Sunday, 28 February 2010


At the moment our story has just three characters, our central protagonist and then a teenage girl and her attacker.
Our main character I imagine to be late thirties/early forties, tall and lean not particulary bucth. I have a few people in mind of who could play this part and they all take part in dramatics which is a huge bonus.
For the teenage girl, I imagine to be an attractive young female which helps with the male gaze, brunette and nice dark features and slim figure and not particulary tall, again I have a few people in mind.
For the attacker I imagine reasonably tall but not taller than our main character, short spikey hair however may be wearing a hood so this may not be seen, reasonably strong shape and physique.

Props, Mise-en-scene, SFX, Costume, etc

I imagine that for the mise-en-scene within the house would be quite a gothic style, dark furniture as good signifiers that this a vampire setting also the idea of perhaps him drinking a glass of blood, *this would be an intertexual link to Daybreakers when blood is drunk like coffee and also like wine.
The outfit that our central protagonist would wear would be a grey or black suit with a dark trench coat and trilby hat. He would have slicked back hair and we would use make-up to give him a pale white skin pigment. Also we as group will try to get some red tinted contact lenses, you can purchase for about £20 I think, as again another signifier that he is a vampire and also we want to get some good quality vampire fangs which could be attached to our main character's canine teeth.

Location Scouting

Our film opening begins in a cellar bar which is actually in the basement of a friends house, we had to use this location due to our character needing to smoke indoors and legally this was a problem for us.
The setting will be right as it looks like a city bar as it is in a cellar which is unusual to find in an urban setting also its a signifier of the vampire aspect of our film, underground and darkness.
The Flashbacks took place in an urban setting, beginning with our central protagonist coming across the antagonist attacking the victim in a deserted alley ways and streets. Ilkley is a rather good place to be able film this and also I know a lot people who live in town/terrace houses, also Addingham could be a good place to film it.
Certain specific areas in Ilkley that could be used are near the Spooners sight behind the railway station and Tesco. Also around the Grove or even Parish Ghyll road, and perhaps even the alley way on Alexandra Crescent near the Peugeot garrage.

Intertextual Links

Our film has a few links to a range of existing films of both genres. The dull colouring rather than black and white is similar to the effect in the film Daybreakers as this gave the impression it was black and white but actually certain colours were predominant especially red when it showed blood this is something we want to show. Also our idea is similar to show films and programmes like Angel and even Blade so there are again similar aspects of the synopsis and plot in our film, Also we want to make our central protagonist a very much stereotypical film-noir detective so this will be similar to Humphrey Bogart with a trench coat, trilby hat and smoking cigarettes like done in films like The Maltese Falcon or The Dark Passage.
However our plot is different to many of the films named as it is a British film-noir which is not as common compared to the amount of American and French film-noir movies. Howevercertain examples of British film-noir's are Brighton Rock starring Richard Attenborough or The October Man starring John Mills.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Genres and Openings Research [Film Noir/French Cinema] * David Lynch's Films Inspiration

 *We are working within both the Horror and Film-Noir genre and so we are able to view a vast range of films to get a real sense of the films.
Film-Noir movies are generally done, mostly due to the 1940's era that the genre was created, in black and white and even some modern day film noir movies now called "Neo-Noir " are still done in black and white to create atmosphere like Sin City or Raging Bull however there are also many successful film noir films done in colour like Chinatown or Basic Instinct.
Often the openings of Film-Noir/Neo-Noir genre movies begin with a voice-over by the central protagonist, often a lone detective or bad cop, and they explain their story, this is something we would like to use in our film.
Also some film-noir movies would use a news report or radio voice over to set up the exposition like the beginning of Casablanca or Citizen Kane. In Casablanca the news report in the opening scene sets up the synopsis and talks about why many people are traveling to Casablanca on their journey to travel to the USA to escape the Nazi's.

The Crow directed by Alex Proyas, 1994.
Good aspects of neo-noir and also gothic theme and the anti-hero protagonist character, played by Brandon Lee in this film.
Titles start the film, plain black background and white sans-serif font, non-diegetic soundtrack plays over distantly can hear police and ambulance sirens.
Extreme establishing/helicopter shot to show a city on fire, anchorage given by subtitles naming the setting and date.
We can hear diegetic sounds like a car radio, sirens, fire burning.
Then we have a voice over giving us exposition, voice is of a young child not yet clear as to boy or girl no anchorage given at this moment.
First character we see is a black police officer, we can connote he is an American officer due to the signifiers like his uniform and accent.
Gothic style buildings and the lighting is quite dark, in parts of the film later on almost black and white like the typical noir look.
One interesting part of the film is when our central protagonist has come back to life and is almost reliving his death and has flashbacks, the modern time he is in is done in almost black and white colour and all the flashbacks are done in red hinted lighting, a good signifier of the horror and violence of what happened.

