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Medial effectiveness from portrayal of violence in horror films

Demonstrated by a comparison of the films “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Blair Witch Project”

Term Paper 2012 12 Pages

Communications - Movies and Television

Excerpt

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Definition
2.1 Horror films
2.1.1 Splatter films

3. Medial effectiveness from portrayal of violence in horror films
3.1 Review
3.2 Portrayal violence in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
3.2.1 Film Review
3.2.3 Real documented violence in a splatter film
3.3 Portrayal violence in “The Blair Witch Project”
3.2.1 Film Review
3.2.3 Fictional violence in a horror film

3. Conclusion

Bibliography

1. Introduction

„Violence is apparent and invisible“. This can be demonstrated clearly on horror films. Especially in splatter films violence in its visible detailed depicted way is both a contextual and a media technology instrument.1

Scope of work of this term paper is the discussion of the following thesis statement:

Successful horror films, where the entire violence and harassment only happens in the imagination of the audience, mark the end of the splatter film. Presumably this is due to the fact that because of realistic portrayal of violence the horror film rather gets the shape of a documentary instead of a horror film.

To debate this thesis statement, in the first part of this term paper the correspondent basics of the definition „horror film“ and „splatter film“ are defined. Building on that fol- lows an examination with the films „The Texas Chainsaw Massacre“ and „The Blair Witch Project“. Those are verified by a comparison in terms of their portrayals of viol- ence.

2. Definition

2.1 Horror films

Horror is a genre, which is compared to other genre, difficult to define and to describe because „it's parameters are established by different criteria.“2

Commonly the horror film is defined as a film genre, which should induce directed panic, fear, horror, shiver, disgust and abhorrence.3

For the main part, the horror genre is concerned with the fear of death, the different ways of dying and the inconvenient time of death.4

Another attribute of the horror film is the eternal struggle between good and evil.5

There is a distinction between the classical and the post- classical respectively the modern horror film. The modern horror film includes those films that emerged in the late 1960's.6

In the classical horror film, the evil is represented by monsters who couldn't exist in this extreme way in real life. „They represent the ugliness, the evil, the deformed, the anim- al and so on“.7 However in the modern horror film the monsters resemble real individu- als, that means in the first moment the evil is subtly not visually detectable. For in- stance monsters are depict as ruthless scientists or politicians. While in the modern horror the plot is playing in our real life „as undesired consequence of the modern soci- ety and environment“8, the plot of a classical horror film is portrayed „as a consequence of social standards“ and is mostly put into a big distance. That means the plot rather plays in a foreign environment or for example in a dream of the protagonist.9

The most conspicuous and most essential feature of the modern horror film is the „rad- icalisms of the portrayal of violence“.10 Murder sequences, prosecution sequences and also the aspects of dying, death and cannibalism are depict in a very dramatic way.

2.1.1 Splatter Films

The Splatter film is constituted as „the genre of the modern „body horror“, which developed during the 1960's until the beginning of the 90's. The term „splatter“ is a form of the horror film, where the materiality and the mediality of the body is set central. That means the splatter film tries to stage real violence on the human body.11

The splatter film has never been defined as „a pure sub genre of the horror film“.12 Today it's more than ever an „exclusive aesthetic mode“, that means a specific form of the cinematic portrayal of violence.13

Thus the splatter film stands for an „uncompromising depiction of physical violence in the media“.14

The more the splatter film took shape, the less horror films were released without those so called „splatter elements“.15

Several horror films use such elements, because they increase the factor of the unnatural and the threatening.16

Splatter films indicate terror. Authentic violence and disgust elements are combined with modern aesthetic picture and narrative strategies.17

Nowadays splatter scenes can be find in various film genres. Western, Science Fiction and many other genres use splatter scenes.

The first successful splatter film is George A. Rameros Zombie film „Night of the Living Dead“. In Rameros film dead people turn into carnivorous zombies who attack the en- tire America.18

3. Medial effectiveness from portrayal of violence in horror films

3.1 Review

Portrayals of Violence constitute in most horror films „ a characteristic emphasis.“19

They are subject to the challenge, to overwhelm the audience afresh, to fascinate or to shock. A familiarization in the audience occurs, which leads to an „intensification and radicalization of violent scenes“.20

Splatter films are described as „assaults on the audience. […] they pound like a drum fire at the senses“. Despite this challenge and pressure by massive portrayals of violence, it seems like the fans of those films sense „a highly amorous pleasure“.21

[...]


1 Cf. Macho (2012) Vorwort, p. 7

2 Cf. Sipos (2010) Horror Film Aesthetics, p. 5

3 Cf. Reclam (2004) Filmgenres. Horrorfilm, p. 10

4 Cf. Wells (2000) The Horror Genre, p. 11

5 Cf. Reclam (2004) Filmgenres. Horrorfilm, p. 10

6 Cf. Shelton (2008) Unheimliche Inskriptionen, p. 123

7 Cf. Mayer (2000) Risse im Alltäglichen, p. 38

8 Cf. Mayer (2000) Risse im Alltäglichen, p. 38

9 Cf. Mayer (2000) Risse im Alltäglichen, p. 38

10 Cf. Shelton (2008) Unheimliche Inskriptionen, p. 151

11 Cf. Köhne, Kuschke, Metelin (2012) Rennaissance der Splatter Movies, p.11

12 Cf. Köhne, Kuschke, Metelin (2012) Rennaissance der Splatter Movies, p.9

13 Cf. Köhne, Kuschke, Metelin (2012) Rennaissance der Splatter Movies, p.9

14 Cf. Köhne, Kuschke, Metelin (2012) Rennaissance der Splatter Movies, p.10

15 Cf. Reclam (2004) Filmgenres. Horrorfilm, p. 22

16 Cf. Sipos (2010) Horror Film Aesthetics, p. 21

17 Cf. Meteling (2012) Medien und Ästhetik, p. 17

18 Cf. Köhne, Kuschke, Metelin (2012) Rennaissance der Splatter Movies, p. 13

19 Cf. Mayer (2000) Risse im Alltäglichen, p. 43

20 Cf. Shelton (2008) Unheimliche Inskriptionen, p. 152

21 Cf. Dietze (2012) Bluten, Häuten, Fragmentieren, p. 96

Details

Pages
12
Year
2012
ISBN (eBook)
9783656421504
ISBN (Book)
9783656422709
File size
460 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v213921
Institution / College
University of Applied Sciences Köln RFH
Grade
2,3
Tags
medial demonstrated texas chainsaw massacre” blair witch project”

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Title: Medial effectiveness from portrayal of violence in horror films