Tuesday, 28 December 2010

All - Deconstructions of horror films

All - Deconstructing film openings

(The observations highlighted in pink are indicating the parts of the openings we have watched that influenced our opening.)

Friday the 13th
(Marcus Nispel, 2009)

Budget: $19,000,000

USA Box Office: $64,997,188

UK Box Office: £1,955,271

Camera Shots

Point of view

Over the shoulder

Shot reaction shot

High and low angles

Extreme close up

Close up

Long shots

Establishing shot




Shadows from over hanging trees

Lightening flashes


Blonde girl is wearing revealing clothes - short shorts/skirt, white top which goes see-through from the rain

This contrasts with Jason's mother who is wearing loose, long black clothing which is quite stereotypically. By wearing all black, most of the time she is an outline and blends into the background. This makes her face stand out and also focuses the audience on her silver necklace which we assume is a key part of the film because after she dies someone comes to collect it.

In some of the shots the trees and branches obstruct some of the shot

Both of the characters have a weapon which signifies that one of them will die

When the head drops to the floor is splashes in a puddle which is quite dramatic

Lightening bolt flashes illuminate the scene in short sections


Starts eerily throughout the opening titles and credits

We can hear the lightening and thunder along with the rain and the wind

There is a bang when the second character jumps out

The beat of the drum in the background music is in time with the claps of thunder making it louder and more dramatic

Very little dialogue but when words are spoken it is from the older woman, the blonde girl just screams and mutters

To heighten the tension of the scene is certain places, one long note is played getting louder as the action intensifies

Non-diegetic is used throughout with diegetic on top

The music that has been added in editing messes with your heartbeat making it more tense


A red tinted has been added to the first credits which list the companies that were involved with the production of the film. This colour represents blood which instantly tells the audience the genre of the movie

Serif fonts have been used for the names and titles

Cross and jump cuts have been used between the action and the credits

The credits are presented in a white font against a black background which is binary opposition of good and evil

The first shot anchors the date: Friday the 13th

The second shot anchors the location: Camp Crystal Lake

By having small sections of action between the credits it builds suspense and makes the audience not fully understand what is happening which makes them want to carry on watching the film. Also the fast pace of the editing and the reluctancy to show everything makes it more tense and in the fight and death part it makes it more real

It pauses the girl for a few seconds when she has killed Jason's mum making it more dramatic

Lighting flashes every time the action cuts to the credits

Bride of Chuckie (viewed with no sound)

(Ronny Yu, 1998)

Budget: 25,000,000

USA Box Office: $32,368,960

UK Box Office: £526,510

Titles written in a serif font

blue tint


wind moving the curtains






blonde, busty woman with long nails who sucks blood

light coming through the windowns, raindrop on windscreen in just one line showing it is derelict, isolated, rarely visited

shes wearing a tight PVC dress which is revealing and cheap signifying slut

the police officer is breaking the law, talking on the phone, it is unsolved so he shouldnt be taking it

close ups

long shots

establishing shot of police department

ecu of the eye shows must be tense

tapping the lighter- impatient, waiting for someone

follows high heels around the car - mysterious

femme fatale - evil

phone is a life line - safety

face in the rearr view mirror

All the boys love Mandy Lane

(Jonathan Levine, 2006) (8mins 25secs)

Budget: $750,000

USA Box Office: $41,000

everyones looking at a girl - could signify shes new or an outsider. The girl is sexually attractive which we can determine from the looks she recieves (admiration)

pool party signifies the american setting

they are all wearing limited clothing (bikinis etc) which hints the sexual nature of the teens

they are all partying and drinking - rebelious, and kissing - something will happen between the teenagers

Girls in the film opening are pretty, slim and the males are very muscular (REPRESENTATION)

fight scene - tension between Mandy Lane's best friend and the person who wants to have sex with her.

