Wednesday, 2 May 2012

In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our coursework piece is the opening to a horror film, Esther. We wanted to create something that hadn't been done over and over again, but we still used many things that are used a lot in horror films, because we thought that certain things signify horror to people, and create tension and fear within an audience and a film.

Rocking horse: the rocking horse has been used in numerous horror films/TV shows, such as Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, Insidious and Dark Vengance, an episode of Ghost Story

Here's the scene from Hello Mary Lou:


Rocking horses are often associated with the horror genre, possibly because of the connotations it has with childhood. Childhood is associated with innocence, purity and naiivety, and so to possess or make something child-like evil would be terrifying for audiences, because it is spoiling innocence and purity. They're also frightening because it shows innocent things can be dangerous and can do harm. These can be especially frightening for children, because children often have rocking horses in their bedrooms and may associate what they have seen in a film with real life. It can also subconsciously scare a parent, because they don't want to believe that even a children's toy can do harm, especially if their children have one. Rocking horses also can allude to ghosts or spirits, as films often use them as a means to show a 'presence in the room' by making them move without anybody moving them.

We use a rocking horse at the very beginning for the latter method, to reveal the presence of a spirit or malevolent presence (Esther) in the room with Jess whilst she performs her ritual.

 Pentagram: pentagrams are often associated with Satanists and Satanism. 

On the left is the pentagram we used in our film opening. It is considerably lower budget than the one used in Supernatural (below); however, it still gets the message across, and gives it a more authentic feel, because Jess is meant to be just a random girl who wouldn't have the resources to bang out a high-budget pentagram with all the trimmings.

 Pentagrams are used in horror because of their Satanic association, which stems way back to the Bible. Hundreds of years ago, people around the world were deeply religious, so to them Satan or demons were the ultimate evil, something which has carried through to today. The staying power of religious fear is especially shown through pentagrams and demons in films, because even religious people are frightened by these things. They are also frightening because they epitomise the unknown and the supernatural, something that frightens people because of its very unknown nature.

Mirror: mirrors are often used in horror films, such as Mirrors and Candyman, and is also used in many folklores, such as the Bloody Mary legend, where you chant a name into a mirror and the subject appears to kill you. Many superstitions involve mirrors, which is where I believe their use in horror films comes from. Such superstitions are that if you do not cover a mirror after a person dies in a house, their soul will become trapped in that mirror, or if you shatter one, you get seven years bad luck. Mirrors are considered a reflection of truth and the soul, so to break one shatters the soul. This 'reflection of the truth' is often used in horror films, because things often appear in a mirror reflection, but when the character turns around, there is nothing there. This scares people because, if the threat is invisible unless looking in a mirror, what could be following them around?

This is our mirror. We decided to use it because they reflect 'the soul' and show a person for what they really are. The view of the mirror is obscured, so who knows what Jess is seeing in there? ooOOoooOooo.


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