Genre Research


A horror film seeks to create a negative reaction from the audience by portraying their fears. For example, if people are scared of clowns; a horror film will most likely depict them in a very startling way in order to disturb the audience. Horror films usually involve elements like ghosts, vampires, demons, monsters, zombies, cannibals and serial killers. This usually involves a supernatural origin. Horrors usually consists of subgenres which are films involved with a certain element or personalisation that is aimed at a certain audience. For example, these subgenres are:

  • Remakes of old horror films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Slashers
  • Religious/Satanic
  • Supernatural
  • Science Fiction
  • Horror Comedies
  • Action Horrors
  • Vampire/Zombie
  • Monster Movies
  • Psychological

The setting in a horror is typically small communities or isolated places. These represent isolation or being alone. Also, horror films show locations with dark history. For example, these places could be an abandoned house, haunted hotels and insane asylums. Typical locations that are often used in a horror film are as listed: lakes, country side, cities, woodland area, creep hotels and other locations that make the audience feel disturbed or isolated.

The technical codes for a horror film are very different from any other genre. High and low angle shots can help to connote fear and nightmares. POV shots are equally important because they allow the audience to see the setting from the antagonist/monster’s perspective. This type of shots typically happens during the middle or towards the end of a horror film. Handheld shots used during a horror film can make it extremely difficult for an audience to comprehend what is happening during the sequence. However, due to the shaking of the camera, it can connote fear and how petrified the characters are. One of the most fundamental factors in a zombie film is the use of sounds. It is important to use disturbing sounds in order to evoke emotion out of the audience. For example, a director should aim to have a very disturbing soundtrack or use sounds like footsteps or a heartbeat to connote the character’s fear. Extreme close ups can be used to show the audience what the victim is currently feeling at the given time. For example, ECU focuses on a character’s facial expressions during a sequence in which they are completely terrified.

The iconography in a horror film is extremely important because it sets to visualise a tone during the horror film and from that point onwards the audience will have a certain idea of where the film is going. Visual style is usually uses colours that portray evil, blood or danger like red or black. Black is a very common colour to use as it focuses on people’s primal fear of not being able to see in the dark. Low key lighting can be used to create shadows and odd shapes in the dark. Props are very important in a horror film as it helps the audience identify the antagonist’s appearance. For example, specific props can be identified with certain characters e.g. the finger knives with Freddy Krueger, a machete and hockey masked is linked with Jason Voorhees etc.

The narrative structure of a horror film is very simple. It usually consists of a protagonist, a man or girl that keeps up with the conventions of the genre and must embark on a mission to kill or solve the problem. Quite typically some narratives are formulaic and this most common in sub-genres such as Slasher films. After some series of events that turn the “slasher” insane or due to some twisted or terrible childhood past, they usually return to their hometown and kill the teenagers. The teenagers are portrayed to be stupid and immoral (It is very common for teenagers to be portrayed in this manner) and are usually shown to be the ones that evoked the “slasher” to come back in the first place. During these slasher films, there is always a survivor that manages to escape or kill off the antagonist which relates back to narrative structures. A good example of this style of narrative structure is the Halloween series or the Friday the 13th franchise.

The character types portrayed in a horror film are:

  • Main protagonist (victim or hero of the film)
  • Antagonist (monster, mutated freak, supernatural being, alien or a serial killer)
  • Immoral teenagers
  • Police officers that are either good or bad and contribute to how some victims are killed. For example, some police officers are portrayed to be extremely stupid and are often killed, leading to other characters being killed as well.
  • Ghosts, demons, psychopaths, stalkers, werewolves, cheerleader

Zombie sub-genre

Many films portray Romero’s concept of zombies in their sequences. Zombies are newly dead flesh eating creatures that have been re-animated by radiation chemicals, viruses, sorcery or acts of God. They can be very strong, but not very fast or agile which typically gave advantage to the survivors in the films as they could run away from a small pack of zombies without getting hurt or killed. Zombies are impervious to pain and can only be killed by destroying their brain or decapitation. Most modern films portray the zombies to be contagious and when people get bitten they will become a zombie. To conclude, this spread of zombies will ultimately lead to a plague where the zombies will vastly outnumber the living.

In modern portrayals of zombies, they depict them to be faster and much intelligent zombies. Examples of these portrayals can be 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. In these films, a virus occurs where humans will turn in a zombie like creature but not a zombie itself in which they don’t die unless they starve. Typically, most zombie films end with a cliffhanger, a cure is discovered or everyone is killed.

The character types in a zombie film are:

  • A leader (usually guides the group and makes most of the decisions)
  • Children
  • Betrayer (someone who commits an act where they can influence other characters death or cause misfortune upon them)
  • Human sacrifice (usually involves a character sacrificing themselves in order to save others)

After researching a few horror conventions, I chose to go with the zombie subgenre. This is because I personally engage with the zombie subgenre as it depicts people having to survive an apocalypse as much as they can by avoiding getting bitten. The common conventions of a zombie film makes the audience think about what they would do in these given circumstances. For example, a typical George A Romero depicts a power struggle within the group and the fear of getting bitten, which is personally appealing as it gives a realistic approach to the film because if something of that magnitude actually happened, these are potential factors that could occur and determine who could potentially die.