it is set at night indicating that the party has been going on for some time and the teens are now drunk

he shoots the guy with a waterpistol which foreshadows what might happen later on in the film

titles are in a serif font - blood splatterd - screaming, blood drips, non- diagetic sound

pan down - happy music,. schools out after last bell has rung for the end of school

close up of large boobs framed by her long blonde hair - secual element of the character/film

close up of boys and girls looks that they give her

binary opposition - geeks/pretty - cheerleader
Mandy Lane flicking hair - emphysising binary opposition

close up of bum - framed

quick cut to white screen - ellipsis signifies time has passed

quick shots of the alcohol, smoking, drugs, kissing, boobs/bum/blondes - typical teens are misbehaving

Mandy Lane and binary opposition, he is lonely, nerdy and not stereotypically muscular or 'fit'

blonde, busty, skinny - but not a scream queen as expected. she is still hints at being sexually available for is a FINAL GIRL instead.

girls have been included in this horror movie as 'eyecandy' for the guys but it is also the same for the female viewers and the male characters

this film is playing against the conventions of horror - final girl rather than scream queen, usually it is the death of a blonde girl in the beginning but in this case it is death of a male

Babysitter Wanted

(Jonas Barnes, 2008)

Budget: N/A

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: N/A

Blood stained weapons suggest that they have already been used on someone else

the lines on her body have been drawn out like they would be put on a pig by a butcher

no death is seen on screen as the imagination can be more scary than the real thing

it is one long drawn out note which adds tension to the scene and the volume and pitch increases as the seen goes on, intensifying it

the butchers hook signifies that the babysitter is being treated like a piece of meat

hand held camera makes it more realistic like you are seeing something you shouldnt be


girl is only in her underwear which could be how she was found (hinting a sexual act had taken place previously)

Sorority House Massacre

(Carol Frank, 1986)

Low budget and wasnt very successful

Long opening credits with tense music building up - 1.17 minutes long

Picturesque house

Extremely slow zoom in as credits play

Credits are sans-serif font

Creepy, eerie and suspenceful music

Wind blowing un the trees signifies presence

White house with all the lights on

When the title of the film appears

Traditional greek lettering for a sorority

Then "massacre" is shown with blood-red colour, serif font, blood splatter - Sets the theme of the film

Futuristic sound effect when "massacre" is revealed, building up tension


Cuts to medium close up of main character in hospital, in the bright daylight

Shot changes to midshot/2 shot of main character and the new entered character

Flashback cue

Creepy, scene setting music begins to play again

Camera tracks footsteps- Low angle shot

Door of the big white house is ominous and forboding

Zooms in on another character sleeping- this hightens tension as footsteps are also heard

There is a shadow next to the bed; someone is leaning of the character

Scene cuts to a tracking shot of the empty sorority house - signifies lonliness

Zooms in on character again; death is imminent

Camera tracks through dark, creepy hallways

Cut back to main character, close up to show fear

Figure in bed

Scene cuts to main character and new one- mood is lightened temporarily

Camera looks downstairs, long shot of a girl in the doorway

Music/atmosphere rises

Man in the bed wakes up- Extreme close up of his face

Blood- curdling scream from room- camera zooms out quickly

Cut to 2 characters in daylight - midshot

Final shot of little girl again


A blue tint may have been used to create a dark effect


Tense music throughout to create the illusion that something bad is going to happen

it becomes fast and upbeat during parts to get the audiences hearts racing

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

(Tobe Hooper, 1974)

(3mins 21secs)

Budget: £83,000

BO: $31mil

scrolling and voiceover gives the idea of a documentary - verisimilitude - based on a true story

the date 'August 18, 1973' provides anchorage

blank screen, still sound - audio bridge linking the opening shots to first look at the screen

sounds of digging - diagetic but unanchored

freaky music - not overpowering but non diagetic

(1m 22s) to going into the first part of the movie until now it has been a blank screen - off screen violence - your own imagination can be more frighting

flash photography denotes a police investigation - sense of mystery narritive enigma


radio playing over the top provides exposistion of where it is set

no main characters (not standard convention of an opening)

only really one shot being used which mmakes the audience provide the horror for themselves

equilibrium is introduced

The Ring 2

(Hideo Nakata, 2005)

