For our project we were asked to create a 2-3 minute opening to a film of any genre of our choice. We chose the genre of Horror because we're (Me, Jess and Sarah) all huge fans of t.v programmes and films within the Horror/Sci-fi genre such as Supernatural. There were many inspirations behind our film but Supernatural was one of our biggest influences.This was shown through our use of the Satanic ritual as Supernatural is focused around the idea of demons and Satanism is often brought up because of this (Satan himself is also brought up in this programme but that's irrelevent). We wanted to do something quite dark and mysterious as we wanted the storyline to be interpreted differently for individuals watching. This is why we haven't actually established whether my character Esther is real or not because we wanted to leave it to the audience's imagination.
We wanted our project to be original so we tried not to conform to the stereotypes that we see used in most Horror film openings - hence our idea of Esther's reality/non-reality not being established. However there are still some aspects of our film that would usually be shown to signify Horror within a typical Horror Film. How many times have I used the word Horror in that paragraph? It doesn't sound like a real word anymore.
Props we used that are often associated with Horror - Candles, Mirrors/Broken Mirrors, A rocking horse, Old books or a book and the Pentagram.
I know it sounds silly but candles are often used within Horror Films. Usually this is to give the characters within the film a sense of security as the lights have all mysteriously gone out and they can't find any other source of light. This may also be used to trick certain members of the audience into thinking everything will be okay because of old/current fears of the dark that individuals within the audience may have and the light symbolises security to them. But as is the case in most Horror films we (should) know that it's not safe when the candles come out because that means someone or something has shut off the power in order to sneak up on a character or to seperate the character from their friends because one of them/or the character themself decides to be heroic and try to figure out what's turned the lights out. However in our opening we challenge (I suppose) this use of Candles by having the Villain Jess use them rather than the Victim because it is a part of her Satanic Ritual.
This may be an obvious one but Mirrors are one of the most common props used in Horror Films. There is even a horror film called Mirrors about a girl who was possessed finding a way to rid herself of the demon by encasing it in a Mirror. In this film the Mirror is used as a way of containing somebody else's soul (like the Bloody Mary legend) though they can be used as a metaphorical or literal way of reflecting a character's soul (who's looking into the Mirror) or revealing what is inside their soul to the audience. Though you cannot see what Jess see's when she looks into the mirror because the scene shot isn't angled towards the mirror it is safe to presume that she can see something horrific/frightening about herself or maybe even Esther looking back at her. :OOO
A rocking horse.
Though we didn't intentionally add the rocking horse to our film as a way of signifying horror it is another common prop used within horror films. I think we just liked the creepy sound it made so we decided to use it but let's pretend that it was intentional. I think the use of the Rocking Horse in horror films could be used for three things:
- As a sense of security for audience members/the characters like the candles as it reminds them of childhood when you were told by your parents that monsters weren't real or could perhaps remind people of a time when you could just call and your parents would come rushing in to reassure you that everything is okay.
- It could have the opposite effect and be used to horrify the audience that something so innocent and pure could be part or involved in something so terrifying. That in turn spoils this idea of innocence and youth and for some may become a subconscience reminder of horror for both adults and children when they see a rocking horse in real life.
An old book/old books in general.
I wasn't sure if this prop could be considered as stereotypical of most horror films but horror films that usually have an aspect of the supernatural tend to include a magical agent of some kind. The magical agent usually takes on the form of a book. In our film opening we can see Jess reading a SATANIC RITUAL (effects on the words satanic ritual are courtesy of Harry) from an old book that kills off her best friend.
(Note this is not the book we used during filming. This is a book I found on google images.)
Pentagrams are associated with black magic and Satanism which is why they’re used in most horror films with storylines linked to religion. So it was the perfect prop for our film. Though ours is made from cello tape it still had a massive impact on our setting as it not only added to the realism of Jess being a normal girl (apart from her satanic personality) who can't afford an expensive set up for her witchy rendezvous but also gave our scene more of a paranormal/eerie feel to it which was what we wanted. Much like most of the horror films pentagrams are featured in our pentagram was used for a sinister ritual rather than any other purpose so instead of challenging conventions of real media products we have used them within our piece pentagram-wise.
Another aspect of our film that challenges the conventions of real media products are the characters themselves. Our main character is Jess. A 16 year old girl who looks harmless but turns out to be a crazed, satanic killer. By using Jess as our main character we have challenged the conventions of most horror films because it is out of the ordinary for the killer to be played by a teenage girl when generally the killer would be played by a grown man who's out for revenge after a freak accident or in some cases young children who have been taken over by the devil. Films such as 'The Omen' for example.
Similarly the character of Esther within our film challenges the coventions of real media products because she is also young and seemingly harmless. Even the way her character comes across is quite naive and innocent (well she acts innocent) which goes against the usual conventions of horror. Whereas most villain's are potrayed as vicious and blood thirsty, Esther is potrayed as someone who is trying to look out for her friend rather than to corrupt her. This is shown when she says: "We can't afford accidents Jess. Do you want to get caught?" which suggests she is genuinely concerned for Jess even if she has led her astray.