Dark Passage directed by Delmer Daves, 1947.
Black and White film, Warner Bros. logo appears on screen.
Loud non-diegetic plays over extreme long shot of a scenic setting, a bay and mountains looks like San Francisco, title credits play over this sans serif font.
We see a man in uniform and this connotes that he is a security guard, he has a gun another signifier and also signifiers the plot and theme of the film. There is a large building which looks like a prison however no anchorage yet given so it is still polysemic.
Then we hear a loud siren which again we can use as a signifier that this is a prison siren.
We see a man rolling down a hill in a garbage can, then we see a long shot of him come out of the bin but the edges of the are in the frame almost like a point of view shot of the bin.
Why cannot see the protagonists face which adds narrative enigma, we only see everything as a point of view shot. There is a voice over adding exposition, it seems this character is our central protagonist, he waves down a car and gets in, as he speaks to the driver it provides anchorage that it was his voice as the voice over. We then hear diegetic sound from radio playing which also helps to give anchorage and exposition as it says that a convict has just escaped from a prison and is on the run.

Casino Royale directed by Martin Campbell, 2006.
Has a very strong sense of neo-noir in the opening.
The production logo's of MGM and Columbia, are purposefully done in Black and White signifiers of the noir genre.
Establishing shot is done from a low angle looking up at a tall building, then a dark car pulls up outside.
Anchorage added by subtitle saying "Prague, Czech Republic". Soft eerie music, sligh heart beat sound.
Cut to a shot of a man getting out the car, low angle mid-close up could connote he is our antagonist, then cuts to him going up in a lift from a low angle and there is use of elliptical editing here to speed up so the scene doesn't lose suspense.
He walks into a room, and we see an over the shoulder shot of someone sitting in a chair looking at the man, then we have a mid-close up on the antagonist and we can see the man sitting in the chair behind. Narrative enigma as we cannot tell if the man in the chair is our protagonist or antagonist, still polysemic.
The man we think to be the antagonist sits down and opens a drawer and we see a gun, a signifier and slight anchorage he is our antagonist.
We then have a flashback which is still done in black and white but the lighting is much brighter, change in the music more fast paced action and also the use of fast paced editing and shaky camera work.
Then back to our antagonist talking to the other man, the use of shot-reverse-shot during their conversation, the man in the chair then shoots him which signifies he is perhaps our protagonist or hero, or even our anti-hero.
We then go to the flashback and have our protagonist shoot the screen as though at someone like a point of view shot through a gun barrell in the frame, this then has red blood dripping down the screen, this being the only colour so far. Music changes to "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell, and the title sequence begins.

Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz, 1942.
  • Credits plays over a map of Africa, soundtrack is rousing includes of a few bars of La Marseillaise, signifier of the films connection with France and a contexual reference to a famous scene later on in the film
  • Film begins with a spinning globe and zooms into Europe and gradually shows the journey to Casablanca, dramatic orchestral music playing with a voice-over/narrator speaking over, setting up the exposition. Shows moving pictures over the map and then has a fade transition into an establishing shot of Casablanca skyline, pans down to show a market.
  • Market setting, shows middle eastern/african characters then transition to office setting, change in music and then shows man at radio station talking into a micro-phone.
  • Again then fades back to the market and has a mid-close up of what we can denote as a French police officer due to the signifiers of his uniform, he blows a whistle, the music becomes louder and there is a chase sequence.
French Cinema

We also decided to have our film done in French language as we felt this would add a sense of mystery to our story so we have decided to also look into French cinema, especially that revolving around crime and mystery.
Man Bites Dog
La Vie d'un Chien a short french film with english subtitles that has no moving picture just many still frames complete with sound and narration and music and creates a real atmosphere. Real sense of mystery portrayed.
I am also looking at films by the director Louis Malle, films like Milou en mai and Lacombe Lucien.

I had a look at the book Horror Films by Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc, in the Horror in Europe section on French Cinema Horror.
I found that cinema itself originates from France, and that many early film horror's were created in France, by such directors like the Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès.
One of the earliest French film horrors was La Manoir du diable, 1896 which revolved around horror characters like witches, bats, etc.
Many French films like to have aspects of surrealism, creating the phrase Creàteur du spectacle cinématographiquè.

Also French films focus on certain controversial issues like drugs, crime and can be seen to glorify violence and crime like the film Les Vampires by Louis Feuillade which made the law look like the antagonist and the criminals the protagonist. Again films like, non French director Carl Dreyer's, Vampyr, 1932 show this.
Le Frisson des Vampires, 1971, used rock music and nudity and was seen as being controversial in France at the time, and a more contemporary french vampire film was La Fiancée de Dracula, 2002.

French horror has never stretched as far as British horror like Hammer Horror, but French cinema has specialised in more crime and mystery films like French Film-Noir, an example being Les Diaboliques, 1955. A more contemporary example would be Tell No One or the French title Ne Le dis à personne by Guillaume Canet, 2006 a thriller not just popular in France but appealed more to the world stage.