Opening- 6.30 minutes (including production titles etc 6.50 minutes)

Budget: N/A

USA Box Office: $75,888,270

UK Box Office: £5,168,265

Establishing shot - shows a dark picture of a rough sea against rocks, its from a birds eye view of the sea, zooms into water, this is in daylight

Has Dramatic music playing

Shows a close up of dirty water, still in daylight

Then pans back out to show a much calmer sea, the camera is following the swaying of the seas movement, this is now sunset

Shows a close up of darkness and dark water, sea is glistening from the moon and fades into a aqua colour of sea and fades out to blackness, this is night time

Zooms out from a town surrounded by sea, there are many buildings as the camera pans out to show a high angle of the town

Fades into a street showing a particular house, camera has trees infront of it

Each different shot when black then faded into the next shot

Fades into a living room, with a teenage blonde girl sat on a sofa

Over the shoulder shot of the girl

Looks like someone is behind her as the camera zooms in on the girl

Music gets more tense, faster beat

Close up of the side of the girls face then zooms into her ear

A teenage boy whispers in her ear "hey" and she jumps, still close up

The two teenagers start having a conversation, 2 shot

Dutch angle on the two teenagers talking, both sat next to each other touching

Zooms out to a tape nearby

Two shot again-Mid shots

The guy is trying to make the girl watch a scary tape

They kiss, the boy seems nervous and tense (suggesting it could be his last kiss)

Music becomes high pitched as the boy leaves the room

Shows him coming through a door, mid-shot, a loud bang as the door opens

Pans to the microwave, focusing on the time, 8:58

Shows the boy stood anxious, saying "play it", mid-shot

Music is tense and faster beat

The goes to a close up of his worried face

Goes back to the girl, shows her reflection in the t.v walking towards it to play the tape

Close up of her putting the tape in

Zooms in for an extreme close up of tape

Close up shot showing her reflection in the t.v, she looks worried

The music has faded out

A fuzzy screen then comes on the telly (black and white)

Shows the boy from a low angle in the kitchen, zooming from his face down his body

Music starts again, its tense and upbeat to show urgency

Pans down to his arm, as he rolls his sleeve up, it shows a red burnt hand print on his arm

Goes back to the living room where the girl is looking worried, its a mid-shot

Sound-fuzzing of the t.v and music becoming faster

Close up of the girl picking the remote up

Close up of the boys face

She presses play on the remote

Screen comes up with a close up of the t.v showing a cold woods

Tense music

The guy is now in the room (girl in the background in a curled up postition, shes scared), midshot

This is all in face movement

Background behind the guy is blurry then fades into the guy being in the woods which was previously shown on the telly

Zooms to a well but the guys reflection is still in view, grey and old hands appear and start climbing up the wall of the well

Music picks up pace

A wet girl climbs out of well, as if she is chasing the boy

Shows the boys scared face

Shows a black/red fuzzy screen

The shows an extreme close up of an eye

Shows an extreme close up of the girl crying and screaming

Zooms in on a terrified boys face

Back to black and white fuzzy screen, still here scream

Shows a black background with a white ring on it


(Eli Roth, 2005)

Budget -$4,500,000 (estimated)

USA Box Office: $47,277,326

UK Box Office: £4,216,561

Opening- 1.73 minutes (including production titles etc 2.08 minutes)

Starts off in blackness

The sound is whistling and in the background water dripping this sound is through out the whole opening

Titles appear in white, with pipes and dark room in the background

Shows some tiles with dirty foam running down them. This gives the audience an impression that something bad is being washed away

Shows a close up of a rusty pipe and water dripping onto a dark black floor

All the setting is dark and mucky

Close up shot of a pair of blood red scissors going into a glass of liquid (could be cleaning acid - Sterelizer) on top of the whistling they clatter into the glass

Close up of blood being washed away

Pans out to a dark room, small, dirty

The the door of the room closes, blocking the light out gradually, makes a loud squeeking noise, then they screen goes to blackness, the titles carrying on appearing in white.


(Luca Bercovici, 1995)

Budget: $1,000,000

Opening-7.22 minutes long

Teenagers are telling stories of the boys granny, haunted stories and then touching her dead hands and insides, fake scare

All realise it was a joke and go and wash there hands in the kitchen

Girls are in the bathroom talking, audience thinks its POV shot of the killer going down the corridors, tense music

Music stops, but girls are still talking

POV from the mirror, girls fixing themselves, false scare

Then outside at night, watching of the house

(John Carpenter, 1978)

Budget: $320,000

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: N/A

Low budget, indie film

1min 58s

pumkin - lit up, flickering flame - zooms in

colours of text (yellow and red) signifies hell, fire, horror

music gets louder, fast pace making it eery, builds suspense and changes the audience's heart rate making them more tense.

title cards signify and anchors the location (country) which provides exposition, dennoting

black screen - plain white lettering - connotes binary opposites good and evil - representing aspects of the film

is set in Illinois - not New York, smaller and more sucluded

POV shot - handheld - shaky camera shot

blue filtered lighting for the house signifies the supernatural, cold (metaphorical - cold atmosphere/heart)

trees are overhanging creating creepy shadows

the use of a detatched house for the location represents isolation and vulnerability

couple can be seen throught the net curtain kissing etc - quiet volume adds suspense and the camara shot is as if someone is looking in

long drawn out notes adds tension

The last house on the left

(Wes Craven, 1972)

Budget: N/A

USA Box Office: $$32, 721, 635

UK Box Office: £880,716

Titles provide anchorage for where it is set, America

Woods, daylight, deserted road

Old car indicates the time period of the film

Name on the mail box shows who the main character of the film is, the heart signifying that she is a girly girl and likes love, sex etc

Bathroom/shower scene - frosted glass screen covers up exposure but we can still see she is naked

Zoom in through the bushes on the house

Titles in a bold red font

Final girl, challenging the conventions of the genre, she is brunette, pretty and skinny

Cherry Falls

(Geoffrey Wright, 2000)

Budget: $14,000,000

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: £818, 465

4mins 24s

Titles: Red on black signifies blood and evil

Anchorage of location- Virginia

Long shot through the bushes, bushes are in the camera shot which creates a POV

Close up shot of the moon alone in the sky

A car is present, the car dates the time period

Good looking teenage boy and girl canoodling, whispering

Leg shot (close up) of the girl

The girl refuses sex with the boy

Deserting car behind them

Car headlight beams into the teenagers car, cannot not see who is behind the steering wheel, mystery

The boy checks out who it is, then has a fight and gets killed by a mad man

Cant see the kill, leaves it open for audiences imagination

Music builds up tension, girl is crying, she is left with the killer

You see the weapon pressed up against her face

The killer then puts blood on her lips like lipstick

Urban Legend

(Jamie Blanks, 1998)

Budget: $14,000,000

USA Box Office: $38,048,637

UK Box Office: £1,146,110

7mins 57s

Titles: a thunderstorm with white titles flashing up, lightning

See long shots of a car going round a bendy deserted road

Pans into the car with the brunette girl, radio is on, radio is talking about sex

Nearly crashes her car into an oncoming car because she is trying to reach for CDs, put on total eclipse of the heart song

There is a storm

Close up shot of a low petrol signal

Girl starts to swear/sin

Pulls into a deserted gas station, old and battered

POV in car looking around the station

False scare, guy bangs on the window and helps her fill up the gas

He looks into the back of the car suspiscially

Then goes inside with her credit card

Music is creating tension as it builds up

The guy comes back and says the bank is on the phone, he tries to get her out of the car

