Sunday, 7 May 2017

Blumhouse Rules of horror in 2017

Get political and have great scares: the new rules of horror movies https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/05/get-political-and-have-great-scares-the-new-rules-of-horror-movies?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, 20 March 2017

The scream queen directors

The female directors bringing new blood to horror films https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/19/the-female-directors-bringing-new-blood-horror-films-babadook-raw-prevenge?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, 6 March 2017

Blumhouse $5m Indie picked up by Universal is 2017 hit

Logan is a box office mutant while Get Out stays in and Moonlight shines https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/05/logan-get-out-us-box-office-moonlight?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Halloween rebooted again but Friday dropped

Scare tactics: can David Gordon Green bring the slasher flick back to life? https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/feb/10/david-gordon-green-halloween-slasher-film-flick?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, 15 November 2013

Prominence of student work on YouTube

I've blogged previously on the growing number of made-for-fun short horror films on YouTube (especially zombie flicks), reflecting the ongoing impact of digitisation and the accessibility of digital film-making today, but its worth noting too how the battalions of Media Studies students across the land are leaving their own legacy. As students conduct research into their chosen genre before setting out to create their own genre piece, increasingly they could be accessing other students' distilled research to do so!

When doing some tagging on archive posts I came across a mention of how prominent my students' work was on YouTube search results - so, a year or so on, I had another look, and sure enough, a 'slasher openings' on YouTube (Nov 15th 2013) produced the following top results:
IGS student work came top of the pile in this search
You can help make your work more widely seen by using YouTube categories and tagging.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Martin Scorsese's Top 11 Horror Movies

There's always some publication/organisation publishing a 'top horror' list - the genre remains very popular, whilst also continuing to evolve; the likes of Saw are very different indeed from the 60s Hammer movies that briefly dominated the global horror audience!

The Guardian has indeed run a top 10 horror in 2013 (their horror microsite is here), part of a wider genre-by-genre series, but this is a little bit different: the countdown by one of the all-time greats of film-making, Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull etc!). Plus ... like Spinal Tap, he turns it up to 11!
Great article, with trailers/clips helpfully built in; his selections are firmly of the old school...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Violent scenes

Easily the most difficult aspect of trying to create your own slasher: your earnest efforts can end up causing laughter instead of chills unless you're very careful about framing, editing, mise-en-scene/SFX and sound. Try watching almost any slasher kill/violence scene with the sound off (repeat with no pictures, sound only) and you'll quickly appreciate what a difference sound can make. That includes unsettling diegetic sound (often exaggerated), not just non-diegetic music.
This is just a placeholder post for now, something I'll add to at a later date. There's no substitute for viewing (though reading the likes of Stephen Rebello's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho [1990], or any of the many journal/web articles devoted to this topic will certainly help) examples to boost your understanding of how filmmakers maintain verisimilitude in this central feature for slasher audiences.

Sometimes, though, there's an intentional degree of campness, even before Scream made postmodernism part of the slasher mix. The vid below (a daft vodcast ... with over 175k views) contains some examples, but its not hard to find many more on YouTube.
NB: The following vid features strong language and clips from 18-rated films featuring strong violence.

tbc

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Franchises

A couple of useful resources (I'll probably add more later) on a central feature of the genre: the franchise, with endless generally low-budget sequels, costs kept low by having few returning characters between movies able to demand higher fees (Scream was a notable exception), often treating the fanbase shoddily by selectively following the narratives of previous movies.

http://horror.about.com/od/horrorfranchises/Horror_Movie_Franchises.htm - Good list, with each entry hyperlinked to further info
http://uk.ign.com/articles/2006/12/18/top-25-movie-franchises-of-all-time-7 - slasher franchises feature in the list
http://www.joblo.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-32794.html - a forum's list of best 10 slashers ever, in which franchise entries feature heavily
http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-horror-franchises-they-should-have-killed-for-real.php - A different approach: the 10 franchises that should have been scrapped!
http://turtlecanyon.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/the-slasher-movie-franchise-rankings/ - a simple listing of the entries in 3 key franchises (Scream, Hwn, Fri 13th)
http://lovingthehalloweenfranchise.tumblr.com/ - a blog dedicated to Halloween (there are many more out there)
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=slasher.htm - the top 20 all-time slasher movies by box office features ... 20 franchise entries, which says a lot about how the genre functions
http://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk/606071-favorite-slasher-film-franchises-why.html - a poll and discussion about the best slasher franchise
http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?179117-Slasher-Movie-Poll! - interesting list of best slasher killer etc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMJr9vSfZQ4&feature=related - most remakes have been abysmal; here's a video comparison of the orig + remake NoESt