Jean Rollin was a bery successful French director who seemed to create the idea of the auteur theory, one of his films Le Viol du Vampire caused student riots in Paris due to being very controversial.

Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001.
This film was able to appeal not just to a French audience but also international audience especially in the USA and UK, despite being entirely in French language, perhaps not in original screenings but certainly in DVD sales.
Good use of colour helped to give the film the light hearted feel and innocent element to the film also the use of animation too, like when Amelie is talking to her friend the crocodile in her imagination.
The use of the narrator I also thought worked incredibly well using a very much traditional french cinema aspect into a much more contemporary type of French film.

Our film is a French langauge film which will also include English subtitles, we could have taken inspiration from Quentin Tarantino like in the film Inglorious Basterds, 2009 and played around with our subtitles but instead we wanted to keep the subtitles plain and simple to create the impression our film is a French film with the English added in rather than the other way around.

David Lynch Films - Inspiration of enhancing subtle movements.

The two films that I looked at are interesting in the respect that there is no real concept of the time setting in some respects they both could easily be the 1950's whereas there are certain scenes where it appears more like the 1980's, very much polysemic no real use of exposition but a nice verisimilitude set up in the film. Some aspects of post-modernism used as well mixings time periods and stereotypes of dress codes, language/dialect, social groups - like Detective. Williams in Blue Velvet is very much the stereotype of the American "cop". Also in Wild at Heart Bobby Peru is a stereotype of the southern states "hillbilly" also with aspects of gangster.

Blue Velvet, 1986 - David Lynch
Blue Velvet opens on a very much stereotypical American suburb, white middle-class, green grass, white picket fences, verandas on the front of the houses. A nice sense of irony here, almost a binary opposition to the rest of the film, which is darker and a more hostile setting centering around sex, drugs, intoxication, etc.
Old man mowing his lawn collapses onto the grass. There is then a point-of-view shot of a dog sniffing through the grass, enhacing the tiny details of each piece of grass and the little creatures on them, like looking at a jungle. There is then an extreme close up on a severed ear which the camera then zooms into.
There is a nice use of a motif, which is also used in Lynch's other film Wild at Heart, where a candle flame keeps on burning and a good use of extreme close-up, maybe it connotes wild passion, flame burning inside people.
Another good use of a close up is on Isabella Rosellini's face where we see a chipped tooth, puffed up lips, a binary opposite to how we see her earlier on in the film as this attractive almost femme fatale character, perhaps we can connote a bitter reality here, and this shows what she feels like on the inside rather than the usual seductive, mysterious woman we saw before.

Another wonderful use of cinematography is in the joy ride sequence with Dennis Hopper, where there are extreme close-ups on the car headlights, like the motif with the burning candle flame. As well as the spinning wheel of the car, connoting a fast pace story and a long journey ahead, not a calm environment and a binary opposite the opening of the film.

Wild at Heart, 1990 - David Lynch

Opening shot of the film begins with a long shot of beautifully painted ceiling, chandelier hanging from it, anchorage is provided immediately through the subtitle - "Cape Fear- somewhere near the border between North and South Carolina".
There is, diegetic, Jazz music playing, connotes a casino setting, the idea of the American casino culture glamorous settings, wild party, funky jazz playing.
Shot pans down to show a grand staircase, a 1930's Art Deco design, more anchorage of the setting.
Cuts to a mid-shot of the top of the staircase, some shaky camera work - connotes social realism?
Two-shot of Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, there is a tracking shot an afro-caribbean male walking behind them, racial stereotype of south United States, however no real time setting.
Laura Dern glamourous female, bright blonde hair - male gaze concept?

The character of Marietta Fortune appears peering past a column in the casino, use of low angle to connote she is a dominant figure and she is the antagonist of the film.
The diegetic jazz music fades out as there is a close up on the afro-caribbean man pulling out a flick knife - click noise as he does so, helps signify this a shocking moment, sense of fear stricken into Sailor - Nicolas Cage.
Close up on Lula - Laura Dern as she screams to warn Sailor, the music now turns to non-diegetic heavy metal/rock guitar as the fight scene begins, fast paced editing used to keep the pace of the film full of energy and momentum.
Close up on a step of the staircase, blood splatter onto it. Tracking shot as the afro-caribbean man falls down the stairs cuts to a ground level shot as he falls down.
Over the shoulder shot as Sailor hits the mans head against the floor, also a high from Sailor showing the man's vulnerablity and that he has lost the fight. Long shot as Sailor is surrounded by a pool of blood. Close up on Sailor when fight is finished as he pants for breath and then lits up a cigarette.

The lighting of cigarettes is used as a form of motif throughout the entire film, and also in many parts as a good linking shot, as a cigarette may be light and there will be an extreme close up on the flame which will merge into a shot of car headlights or a sunset. The use of the burning flame could connote a wild burning spirit inside our protagonists, relating to the name of the film being that they are wild at heart, like a wild flame.