The girl puts on her coat and puts a spray (self defense) in her pocket

Follows the man inside

Man locks the door, blocking her escape exit

The girls realises no-one is on the phone

The guy attacks her, starts grabbing her, she sprays in his eyes and she smashes the window in, all fast pace and climbs out the window and runs to her car

Guy follows her, she starts the engine and hits the man and drives off

The man shouts 'there is someone in the back seat'

Tense panick

Song is now back on, the girl is singing along nervously

rain blurs the windscreen, unsure of the events

See a black figure creeping up on the back seat

Shows blackness behind the girl

Flash of lightening (alternate lightening) showing a axe shape

ECU of girls eyes looking through the mirror to the back, scared and realising someones there

Fast motion. see windows smashing and blood

American Psycho

(Marry Harron, 2000)

Budget: $8,000,000

USA Box Office: $15,070,285

UK Box Office: £3,563,472

Titles – White and black with blood dripping down, binary opposites

Tense music

Red (blood) being pooled onto white background

Cutting of bread viciously

Strawberries / raspberries falling

Shows pork surrounded by blood

Close up of plate being moved

Showing table decorations

Posh people sat around a table

‘Blood’ raspberry sauce

Voice over explaining menu – waiter

Shows 3 men talking at a table, two shots – going into a club – music playing

Girls using fingers as guns

People dancing – having fun

Dark room, loud music

Men ordering drinks

Man starts having a go at the bar staff – indication of him being the psycho, talks about playing with her blood

Ginger Snaps Unleashed

(Brett Sullivan, 2004)

Budget: $CAD3,500,000

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: N/A

White font on black background – whispering

Close up of a girl grabbing her razor – potential weapon

Close up of pale skin

Girl shaves her back

Washes razor – washing away mystery?

Close up of shaving her leg

Shaving back

Blood hitting the floor

Shaves whole body

Close up of bruises on her arm

Sound – screaming and sharp noises all the way through

Close up of putting razor down and picking up scalpel

Close up of scars on her arms

Cutting arm with scalpel

ECU of scalpel cutting arm, blood dripping down

Blood dripping in water

Hand covered in blood, blood everywhere

Bandaged arm and hand

Titles floating across the screen

Needle in a pot

Tapping needle to get air out – red coloured

ECU of injecting the substance

Long shot of her injecting, on her own, bathroom with blood everywhere

Bits of sharp objects and pans down to a picture of two girls

Sea of blood

Nightmare on Elm Street

(Wes Craven, 1984)

Budget: $1,800,00

USA Box Office: $10,777,659

UK Box Office: N/A

Close up of bottom half of legs, only in the middle of screen surrounded in blackness

Close up of hand, knives as fingers, on the table – weapon

Screeching background noise plays throughout opening

White writing credits, sans serif font

Still small screen, hands put on a glove with knives

Big title appears in bright red lettering signifying blood

Hand goes through cloth material, is it that easy through a body?

CU of woman’s face white background

Runs down a dark deserted corridor, towards the camera

Turns back to the camera, over the shoulder shot

False scare- sheep runs out

Pipes dirpping, dark room, girl is on her own and vulnerable

Music is fast pace

Face lurking and jumping out on the terrified girl

Audience fears for girl, she is lost

Girl shadow creates false tension

Steam makes surrounding unclear

Over the shoulder shot of girl

Freddie Kuger pulls metal nails across pipes, high pitched screech

CU of girl jumping from the screeching

Freddie tearing lines through the cloth near the girl

Girls runs into a dead end, with fire behind her lightening her up

CU of girl screaming and crying

Shadows creeping around

Freddie creeps up on girl, hand goes to her face

She wakes up, startled ECU

The hills have eyes

(Wes Craven 1977)

