stereotypical cast of teens in which the audience think they know they know the roles, but have looked into horror and have made the two ‘jocks’ the killers, so they aren’t one of the first people to die. Also they don’t identify the killers and keep the audience guessing - right until the end of the film - which the killers are.