Monday, 19 November 2012

NARRATIVE Nowell's 7 key stages of slasher


Nowell’s book Blood Money (2011) is primarily concerned with a point on audience: that slasher movies were aimed as much at female as at male audiences. He also makes an incredibly useful analysis of what he considers the universal components of the early slasher narratives, listed below, also noting that films were given some differentiation + novelty alongside their redundancy by playing around with the ordering of these. Once more, Todorov’s notions influenced him.
Part One: Setup
1.Trigger: Events propel a human (the killer) upon a homicidal trajectory.
2.Threat: The killer targets a group of hedonistic youths for killing.
Part Two: Disruption
3. Leisure: Youths interact recreationally in an insular quotidian location.
4. Stalking: A shadowy killer tracks youths in that location.
5. Murders: The shadowy killer kills some of the youths.
Part Three: Resolution
6. Confrontation: The remaining character(s) challenges the killer.
7. Neutralization: The immediate threat posed by the killer is eliminated.’ (p.21)

21 Memorable scream queens

Not my list, but a useful blog post to help with your research; see http://www.buzzsugar.com/Movie-Scream-Queens-20062131.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

REMAKES Mark Kermode's reviews-NoESt

You can find footage of his reviews of other remakes (TCM, LHotLeft etc) by searching or looking on the suggested video column alongside the following vid. No matter what franchise/idea you're working on, you'll find his reviews useful - eg, this one points up that the conflict/dis-equilibrium in the original film occurs only because parents lied to their children.

Here's another cracking quote from this:
Now what you get is Michael Bay's lot, the destroyers of all creativity in cinema, the jack-booted bank managers who just come storming through in the pursuit of a quick buck going What was the whole thesis of [NoESt] ... Oh! He's got a big claw! ... It's just this horrible reducto absurdium. In this, there's none of the [original's] coherence, the backstory is completely messed up. ... Its nastier in all the wrong ways. Its boring and louder.
He really doesn't hold back!

Mark Kermode's Doc Scream + Scream Again

Mark Kermode, Radio 5's famously-quiffed film reviewer, presented this doc some time ago, reflecting his status as a leading authority on the horror genre. A YT user has uploaded it in 5 parts (click on his list of uploaded vids to find the rest); here's part 1:

Friday, 8 June 2012

BellaOnlone on Popularity of Horror Films

From http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art5267.asp (BellaOnline "The Voice of Women")

BellaOnline's Horror Movies Editor
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The Popularity of Horror Films


Scary, creepy, and downright disturbing images have existed in film as long as we have had the ability to invent them, perceive them, and construct them. People like to be scared, they crave it and seek it out. The need for fear is inherent within the human psyche. It’s our yin to the yang of feelings of security and acceptance. Fear has been part of our imagination since children, since we were scared to have the light turned off, or that something was under the bed. Horror can stem from our individual fears or the collective conscious, for example the fear of death. It is a fact that horror, and by extension horror movies, appeal to our most primitive state. Horror strips us down to our essence and takes us back to the caveman – the fight or flight.

Horror movies can, and have, helped many individuals through times of real horror within their own lives. Identifying with the protagonist who is trying to overcome the monster; a metaphor for the troubles we ourselves are trying to overcome in reality. Because horror is innate in the human mind, elements of horror are shown in every type of film genre. Horror movies cause us to ask the eternal question, “what if” and allow us to safely delve into our primal fears. A fear that has been there since childhood, a fear we are all born with in our body’s make-up.

Audience Expectations in the ‘Slasher’ Formula

from http://levigeorge.com/junk/sep2009/

Audience Expectations in the ‘Slasher’ Formula

< Back

Spoilers:

Friday the 13th (parts 1 and 5)
April Fools Day.
Halloween 3

Audience Expectations in the ‘Slasher’ Formula

How important is Audience Expectation in relation to Genre? This is a question with many variables. Different genres will attract different audiences, different films will attract different ages, races and cultures and each of these groups bringing attend a film with their own unique expectations. Consequently I will answer this question using the example of only one genre, the Slasher film. The reason I am using this genre is because it’s audience is made up almost entirely of teenagers. It is also one of the best examples of genre purism, meaning that the genre itself has barely changed since it was invented thirty years ago.

What is a ‘Slasher’ Film?