Assessment Criteria

G321 - Simplified Marking Criteria as 1 Sheet

The 7 Evaluation Questions

  • In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 
  • How does your media product represent particular social groups?
  • What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? 
  • Who would be the audience for your media product? 
  • How did you attract/address your audience? 
  • What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 
  • Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Genres and Openings Research [Horror/Vampire] *Slasher

Given that our film is a hybrid of two rather specific genre's I thought we needed to do some research into both and how they tend to be made and stereotypes you will find in both, like Propp's seven archetypes.
I looked for any films, books, comics that had the horror/ noir genre and didn't find many but I did find a novel entitled "Already Dead" by Charlie Huston which is about a vampire detective, also the television series "Angel" and films like "Blade" but we don't want to make our film too much like a comic book series and so we want to emphasise the film noir genre too from films like "L.A. Confidential" or even the original film noir films like "The Maltese Falcon" or "The Invisble Man" which is often classed as the closest thing to a film noir-horror film.
I also thought that since our film is about a vampire that research into the mythology and legends of this topic were essential, it so happens my dad works in Transylvania and so I may try and get information through him and I have also tried to view as many vampire films recently as possible and have just purchased the 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula starring Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. Also looking at vampire films through the ages like Dracula (1931) and the Hammer Horror films nad their Dracula franchise starring Sir Christopher Lee.
Good sources that I looked at included:
Also I have the novel Dracula which is a good source of the classic vampire story, as are watching the films such as:
Dracula (1931)
John Carpenter's Vampires
Interview with a Vampire
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Near Dark

Which are a good mix of traditional and modern takes on vampires.

Dracula directed by Tom Browning, 1931.
Entirely Black and White, not for effect but the time the film was created.
Credits and titles play at the beginning of the film with a cartoon bat in the background.

Establishing shot shows giant mountains and a horse and coach traveling along the rocky road, we can hear diegetic sound of the coach traveling along the road.
Then a transition into a mid shot of the inside of the coach, from this shot it had the coach bouncing  about and shaking to signify that they are traveling on a rough road.
Transition to the inside of a room, with a baby's cot and two women inside speaking in a foreign language.
Not a huge variety in use of angles and shots, quite basic but effective, mostly mid shots and angles no use of canted angles or shaky camera work.

Twilight, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, 2008.
Soft ererie non-diegetic music plays over the production logos, the film begins with a plain black screen and over the music we have a voice over by what I denote as a young female, american accent. There is then a transition to an establishing shot of a forest, we also here diegetic sounds and signifiers of the forest like birds chirping.
There is a deer on screen, seems to be significance of the deer due to lots of shots of it from different angles. Then it seems there is a point of view shot of someone stalking the deer, due to the skaky camera work as this is not a social realist film but a blockbuster.

There is then a change in music as it becomes fast paced, and there is also the use of fast paced editing, we see a few split second shots of a person running and one where they run straight in front of the camera, where this is still a point of view shot we're seeing through is poly-semic.
We then see a person grab the deer and the screen goes white and there is a transition to a shot of the sky and there is a change in music. The voice over begins again and we have a mid-close up of a young girls face, signifying that she is the voice we hear and our central protagonist.

Sets up the exposition of our story, then we have a long shot of a car driving away, then a transition to a plane taking off, and then a point of view shot of the plane done done by a helicopter shot, soundtrack playing some sort of folk song.
We then have a transition to a scene of woodland and snow, a binary opposition to the scene before of hot desert and cactus'. The titles then appears on the screen, in serif font "Twilight".

We looked at the opening to the film The Lost Boys directed by Joel Schumacher in 1987.
This film started by having the non-diegetic soundtrack playing whilst the production logos came on screen and so started the film straight away. The titles and credits then played over a moving helicopter shot over the sea to which blue filter had been applied for colouring and then also a theme park. The titles showed the auteur theory as they started with the producer and director instead of the actors appearing in the film, also signifier of the genre and theme as the title text is serif font and gothic and little bits coming off the letters look like vampire teeth.

There was then a cut transition and stagged progression disolving from the helicopter shot to a mid shot of the carousel. First character to appear is seen from a low angle, signifying that he is the antagonist. also signifiers like him wearing black. One character then appears on screen and for a second touches his teeth, a very subtle signifier of the him being a vampire. Soundtrack then changes to a more sinister sound, playing over the diegetic sound of the roller coaster in the background.

Then the security guard appears, authoritative figure, as teen audience and youngsters are the heroes makes security guard look incompetent and useless. Use of sound motif almost like an intertexual reference to Friday the 13th or Halloween. Point of view shots used when security guard attacked, violence is off screen, adds narrative enigma as well as sound off frame.
Clever in the respect this film almost has two alternative openings, second one beginning with extreme long shot and then cut transition to car. Diegetic sound from the radio but this is not seen straight away. This is an audio bridge as it plays over the transition. Then we have a mid-close up of the characters in the car.
Set dressing includes things like graffiti on billboards, etc.
Only know do we see the central protagonist of the film.

