Monday, 24 January 2011


We have almost finished filming and are in the thick of the editing of our trailer. Here is a quick glimpse to show what we have been up to:

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Typical Audience

Horror is a very popular genre within film. The typical audiences tend to age from around 15 to the mid/late twenties. However as some horrors are rated 18 they are not able to be seen by persons from 15-17. Mainly for this reason we have decided to aim our horror trailer to persons 15-25.

The guidlines for a horror trailer as certified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) states that the following are within bounds of a 15 rated movie:

Theme: No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate to 15 year olds.

Language: There may be frequent use of strong language; the strongest terms are only rarely acceptable. Continued aggressive use of strong language and sexual abuse is unacceptable.

Nudity: There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.

Sex: Sexual activity and nudity may be portrayed but without strong detail. The depiction of casual sex should be handled responsibly. There may be occasional strong verbal references to sexual behaviour.

Violence: Violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain, and of injuries. Scenes of sexual violence must be discreet and brief.

Imitable techniques: Dangerous combat techniques such as ear claps, head-butts and blows to the neck are unlikely to be acceptable. There may be no emphasis on the use of easily accessible lethal weapons (in particular, knives).

Horror: Sustained or detailed infliction of pain or injury is unacceptable.

Drugs: Drug taking may be shown but clear instructive detail is unacceptable. The film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug use.
the following website contains more information on the 15 certification.

The audiences for horror trailers have an extremely high threshold for excessive gore, mutilation, decapitation, torture and extreme violence. This has been developed over years of development of animatics and effects within the film industry. The new breed of horror films are often dubbed as “horror-porn” or “gore-nography” as they aiming to scare the audience as much as possible as well as staying in the limits of the law, often testing the limits of the American ‘R’ rated films.

Narrative and Representation

Ever since films were invented they contained scary and disturbing images. The reason for this is that people want to be and like getting scared or shocked. The need for fear is just a natural requirement for a human, it is a part of your imagination since early childhood, and it is thought that we are all born with only two fears, darkness and height. Horror movies, however, do appeal to our most primitive state which is one of the main reasons they are a very popular film genre.

Most horror films are a metaphor for most of our own lives; they often identify the victim who is trying to overcome the monster. As horror is required by the human mind it is often shown across all genres of film.

Horror films also allow us to ask the ‘what if?’ and let us safely dip into our primeval fears.

The following link contains lots of interesting information about the nature of horror film -


The first set of storyboards are of the equilibrium section of our horror trailer. As well as a drawn storyboard i also created an animatic.

Conventions of Horror Trailers

I have found in my research that nearly every horror trailer has two sections; Equilibrium and Disequilibrium, but never new equilibrium. The main reason for this is the fact that there is no need to have new equilibrium within a horror. The main reason a horror is a horror is because it rarely has a new equilibrium section. If a horror were to have a new equilibrium section then the film or trailer would become positive again, which is not wanted in a horror trailer. Instead, the end of horror trailers normally leave the audience hanging in suspense, often leaving them puzzled, which is the full intention of the trailer. This can be done in a few different ways. The most popular way is the build the music in the trailer up to a climax and then stop or slow down the music, in anticipation of a large scare or haunting spook, which frightens the audience. This can be seen in the trailer for the morgue when there appears to be new equilibrium until a quick shot of a man cutting his throat appears to give the audience one last scare.

As well as this, most good trailers are fast paced when the disequilibrium starts and often contain shots of knifes plunging or flashing on the screen and weapons being thrown. This often promises the audience blood and gore, to which most people who like horrors are attracted.

Whilst I was carrying out this research I discovered many key conventions very common in nearly all horror trailers:
· The use of the name of the producers in a text card for example ‘Fox Searchlight’.
· The use of fast shots with little or very little amounts of clarity, this is very effective and leaves the viewer in suspense, leading them to want and watch the film.
· Dark lighting is very effective as most people become nervous in the dark.
· Pathetic fallacy is often used, especially the use of rain to give a gloomy feel.
· The use of rural areas is important, in our trailer especially, because if a very urban location was used the person would not seem alone and isolated.
· Text card are often used to tell information, such as the actors name which will help to endorse the film if they are well known. However they are normally used to tell a story in separate intervals between shots.
· The use of weapons and showing of blood or gore is often popular to horror audiences.
· The use of a victim.
· The editing of the piece, especially in the disequilibrium section, is very fast and often has very few transitions, which help to make it disorganised as mentioned above.
· Many horror trailers also leave the viewer in suspense with one last scare at the end after the text cards.

Other horror trailers/posters

The poster for this film is very good. You simply see two people who are trapped with no way out. they are purposely framed within the window to show that they are isolated. The slight distortion to the picture also gives it a good luck, for the films genre. You can also see the reflection of the motel sign in the window, which they appear to be looking at, with a very vacant expression.

Key Points from the Trailer

  • very dark lighting is used

  • the diegetic sound is very whispery, especially the dialogue

  • you can clearly see that the two people being focused on are lost and are filmed as being alone and in isolation

  • you can clearly see a realisation of the problem when the two are watching videos of people being killed in the room they are in

  • the speeds of the shots speed up at the same time as the the music, which works very well

Funny Games This poster is especially special. Normally you would associate white with purity and calm, but in this poster the two people wearing mainly white appear to be the 'bad guys' of the film. However, the name 'Funny Games' is in red which has connotations of blood and death. This poster also contains a review from a newspaper, to show that it has been highly rated.

Key Points from the Trailer

  • the music starts out very happy and positive and takes conventions other areas of film which would not be associated with a thriller or a horror

  • the, what we learn to be villains, are in white which is very convention breaking as the so called 'bad guys' usually dress in black as white often gives a sense of innocents

  • the music also speeds up at the same time as the shot lengths decrease

  • the text cards are red however which have connotations of blood, fear and also a sense of warning

American Psycho

This poster is very simple and very effective. There is very little text so most of your attention is on the man within the frame. The fact that he is holding a knife instantly tells you that he is probably the person in the film who will be doing the killing. The fact that we can see his reflection in the knife tells us that he has two sides. The simplicity of putting 'killer looks.' on the poster is very effective, as it makes you wonder what it is all about.

Key Points from the Trailer

  • the use of dialogue within this trailer is very minimal and is more like we intent to have our trailer

  • the talking is chatty but in a happy tone, however what the man is saying is actually pretty sick

  • lighting is also very dark within this trailer

  • the only sound when the main piece of acting is taking place is the song, which is a happy song and does not follow what would normally be associated with a trailer

  • the main villain is often wearing white but often has red blood on his face or arms which show he is the bad person within the trailer

  • as well as this the text cards are white which also represent innocence


I feel that the locations that we film in are vital to the success of the trailer. We decided as a group that we should film in a wooded area in order to make the horror trailer scarier. Obviously we could have just chose anywhere to film, but instead I carefully selected many areas to film in. We may not use all of the areas but by having chosen more then one we can always move to another area and knowing it is acceptable to film in. It took me many weeks of continuously driving around to find suitable locations to shoot in. Most of the areas can bee seen on the map below.

This map, courtesy of Google maps, shows where we will be filming our torture scenes. Letter A upon the map is our school, at NE10 0PT. The other destinations will be used for the disequilibrium section of our horror trailer. We decided that to escape the organisation of urban life we would have to retreat to a more a more rural location, with very little around. This will be very effective when filming the disequilibrium section of our trailer.

Below is a video of locations and some of the problems we have faced: