Let’s be honest – the film industry is dominated by men. If this year’s Oscar nominations are anything to show, there are very few women taking lead roles in front of and behind the camera. Action films, crime films, even comedies are packed to the rafters with men, while women just get assigned the damsel in distress or the plucky sidekick.
However, one genre that has a surprising amount of women leads is horror. This is odd, as it’s typically seen as a more masculine genre, but women in horror films make up a large amount of the characters. But it’s the actual roles these women play that interests me the most, and in this blog post I will be looking at that exact thing – or, as I like to call it, ‘the transition from damsels to teenagers to mothers’.
For my second film review, I am going to be looking at The Amityville Horror. Although not a critically acclaimed film, it is an interesting one to analyse because it is considered one of the first ‘based on a true story’ accounts (embellished though it is) and it is also one of the first movies that is centred around a family living in a haunted house. It was released in 1979, meaning a lot of classic horror movie tricks from the Seventies/Eighties are prevalent here, and it is fascinating to compare these to modern film-making techniques.
In this blog post, I’m going to be looking at ten of the top tricks and tropes that appear in horror films, and then analysing what exactly about them makes them scary! In no particular order, here they are:
1. Jump scares
This is pretty much the staple for most, if not all, horror films. A jump scare plays on the most primal of human instincts – in simple terms, it’s a loud noise and sudden image, often of the villain in the movie, put in to shock you and make you jump. In my opinion, it is probably the laziest trope out there. However there’s no doubt that it’s incredibly effective for building up tension and causing a sense of terror quickly, while other elements in the movie create that long-lasting, deep-rooted fear long after it’s ended. One jump scare that has stayed with me is during The Grudge, where Kayako’s ghost appears suddenly in the window of the bus, making that haunting death rattle. It’s the one and only time I’ve ever screamed while watching a horror film.
Today is my first film review! However, this isn’t the sort of review where I say ‘I really liked this because it was fun and this person acted well’. I’m going to be doing an in-depth analysis, looking closely at what it is about this particular horror film that is considered scary: whether it’s because of content, cinematography, acting, or any particular horror tropes and tricks (more on that in my next post). The film I have chosen to review today is The Ring. It’s considered one of the scariest horror movies of the 21st Century, and I have distinct memories of being one of the select few in secondary school who’d seen it and hadn’t been left cripplingly terrified by old VHS tapes and horses (well, I am still slightly wary around both). So what is it about The Ring that made it such a terrifying yet ultimately well-loved horror film? Continue reading
If it isn’t clear by now, one of my favourite film genres is horror. I remember being thirteen years old at a sleepover on Halloween and doing nothing but watching scary movies all night, and since then my addiction has grown – from ghosts and exorcisms, to serial killers and violent deaths, I have always been fascinated by the horror genre and what makes it so successful. Why do we enjoy having the crap scared out of us, and then insist on coming back for more?
It is interesting how we as a culture are obsessed with horror films. It seems that even movies that aren’t stereotypically good can rake it in at the cinema, because there is something within us that loves to be scared. During Halloween weekend of 2014, the thriller Nightcrawler (considered by critics to be excellent) and the horror flick Ouija (considered… not so excellent) were pitted against each other for the top spot in the box office. It was incredibly close, with Ouija eventually winning with $10.7 million compared to Nightcrawler’s $10.4 million, even though it was thought of as the lesser of both films by critics and the public alike. So why did it do so well, despite being your regular teenage spooky film? There must be something that makers of this genre are doing right to keep us hooked.