The Satanic Rites of Dracula, directed by Alan Gibson, 1974.
Title sequence begins with panning shots of London with a very seventies soundtrack and a small shadow cut out of dracula in the bottom right hand corner gradually getting bigger. Sans Serif font, gothic- vampire.
  • Establishing shot, a white house at night, bat screaching in the background, signifier vampire film.
  • Cuts to almost vertical high angle looking down on a group of people sat round some religious item, lighting is slighlty red tinted, signifies blood. Spooky organ music
  • People wearing hoods, candles, a skull. Naked woman lying down, signifies a sexual them to the story.
  • Audio bridge a womans voice speaking then cuts to a scene of a man sitting by an intercom or radio, diegetic sound
  • Cuts to another scene of a man lying on a bed, tied up trying to break free. Man comes to look at him, low angle shows the man in bed vunerable. He then attacks him slight slow motion, music speeds up.
  • Man walks around slowly slightly limping, music adds suspense, he has blood shot eyes and pale skin signifies he may be a vampire. He runs to get into a car and it speeds off. Long shot to show it go off into the distance. 
Dracula, directed by John Badman, 1979.
I thought this was a great adaptation of the Dracula story with many intertexual links to the Dracula, 1931 directed by Tom Browning, not strictly a remake but certain scenes were purposefully recreated.
The use of non-diegetic music help anchor the genre and signify the horror of the story.
A strong cast helped the appeal for the film in the US and Britain, with the likes of Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasance.

Cirque du Freak, directed by Paul Weitz, 2009.

Soft lighthearted country music playing, first shot shows a close up of a man eating popcorn. Establishing shot shows a graveyard and people walking with a bunch of flowers, voice over begins young male character American accent.
People standing around a grave, some crying signifies that this a funeral also we see a hearse car in the background, voiceover helps exposition and anchorage by saying who is in the grave and it says "This is my story".

Slasher Genre Research

Scream,  directed by Wes Craven, 1996.

Dimension films.
Title card, serif font appears - "Scream".
Diegetic sound - door slamming, telephone ring, heart beat, female scream.
Title turns from white to red, with slicing/kife blade sound effect.
Zoom into title, opening shot is a mid close up of a landline phone ringing, young teenager blonde girl picks up, stereotype of "scream queen" and possibly the male gaze concept here too.
Tracking shot as she goes to pick up the phone, we hear the voice of the other person on the phone, she hangs up "wrong number".
Second time phone rings, canted angle used connoting all is not well, slow track zoom to close up shot.
When she puts the phone down she is out of frame. We see a shot of the outside, connotes isolation. diegetic sound of crickets chirping. Possible point-of-view shot from the outside looking at house, flase scare, connotation the girl is being watched. Extreme close up on the flames from the cooking surface, pop corn crackling diegetic sound adding to the suspense, gradually getting louder - tension.

Tracking shot as she picks up knife, connotation of a countertype? blonde haired final girl? - polysemic
talks about the character Michael Myers from John Carpenter's Halloween - intertextual link.
Eerie piano music plays, dog barking outside.
Use of fast paced editing as she locks doors, match-on-action shots. She looks outside, Point-of-view shot. Then mid-close up of her, she walks out of frame.
Intercuts back to popcorn - tension building...
High pitch tones, non-diegetic sound, when the voice on the phone threatens girl.
Extreme close-up on girls face, then use of low deep tones.
She runs through house, tracking shots, non-diegetic sounds of heartbeat thudding.
Frame of shot shows her look through the top of the window on front door. Door bell rings, close up to handle.

She looks outside to see boyfriend tied up, close up showing his mouth taped over. Reverse shot to her, then a long shot as she crouches down in tears to hide behind the television, a slow track zoom.
Energetic shots, tracking shots and variety, keeps momentum going.
Goes pitch black, we hear a groan and a cutting noise, when the lights come back the boyfriends throat has been slit.

Black clothed figure runs past the window, the girl goes outside - use of shaky camera work.
Extreme long shot of headlights on the horizon behind a field, the music becomes more fast paced with a beat. The car pulls into the driveway, cuts to the girl looking through house window - point-of-view shot, and killer turns around (Scream Mask), shot reverse shot and point-of-view from the killer/antagonist, girl screams. Antagonist jumps through window as girl clutches knife (close up) he then grabs her. Low angle/over the shoulder of the girl looking up at the killer, connotes vunerablity and she has no power or strength. Slow motion footage as the antagonist goes to stab the girl, high angle shot of her on the ground and as antagonist stabs her, use of dutch angle as she bleeds, then a canted/shaky camera work point-of-view shot as she looks at her parents getting out of the car.
Girl manages to pull of the antagonists scream mask, quickly cuts to close up of his hand holding knife, reverse shot to her reaction, could connote she knows who it is.

