Media Studies A2 Genre Study

SESSION 3 Hor r or imager y and desensitisation

What is the effect of extreme imagery?
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Could it affect our moral wellbeing? Could it influence our actions? Does it make people enjoy violence? Does it blur fantasy and reality?

Studies into horror imagery and effects
Fear of the breakdown of law & order in horror films Configuratio n of night and dark reminded them of their youth

WW2 was seen as an experience of real horror & compromised their interest in imaginary horror

Rats disliked; a reminder of poor living conditions Adapted from “From Beezlebub to Blair Witch” by PAUL WELLS (2000)

Studies into horror imagery and effects
“PSYCHO” was seen as still shocking & frightening Hammer films were an example of vivid use of blood

Contemporary films like “THE EXORCIST” were too violent & frightening

Contempora ry films showed good special effects Adapted from “From Beezlebub to Blair Witch” by PAUL WELLS (2000)

Studies into horror imagery and effects
Believed U.S. horror was superior to British horror Experienced a slow disengagem ent with the genre

Noticed that the genre now had less passive roles for women; women fought the monster

Disliked the predictabili ty of 1980s horror films Adapted from “From Beezlebub to Blair Witch” by PAUL WELLS (2000)

Studies into horror imagery and effects
Were keen to learn about how effects were created Loved comedic aspects & were not put off by predictability

Enjoyed the spectacle (blood and gore), but understood the concept of film as artifice

Admired specific directors and their work Adapted from “From Beezlebub to Blair Witch” by PAUL WELLS (2000)

Are YOU desensitised?
To discover whether the findings of PAUL WELLS are correct, you are going to see clips from three texts which you will be covering during the genre study. Once you have seen each clip, write a short paragraph about it, carefully considering the following points :

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What imagery sticks in your mind? Why? What was your gut reaction to it? How did it affect you emotionally? Why do you think the clip affected you in that way?

What has happened to horror imagery?

From the 1930s to the late 1960s, the images were IMPLICIT. From the late 1960s to mid 1990s, imagery was more EXPLICIT. From the mid 1990s to the present, imagery has become more IMPLICIT again.

What has happened to horror imagery?

2006

Implicit

1930

1995

Explicit

1968

What does desensitisation tell us about audience expectations?

Overall They want scenes of implied or explicit violence They want to be scared as much as possible They want much less predictability within the genre

Desensitisationa summary
Get back into the group you were in for the horror synopsis exercise. Now, look at your work and consider the fact that your target audience will be desensitised to the imagery discussed in this lesson.
Write an evaluation of the imagery you would use in your 30 minute film, considering the following issues :

Does your film satisfy the desensitised audience? Why or why not? Now that you have examined the importance of images, what aspect of the visual style or plot you would you change?  Why have you chosen this element?   

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