Budget: $230,000

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: N/A

Music/sound – crow, black crow signifies bad luck

Animated black hills, dusk, relates to the film title

Yellow sans serif font

Barren area, old western barns

Man and a woman, man questioning woman

CU of the people

Two shot conversation

Strong American accents, western

Country/Farm clothes, hillbilly look

Dogs react strangely- addition of characters

Middle of day to dusk- passing of time

Warning yelled as characters drive away, signifies danger is near

Car explodes

Change of scene

Black Christmas

(Glen Morgan, 2006)

Budget: $CAD686,000

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: N/A

red wine, red ink - represents blood/romance

pretty girl

close up of everday objects (scissors, bottle opener) which could be used as a weapon

heart on the card represents it is too her lover, signifying she is rebellious, sex etc)

pen is missing but plastic bag gets her first, then the pen stabs her (this is unexpected)

the music playing at the begining of the film is jolly so the audience is not expecting anything bad to happen

Dressed to kill

(Brian de Palma, 1980)

Budget: $6,500,000

USA Box Office: $31,900,000

UK Box Office: N/A

5min 10s

1min 36 of titles and music

font and music lead towards a romantic drama - polysemic. This lures us into a false sense of security, narrative is about confusion of identity so the music choice represents this

conveys a more sophisticated approach which is enticing oler females to come and watch the thriller

dated design interior signifies the time period of the 70's

ensuite hints towards wealth as well as the large bedroom

soft focus - very bright light signifies a dream

not conventional for a slasher - older married couple rather than teens


My Little Eye

(Marc Evans, 2002)

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: £2,566,742

Opening - 4mins 25s

Universal and working titles are fuzzy

in the background there is a phone connection dial tone followed by a hang up andd blank line tone whilst the titles are playing. This fades out into the intro

ECU of a computer screen and an advert says 'Wanted'. The mouse arrow indicates it is a computer rather than anything else

This advert goes full screen and subtitles on the screen explain what it is advertising - what the film is about

title of the film appears, fuzzy and pixelated by sharpens up

we now meet all the characters that successfully applied for the competition with a mid shot of each contestant introducing themselves. All start pixelated but sharpen focus

Blank wall, individual interviews signifies isolation, flickering light

not a very pretty room - holes in the walls and cracks - abandoned

some close ups of faces to show emotion of the characters

blue tint used for thesse introductions

mixture of males and females in the house, all pretty and attractive, suggests some intimacy may occur over the 6 months they are there

girls are wearing rather tight and revealing tops

screen divided into sections each watching a different big of the house like CCTV. Shows they are being watched.

editing is slow to begin with when the advert is being shown allowing people to have enough time to read what is on screen. The pace quickens slightly for the interview, jump cutting between what they are saying so they finish each others conversations. Very fast changes for the CCTV effect to signify that they are all constantly being watched

This conversation anchors the time saying 'this time next week we will have the money to buy new stuff' indicating that they have nearly finished their time in the house.

CU and MCU of faces around the table show the characters emotions

Girl opens the curtains to let in the light indicating that hope is outside. Camera zooms in on her face (zoom affect is heard). The last line she says 'this house is a f*cking creepy ass house' then the camera cuts to a night vision, green tinted LS. Zoom noise can be heard again

sans serif font. typed effect.


(Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Budget: $806, 947

USA Box Office: N/A

UK Box Office: N/A

Opening - 2mins 45s

Black and white signifies the time it was made and set

as titles play - music that messes your heart beat up - loud

Both names and titles need to be pieced together as they are jumbled

black screen, white titles and grey stripes

names change position around the screen, fits with the jumpy music

high angle, establishing shot of buildings in a city, pan of rooftops, 'pheonix arizona' anchors the location - music more slow and sophisticated here

anchorage of the date 'Friday, December the Eleventh'

Anchorage of the time 'Two Forty Three p.m'

Still pans but zooms into one building and an open window, room is dark

man is putting shirt on, women in underwear in bed - kissing

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