As knife comes down to stab her, intercuts to girls father on phone - canted angle/close up.
Mother looks out the front door, close up of her screaming. Long shot of the girl, covered in blood, hanging from a tree. Fast paced zoom shot right up to her, then quick shot of a lightning bolt.
Black screen with diegetic sound of crashing sounds.

[12 minute film opening - almost a mini movie within itself]

A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984 - Wes Craven

The opens with non-diegetic eerie, dark music playing. Ground level shot - diegetic footsteps, with the credits "New Line Cine" playing over the scene.
A nice aerial shot of rusty tool set on a workshop desk, possible point-of-view shot?
Music becomes almost screechy, high pitched tones. There is a close-up shot of a hand picking up blades and a glove, there is then thudding beat to the music, and we hear diegetic sound of what sounds like hammering metal.
Slight canted angle as the hand is sawing into pieces of metal, blunt instruments - connotes dark unpleasant, harsh visuals and sounds. Shots of blow torching. Heavy Breathing sounds.
Close up as hand goes into this metalic glove *Iconic Freddy Krueger glove*
As this happens the music gets intense and loud and very high pitched. The gloved hand opens up the palm- point of view shot, and there is a growl/evil sounding cackle.
Music is distorted and unpleasant - title card plays. Ironic as it is a blood red and yet a cartoony serif font.
Knifed glove tears through a sheet of cloth, emphasis on the sound effects the glove makes through the opening, scratching, slicing, cutting.
A young female appears on screen, wearing white - connotes purity - angelic? Juxtaposition/binary opposition to the dark setting. Establishing shot shows the girl walking down a long dark tunnel, we see light behind her, connotes she is leaving hope behind her? entering somewhere evil?
Non-diegetic music sounds like a keyboard/techno. Girls runs towards the camera .
Mise-en-scene is gradually set up - we see steam vents, wet floor, dirty work surfaces. Industrial setting, factory? Mine?
High angles used to show the vulnerablity of the girl, anchorage of what the girl is called as we hear a ominous mumbled voice calling "Tina". Close up to show fear on her face.
Diegetic crashing noise, Tina screams. Then we have a shot of a sheep running, and he hear an evil laugh in the background.
Very quick extreme close-up of a male face, only showing half, burnt skin, moves out of frame as the music changes.
She runs through the machinery, we hear clambering footsteps. We see a shadow of a figure following her - laughter and footsteps follow her.
Tracking shot behind her - Point of view of the antagonist?
The lighting fades in and out, connotes a threat, instills fear.
Close up of the glove scratching the wall as it moves along, she quickly turns around the music has a loud thudding sound - sound motif?, and again we see the glove tear through a sheet - possible motif?
We see the figure of the antagonist, dirty red and green jumper with a fedora hat.
Girls runs infront a furnace, connotes the idea this is hell? or to her this is hell?
non-diegetic sound of babies crying, connotes that the antagonist is the "boogeyman" archetype in American horror.
The figure appears from behind her and grabs her and there is a match on action shot to an intercut as it then shows her walking up in bed, panting for breath covered in sweat... It was all a dream, or was it?

General Notes on Slasher
Many slasher films concentrate on framing, to get a real concept of frenzy and panic in their films, like in I Know What You Did Last Summer or in some of the dream sequences in A Nightmare on Elm Street where there is good use of lighting to create shadows, and make things look sinister whether it be the tops of fences or tree branches, symbolising the knife glove that Freddy Krueger wears. Also for most of the film his face is covered by the dark and we not really make out his features, which is scary psychologically for the viewers as we feel for the "scream queen" character and we cannot tell what the antagonist looks like and this creates a great deal of fear, and anxiety.
Also in many slasher there is good use of reflections, blurry/out of focus shots to show figures like where Sarah Michelle Gellar is attacked in the basement in I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Good use of low angle shots in the film Night of the Living Dead to show that the zombies are "in charge" and cannot be stopped, showing vulnerability in the human beings trying to escape/destroy but they can't when they resemble their family members, the shots and angles used are effective in being scary than the effects/make-up.
Dawn of the Dead makes good use of high/helicopter angle shots showing crowds of zombies running around and yet as it was successfully filmed early in the morning, they created the feeling of isolation as there is no other life seen in the background, no moving cars, people walking down the street. Juxtaposition and a new equilibrium for the characters in the film.
The Wes Craven film The Last House on the Left it is successful in being scary more psychologically than what we actually see on screen, like in the scene where they carve into Mari's chest, we hear her screams in pain but never actually see the cut's or the blood. Also the use of quite jolly, seventies, bohemian music is a juxtaposition of the dark, even disturbing, theme of the film.
Also the ending to film does not show any piercing/cutting of skin and we know it is happening despite it being off-frame. When John is attacking Krug with the chainshaw we only hear Krug screaming and the chainsaw running and all we see is a close-up/low angle of John's face looking as though he is in a struggle, and then an after shot with the Sheriff looking at Krugg's dead body with blood splattered on his face, and quick long shot of half of Krugg's body in frame covered in blood, almost the less we see the more we believe/convincing.
Also there is a clever shot when Estelle kills Sadie in the pool, we see Estelle run towards the pool with a knife reading to slash Sadie's throat, a long shot as Estelle brings the knife back towards Sadie's neck and just as it is about to make contact the shot cuts to a close up where Estelles head and the knife are out of shot and then her dead body covered in blood falls into the shot, so we do not actually see the cutting of her throat but we think we do.