Slasher movies are a sub-genre of horror. Some critics refer to the genre as ‘dead teenager movies’ ‘slice and dice films’ or ‘gross out films’ (Wong, 2006). Films of the genre generally contain high levels of violence, blood and gore and almost always feature a group of teenagers as protagonists. The antagonist is a killer, often wearing a mask, who kills the protagonists one by one throughout the course of the film. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), while pre-dating the term, is considered by many to be a slasher movie (Bohusz 2007) as it matches the traditional narrative formula of the genre.
    Psycho (1960)
    A killer with a mysterious identity attacks an attractive young woman with a butcher knife. Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) certainly influenced the narrative structure of the contemporary slasher film.
Some of the first films to be defined as slasher movies came ten years later in the mid seventies. The first box office success was John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), a movie about a baby sitter and her friends who are stalked, and most of them killed, by an escaped killer named Michael Myers. The film cost only three-hundred-thousand dollars to create and made roughly fifty-million dollars. Similar films began to spring up including Friday the 13th (1980), a film with a narrative plot similar to Halloween but added much more gruesome death scenes. Prom Night (1980) was another release that kept a similar narrative structure, but added a ‘whodunit’ aspect to the film. This left the audience to guess the identity of the masked killer. Both films were made on a small budget and were financial successes. This convinced Hollywood studios to continue creating more and the slasher movie was born.

The Audience

When it comes to audience expectation one must consider who the audience is. The audience of Slasher movies is almost entirely made up of adolescents. There has been much speculation on why many teena

Friday, 6 April 2012

Fan-made trailers: D2Kill

Spotted this on GeorgiaB's blog; not a satire, but actually an update or modernization of the (not great!) original trailer for de Palma's critically-mauled (but actually rather good methinks) Dressed to Kill:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Slasher sitcom Holliston @ FearNet.com

More news which highlights the continuing popularity of the slasher genre - whilst also perhaps reinforcing the perception that young males are the main audience for it (its actually much closer to 50/50 than generally thought, with the final girl archetype and common use of romantic sub-plots helping draw in a sizeable female audience): see http://loudwire.com/oderus-urungus-gwar-dee-snider-fighting-off-cyborgs-tour-more/
Some of the language is a little ... colourful, but it sounds an interesting, highly postmodern venture (its centred on young filmmakers struggling to make a low-budget horror movie, and stars heavy metal icon Dee Snider plus 'Oderus Urungus' of the metal band GWAR [who perform as aliens in full costume]).
The show 'airs' on http://www.fearnet.com/ (which has some deals in place to be included in cable TV packages in some US cities), a useful source itself to see some of the low-budget horror work thats going on, and attracting a paying audience, out there...
If you watch the trailer for Holliston you'll see its a low budget, highly sexist affair, but interesting nonetheless for making the audience the protagonists (postmodern as I said: the Wayne's World of horror).

You can also read more at http://www.horrorsociety.com/2012/01/25/first-promo-poster-for-greens-holliston/
For example, when considering/justifying audience, this article, highlighting that Woman in Black is the highest-grossing UK movie for 20 years (over $100m worldwide), shows the audience is there for UK-based horror!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

DIGITISATION: self-published short film

Across these blogs I'll keep returning to the concept of digitisation, the ongoing process of change and transformation of our media, a key element of which is the opening up of opportunities for micro-budget media producers to (occasionally!) attract large audiences and even make some money...
We mustn't forget that giant global conglomerates remain utterly dominant, but the possibilities for someone with a digital camera and a Mac are infinitely higher now than 10, 20 years ago. There have always been amateur/debut film-makers somehow bringing together feature films on infinitesimally small budgets, from Wes Craven's Last House on the Left and John Carpenter's Halloween, through Alex Cox's Repo Man (see his superb book X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker, there's a copy in Lib/F6), Kevin Smith's Clerks and closer to home the rather more dubious Colin!
Here's an interesting example of a horror buff with her own successful blog, Final Girl, who made a short film ... and monetised it through this blog, charging $5 for a DVD of the 10min short film! The short is a postmodern lesbian vampire skit using knock-off Barbie dolls, reflecting the filmmaker's feminist sensibilities. If you do watch it, remember its NOT a feature film - shorts can be rather quirkier. It is, whatever you make of the film itself (the sound is nicely done and the mise-en-scene well handled given the size of the characters!), a great example of how digitisation has expanded the possibilities for enthusiastic amateur filmmakers and media producers generally to go ahead and create, distribute and exhibit work without having to sign deals with larger media firms.


'Final Girl' runs a monthly slasher film club; check it out and if you blog on it she may add a link to your blog on hers!

There is of course another example of a self-publishing filmmaker closer to home, and we will be looking at a trailer for his latest production in Friday's lessons, and with a bit of luck hearing a little from the filmmaker himself on how he went about it, and his plans for this new opus...
We'll also have a look at the film Monsters, a good example of how digitisation has opened up possibilities for filmmakers to produce slick work on very limited money and with a crew barely bigger than a Media coursework group; I have previously blogged on this and various other examples of digitisation, plus analyses, in a wide range of posts you should be looking over whether for AS/A2 exam or AS/A2 coursework (especially Evaluation)...