• The themes found in horrors are used to scare, thrill and entertain the
audience. Horror films centre around 'the dark side of life'; the
strange, forbidden and alarming events. Themes are the common form of
horror films; they are something that is Some of the typical themes of
• Demons and exorcisms
• Serial Killers
• Religious belief
Themes notably turn into sub genres within horror films. For example: *next
3. Gothic Film – this is a type of story that contains elements of
Goth and horror. It may have romance that unfolds within the horror
film, but it usually suspenseful. One of the most earliest horror movies
created was apart of this sub-genre. They include universal
horror films, such as The Phantom of the
Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. Modern gothic
horrors: Sleepy Hollow, Underworld, The Wolfman, From Hell, Dorian
Gray, Let Me In and The Woman in Black.
4. • Slasher film - This is a type of horror film usually involving
a psychopathic killer stalking, and killing a sequence of victims in a violent
manner - often with a cutting tool, e.g. an axe or a knife. Slasher films can also
overlap with the crime and thriller genre. Examples of this subgenre
include Black Christmas, Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Scream, I
Know What You Did Last Summer, Friday the 13th, Child's Play and A Nightmare
on Elm Street.
5. • Psychological horror - this subgenre relies on characters'
fears, guilt, eerie sound effects, beliefs, emotional instability and
sometimes, the supernatural. This is used to build tension within
the film and to further the plot. Examples of this include The
Uninvited, Gothika, The Ring, The Exorcist, Session 9, The
Others, The Mothman Prophecies, 1408, The Shining, Stir of
Echoes, The Innocents, The Sixth Sense and many others
• The classic narrative structure of the Horror genre has to have a
protagonist character within the film. Horror is based upon conflict and
dilemmas the main characters endure.
• From the main list of characters, several character types are chosen for a
horror film: the heroine/hero, the evil "monster" and the supporting
characters. In the 'Woman In Black' film, the protagonist character/hero
is Arthur Kipps, and the villain is the woman in black.
• Horror films try to connect with the viewer - with the expectation that
the viewer will identify with the hero. Some narratives, typically seen in
the sub-genre of slasher films, are very common and unoriginal when it
comes to the film plot/storyline. For example, the film would revolve
around the story of a killer that had a traumatic childhood past or even
psychotic medial issues. Thus, ending up killing people at random, or
with "reasoning". Within this stereotypical narrative, the characters are
usually teenagers, all so happen to be killed off in a sequence, generally
leaving one to survive.
• The fate of this "hero“ (the one left to survive) tends to be left
unknown, in the hands of each individual horror film.
• The Protagonist: This is usually a female role, they are usually the
most morally standing and smartest of the group, they almost
always survive in order to pave way for a sequel. An example of this
would be seen in the Scream franchise; the main character Sidney
• The Sex appeal: This role is often filled by a promiscuous
woman, who is often the first to be killed and are the first to
expose their body. E.g Paris Hilton in The House of Wax
• The Irritating character: This role is often partnered with the “sex
appeal” and often the first to go. Due to their behaviour, the
viewer is usually happy when they have been killed off.
• The unlikely hero: This character is generally the one the audience
suspects to be the antagonist due to their actions or appearance
within the film
• The Antagonist: The “Bad Guy” of the film is usually revealed at
the end of the film. They are usually killed off at the end, or in
some cases left wounded to make room for a possible sequel.
9. CAMERA WORK
• The art of camera work is an important
element displayed in horror films. Through
this convention, the audience can easily be
understood to what the film is trying to say.
Weird angles and canted cameras are most
common within horror films. Also, they of
often use extreme close ups and point of view
shots in order to make the audience feel more
involved, to build tension or even to express
The use of documentary-like camera work creates a realistic feel for a horror
film. This means that the audience will be able to feel more involved with the
movie, relating the most unrealistic events appear to be more tangible in
• The visual styling of horrors is what easily identifies the audience with its
genre. For example:
• Dark colours used, such as black and red. These key colours connote
danger and the most obvious assumption, blood. The repeated use of
these colours are usually seen within posters of horror films.
• The colour white is often associated with supernatural horror movies.
Therefore, the use of colour is a powerful form because it allows the
audience to identify what type of message the film is trying to send.
• For example, Typical locations (e.g. an abandoned house, a forest, an event
that occurs during the night time, dark alleys etc.)
• Props are one of the main indicators of the horror genre. When it comes to
identifying a certain character or villain, props such as
costumes, machetes, knife, chainsaws, rope etc, are used
• Lighting can be essential in creating dark shadows and unfamiliar shapes.
Low-Key lighting can contribute to this effect.
• Common objects: (e.g. supernatural icons, masks, religious symbols etc.)
• The typical settings for a horror film are
usually isolated, abandoned or locations with
a hidden past. This creates a build up of
tension for the viewer. The characters are
usually placed in a setting alone, these are
usually set at night time. However the setting
for a horror genre is varied and can be set in
almost any location at any time of day
An abandoned house