My Bloody Valentine, 1981. Directed by George Mihalka.

Films open with an establishing shot of a mine shaft, a canted angle on ground level. We here non-diegetic sound like a thudding sound, and over that we hear the diegetic sound of tools clanking. Two Miners, with torches on their helmets, in the distance walk towards the camera we denote they are wearing some form of mask and as they approach we here the diegetic sound of them breathing through them. As the two miners reach the camera it becomes a low angle shot and the camera tilts upwards and the two miners walk out of frame. Variety of canted angle shots used, also gives a sense of real time, not ellipsis, everytime the two miners walk out of frame the shot stays on screen for a few more seconds and we hear the atmospheric noises of the tools and the heavy breathing as well as the sounds of them dragging their feet. Very effective in setting and an eerie tone to the film.

The music then suddenly lowers in tone, one of the miners looks around and the camera stays in a two shot mid-angle, it almost looks as though this miner is breaking the fourth wall and looking straight into the lense, however as he is wearing a mask we cannot see his eyes. As this goes on the other miner takes over their overalls, and we denote a female body wearing a bra and we also denote a love heart tattoo on the left breast. In a close up shot we see this miner take off their helmet and  mask and we see a blonde head of hair and a females face, male gaze theory? scream queen?
The music softens, almost romantic piano, love affair?
Over the shoulder two-shot as the other miner goes in almost as though to embrace despite him still wearing his overalls and mask, the miner lifts up his pickaxe as though he is about to impale the female, the shot cuts away and there is a mid shot showing him slamming it down onto the wall. The female gasps and then looks relieved, use of the false scare?

The female begins to unzip the miners overalls and the non-diegetic music is overlayed with eerie low tones, connoting a threat, a disturbance?
The female puts her hands to the miners face as though to take off his mask, as she does this he shakes his head and replies "No". There is then a faded transition to a close shot of the females lower back, which then tracks up to her head slowly and there is a two-shot close up/over the shoulder shot of the two.
High angle/Over the shoulder shot of the female, connoting vulnerablity, and we see the torch from the miners helmet shining on her face.
There is a close up of the females hands stroking the cord attached to the mouth piece of the mask, almost a sexual encounter, anchored by deep breathing by both in shot. There is then a close up of the miner gropping the females breast with the tattoo on it. Then an extreme close up on the tattoo and we denote the fingers of the miner shaking/twitching.

The non-diegetic music gradually builds up with tension and the miner suddenly throws the female back and she is impaled on the pickaxe in the wall, making a groaning noise as he does so and she screams.
We have a close up on his mask and we hear her screaming and the diegetic sounds of piercing skin/arteries.
We then have a close up on the face of the female screaming which goes into a zoom into her mouth and then a black screen and the title card plays. Serif font, all white but in the word Bloody, instead of two "oo" it has two red love hearts, almost quite comical, a sort of irony, juxtaposition.

Initial Film Concept

The initial concept of our film actually came from my initial pitching idea and Alex Burke and Robbie Miller decided to join me and work on the idea for our film.
The basic concept of the film is a hybrid genre of horror/supernatural and film-noir, or more so neo-noir. Our central protagonist in this film is a vampire detective, in the beginning of our film we try to add narrative enigma by not giving anchorage to whether the central protagonist is a hero or villain.

The idea for our opening two minutes was to have our central protagonist, call him Jack for the moment, coming out of his home at dusk just as the sun has gone down, in a very typical detective outfit like a trench coat and hat and then lighting up a cigarette, we would also show the vampire canine fangs and if we're able to also the red contact lenses to tint his eyes as signifiers that he is a vampire. Then he would walk around dinly lit deserted streets and alleys and hear a girl screaming, he would then approach the noise to find a young girl being attacked by a young male in an alley way, Jack would then pull the attacker of the girl and restrain him and then bite his neck and drink his blood, during this time the girl will have run off.

