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Horror Genre Iconography

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Page 1: Horror Genre Iconography

George Brinan


Page 2: Horror Genre Iconography


The Exorcist


Paranormal Activity Films

As Above So Below

Page 3: Horror Genre Iconography

TYPICAL SYNOPSIS’• The typical synopsis’ associated with horror films are used to scare, thrill and entertain

the audience. Horror films centre around the dark side of life; the strange, forbidden and alarming events. Synopsis’ are vital for a horror film as they give the film a foundation and meaning. Some of the typical synopsis of horror films include:

• • Revenge

• • Hauntings

• • Demons and exorcisms

• • Gore

• • Serial Killers

• • Religious belief

Page 4: Horror Genre Iconography

SETTINGS• Often abandoned buildings or deserted areas, for example mental asylums or old


• Many times these buildings have some sort of past/history to them, such as ghost stories or mysterious noises coming from there.

• Often horror films either start out in the daytime and later turn to night, or they occur in the dark throughout. This gives an eerie sense to the film. If you were to watch a film that was unfolding at night you would expect it to be scary or frightening.

Page 5: Horror Genre Iconography

PROPS AND CLOTHING• Props are one of the main indicators that point towards the horror genre. Specific props

can be identified with a certain villain or character e.g. Chainsaws, Machetes, Knifes, Guns etc.

• Common objects include: Weapons, Masks, Icons of the Supernatural, Religious Icons. Masks are mostly used when some sort of criminal is the main protagonist for example in the film Texas Chainsaw Massacre the killer is constantly wearing a straw mask. Religious Icons are usually associated with cults and factions or they are associated with the main story in the film.

• In many horror films the synopsis goes that a group of friends are out having fun, but then end up in a bad situation. This means that the clothes they are wearing are casual wear, however they get progressively more damaged as the film goes on. Several times they may be covered in blood, dust or dirt as they try to escape from somewhere.

Page 6: Horror Genre Iconography

CHARACTERS• The Main Protagonist, often the “victim/hero” of the movie.

• The Villain, often masked serial killer or some sort of possessed demon.

• The stupid/immoral teenagers that always get killed.

• Creepy children often little girls who have been possessed.

• Police Officers that can either be good or bad.

• Also more including Demons, Psychopaths, Stalkers,

Page 7: Horror Genre Iconography

CAMERA WORK• High and Low angles are common features in horror films due to their ability to connote fear and


• POV shots are common because they allow the audience to see the world from the character’s eyes.

• Handheld shots make it difficult for the audience to make out what is happening introducing a sense of panic. Cloverfield is an example of this, as the entire movie is shot with a handheld camera to promote the feeling of terror and the idea that this could happen when you least expect it.

• Sometimes horror films use depth of field, makes it harder to see the villain creeping up behind the victim.

• Disturbing sounds are very important in a horror movie. Ambient diegetic sounds like footsteps and non-diegetic sounds like a heartbeat.

• Types of shots used like extreme close ups on a certain victim’s face can help the audiences connection with horror and fear, and also to exclude any

• Editing can create unsettling tension and suspense. If the editing hasn’t been paced up in a while then you know that something scary is about to occur.