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How has meaning been created through the use of codes and conventions in "Ginger Snaps"?

Ginger Snaps is a 2000 Canadian werewolf horror film directed by John Fawcett. The film focuses on two teenage sisters, Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald, who have a fascination with death. It was distributed by Motion Unlimited. During the opening sequence, many technical and symbolic codes are present along with conventions of this sub-genre (werewolf sub-genre). There are several different codes and conventions which have portrayed meaning and contributed to the sub-genre of Ginger Snaps. In the opening sequence non-diegetic soundtrack is being played in the background. The instruments being played sound like a group of violins. The music is slow and high and low and it denotes a gloomy mood. It also sounds like music that will be played at a funeral and this denotes death, ending and horror which clearly apply to the whole genre of horror. Cinematography is used in the opening sequence. There are close-ups and midshots of a teenage girl run over with blood all over her face. Blood is often a convention of the horror convention no matter what sub-genre but it if particularly used in the sub0genre of the werewolf horror. However in the first mid-shot is has a sense of established shot too because we can see the scene is a house and a front garden. In this mid-shot we can see a teenage girl has been run over a car. Her body language denotes she is hurt and unable to move and it portrays helplessness. The lighting is unclear and blurry; therefore we cannot see her face clearly. This is a technical symbol because it shows us what we can see her body language is technical because it shows us the mis-en-scene and the structure of the shot. Also I believe her body language portrays her emotion of being helpless. By symbolising this at the start of the sequence the audience are exposed to the narrative right from the start of the sequence and how it will involve gory death and danger. This is the close up shot that follows up the previous mid-shots. This close up shots of blood and her helplessness face can be used as symbolic codes to suggest death. The music speeds up and becomes more intense as the scenes go on which implies a cliff hanger is about to happen. The effect this has is it shows something bad is about to happen and the intensity of the film connotes a plot is being created. With all of the several shots I believe the audience are meant to put together the story themselves, because they know a plot is about to arise. This is midshot and the editing is very interesting because they have edited the saturation of the lighting and created a sepia effect. This also shows a blurry shot too and explores different lighting. There is also a clown in this shot. A clown is a common

convention in horror however not in this particular werewolf sub-genre. Also, there is a note with dialogue saying Mom, please bury me in this dress. Thanks. This is extremely disturbing and shows a psychological point of view. We can link the clown is the childs toy because it is next to the note and from the note we establish the child has already planned her outfit of her death. The clown is therefore a symbolic convention of the childs life however it is not portrayed in the normal child-like norm as it would be without the note being next to it. By this narrative it proceeds to a much darker vibe and symbolises a much obscurer plot. I believe a clown is portrayed by the director because it is a common convention of horror. The reasoning of clowns being so scary is because of a famous serial killer John Wayne Gacy who used to dress up as a clown as his disguise to attract young children. This was then portrayed into many scary films after to scare people. This is a close-up shot of a young female with several pills in her mouth and scattered in her hair. The shot portrays helplessness which I will further explain because it supports Laura Mulveys theory of women. She believed media texts portrayed women as helpless and needing to be saved by men. Also the females costume is white; this can be linked to women being pure and angelic however in this instance she is helpless and in need of revival. I believe the media text is supporting Mulveys theory because it is the female who the victim is looking helpless. I think the directors purpose of this shot is to give the audience a hint of the extent the characters are doing to themselves and what serious and horrific incidents these two young females are going through. This will intrigue the audience and also make them ask questions such as how has she been led to this point, what is going to happen to her etc. Quite frankly, the female in this media text looks like she has hit rock bottom. The next shot is of a young female lying down with a pick axe pierced through her chest. This is a midshots and the narrative seems like a garden or somewhere outside with bushes. What seems most ironic about this shot is the fact that she is quite literally being stabbed however there is no blood or gore. This quickly tells the audience this is not a slasher film. This could tell us that the film also links in with a supernatural sub-genre. This is quite disturbing and gives the audience curiosity hence to why this could be possible. It also is freaky and can make them scared just by this quite simple shot. Overall, I believe the directors intentions were to snip scenes throughout the movie to tease, question and inform the audience. I believe that the film Ginger snaps does not give away its sub genre within its trailer and that allows suspense between the text and the audience. I also believe

that there is no obvious protagonist which also is questionable, we can only see females which is quite unusual because in werewolf sub genres there are usually males.

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