After Jack has finished preying on his victim he will lift his head up and wipe the blood from his mouth.
It is likely we will have a voice over during this explaining why he is doing it or what his existense is about.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Initial Ideas for a film opening

I like the idea of working on a film that is quite dark and sinister, so the horror/thriller genre appeals to me but also so does "Film Noir" as I really enjoy these kind of films like The Maltese Falcon and even Casablanca. I personally enjoy a lot of psychological horrors and films from the mid 20th century, I look up the 100 best horrors films and here are some of the ones I like or would like to see the most:

The Shining
The Exorcist
The Omen
Don't Look Now
The Wickerman
An American Werewolf in London
Dawn of the Dead (1978)/ Day of the Dead
Friday the 13th
28 Days Later
The Howling

Some ideas I have for my film have some links to vampire films, maybe somehow linked with film noir, like a vampire detective, could be portayed in a trench coat and trilby hat smoking a cigarette and maybe coloured contact lenses and vampire teeth to signify he is a vampire. Maybe we could have flashbacks of crimes he has witnessed or how he became a vampire.

Another idea I had weas of a pyschological horror film, maybe the main character is planning how he is going to kill someone, maybe a young attractive female, stereotypical representation. Maybe sitting in a basement or darkly lit room with pictures on the walls and then it shows him leaving with maybe a knife in his pocket and the film ending with the door closing behind him.

I also like the idea of a post-apocalypse sort of film like 28 days later by having a character waking up and there being no one else around and walking around a deserted town and then being chased by zombies or her/him picking up a newspaper saying what has happened in the headline.

Or maybe a film about a schizophrenic murderer who wakes up with blood on his hands and cannot remember what has happened and he finds out he has gone on a murderous rampage and killed people and stored them in his warehouse, shed, etc.

Film Openings

The opening few minutes of feature films try to create a lot suspense to immerse the audience immediately into the film, good examples of this are horror/thriller films, usually using really dramatic sequences which have a link to the main plot and perhaps show us something similar that will happen later on in the film. A good example of a film like this could be Jaws with the opening of the film having a young attractive woman swimming in the sea and being attacked by a Shark. The use of the attractive woman appeals to the male audience, male gaze idea, and the fact we never see the shark and just have to assume or make our own mind up adds to the suspense and keeps the viewer fully immersed in what they see on screen!
Sometimes they may use big stars in the opening of films so that viewers can immediately be attracted to  favourite actor and famous name, like in the opening scene of Love Actually where Hugh Grant does a narration over the top of the images on screen and his voice is immediately recognizable.

The type of opening a film has goes hand in hand with the type of genre the film is, like I said Jaws is a horror/thriller and has an exciting opening full of suspense, a comedy film like The Addam's Family has an opening which tricks the audience at first into thinking one thing and then shows you reality, as it starts with a bunch of carol singers singing outside we then see the gothic mansion behind and this seems surreal, as though they have been put in the juxtaposition and then as the scene moves on we see the Addams family pouring scolding liquid onto them.

Some films have teaser openings to them and their directors have tried to add some narrative enigma to them in some cases the opening scene has little relevance to the main plot of the film a good example being the James Bond film Goldfinger as this starts with an action packed scene so it signifies the genre of the film but it has no connection with the rest of the film other than it introduces the central protagonist.

I am Legend, directed by Francis Lawrence, 2007.
  • Non-diegetic sound plays over production logos, setting exposition sounds like radio or televsion. Then shows a television screen, and interview on the television this again sets up the exposition and gives some narrative to the beginning.
  • Then screen goes black, thud sound.
  • Establishing shot of a city, subtitle says "Three Years Later", we can hear birds chirping helps to emphasise the silence and signify no one around, plant life has grown on tall buildings, abandoned cars, all signifiers that it has been deserted.
  • Shows aerial shots/helicopter shots of the city. Hear a car in the distance and a black man driving it, signifies he is the central protagonist. 
Van Helsing, directed by Stephen Sommers, 2004.
  • Production logo for Universal turns black and white half way through, trying to signify it is meant to look old fashion. Globe of Universal turns into a ball of fire which then becomes a torch.
  • Dramatic music playing thudding with a beat, first shot we see is of an angry mob, we then have an establishing shot of a huge gothic castle, with thunder and lighting adding to the effect horror effect, real sense of the genre and theme signified here.
  • Cuts to a laboratory setting inside the castle, we see a creature screaming and signifies terror or fear made doctor stereotype character makes reference to the Frankenstein franchise. Man looking out the window from a high angle shows him to look vunerable even though so high up, he is refered to as doctor.
  • Another character appears all in black, signifying he is the antagonist, a flash of light for a split second shows him to have fangs. Threatens the doctor and attacks him as he does so giant fangs appear and he bites his neck a good signifier of the vampire genre.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Prelim Task- Daybreakers Swede (Web Quality)

The prelim task set was to show a character opening a door and then cutting the shot to then show them coming through the other side of the door, this was the use of a match-on-action shot. We show this in the swede within the first minute as the girl has just walked down the corridor. We also were asked to show two characters sitting and talking using the 180-degree rule, meaning that the two characters on screen have the same left/right relationship and shot-reverse-shot.