Due to the length of the upcoming sequence, I have decided to use the leader character type to show the audience that he is the one responsible for the rest of the group and that he has the most power over everyone. I have decided that I could hint to the audience how a certain character will ultimately end up like. For example, I could show that a character is beginning to become selfish and very suspicious over the period of time which ultimately will show who the character really is.

Really good background research Pedro! Will you be using any of the character types you identify in the 4 bullet-points above?


Final Draft and Final Pitch

The slideshare above includes my final sketches for my planning stage, with some annotation as to what I am going to include.
After we completed the research and planning, we have decided what ideas we are going to feature on our magazine. The masthead will be using bright colours which will help to draw attention to the magazine. The colour scheme will be various different colour pinks and white which will attract the intended audience, females which are teenagers. We are going to make sure we use a large image which will be central in the magazine. We are going to use pull quotes on the front cover which will be useful as this will entice the reader and provide them with a sneak peak of whats going to be inside of the magazine. We are going to make the front cover bright and colourful, as it will reflect the personalities of the target audience. On the contents page we have decided to stick to the house style colours and the linear structure in terms of titles and page numbers. We are going to use big and bold titles to make the page more attractive and use a variety of images to advice the audience to read each page. The images will be sneak peaks of whats in the current issue, and what is going to be included in the next issue. We will advertise the most important pages in more detail, such as the double page spread that we are going to make. We will offer posters, competitions and interviews on the content page and the cover page. Finally, on the double page spread we will include a large photo on one page of a celebrity which is also able to be used as an A4 size poster that can be used when cut out of the magazine. On the other side we are going to include an interview with the pull quotes on the other half, the interview will be relevant to the large image. The entire magazine will be stuck to the original house style, as this will make the magazine more profession and will help the audience recognise the magazine immediately. The colours, text type and headers will be the same size, colour, font and aligned the same so the house style is accurate.

Our Film Title

While looking online we found different websites which offered interesting designs of typography which we thought was suitable for our production. Once we decide on our title together as a group thought we should each look at different logo designs that we could use for the ending of our 2 minute production eventually we decided on this design which complemented well with our horror genre.

Titles of Film

Titles of Film

After searching on the internet we found the typography that we wanted to use with blood dripping from the word ‘Confinement’. Also we’ve given the same effect to the tagline ‘you can run but you can’t hide…’ for consistency and to give it an effect that relates to the ideological themes of horror to show we’ve been conventional.

image image imageFront page planning

For my front cover I decided to stick to the stereotypical conventions of a general pop magazine. I decided this because it sticks to the stereotype and has obviously been effective on the target audience I am aiming for due to the similarities between my audience and other pop genre magazine audiences. I decided that I wanted to make the overall theme quite quirky and fun and informal to suit my target audience and to make them feel more comfortable and involved. For my masthead I decided I wanted to have it slanted and to the left for these reasons and to make it look more effective and to balance the page out as I imagine my front cover to have the main image slightly to the right to allow room for sub headings. It was a very important for me to allow my main heading to be really eye catching and noticeable as this was a new artists and the attention needed to be drawn to her. I decided to do this by have this again slanted to give the whole quirky and fun look but then when it comes to creating my final piece I will make the background and writing bold and colourful using colours that contrast each other to stand out. I also decided to have some kind of pull quote on the front page next to Jess’s name to attract the audience to read her story, when creating my final piece I will make sure that the quote is scandalous and attracts the audience in.

Contents page planning
For my contents page I researched many different examples from existing pop genre magazines. I looked at the conventions and chose some that I really liked, to feature in my magazine. One of these conventions was the idea to have a small thumbnail image of the front page with arrows pointing from the headings to a page number. I thought this was a very good idea because it made the articles so easy to locate and also looked really effective and fun. I also decided I wanted to have another image of jess as she was a new artist and didn’t have the initial known reputation to sell the magazine so the use of conventions needed to be e element that sold her to the audience and by having another picture it made them wonder more who she was and make them feel that they want to read more about her.
For he main heading of the contents page I decided again that i wanted to make the font and layout quite quirky to suit the age group of my target audience and make them feel comfortable, I looked at many different styles and layouts and decided that for mine I wanted to have it in the top right hand corner instead of just at the top in the middle and also split the word up so it became less formal. I also decided that I wanted to stick to the same font I had used on the masthead to create a sense of theme. For the page numbers and articles i decided that I wanted to use a basic format and just have them columned up so it was easy to use and locate for my audience,in used the columns of both the left and right to fill up space and to even out the page.

Double page spread
For the double page spread, again I researched lots of different examples of this to get an overall idea, although I didn’t find many that I really liked I still had an image in my head of what I wanted it to look like. I wanted to have Jess’s name in big fancy fonts at the top of the page because she was a new artist and this what she was known as and will be her trademark if such. I then wanted a small introduction to the article underneath to introduce jess as an artist and to be the pull element to make the reader want to read more. I wanted to have the interview script and the overall article in columns as I thought this looked very professional and effective and would appeal to my audience. I also saw on a previous magazine the first letter sized really big which I liked the look of so I decided that I wanted to have that element to again because it looked effective and the first word would be Jess’s name and this would attract the audience to read it. Another element I wanted to use was of course the use of pictures of jess. We had previously done numerous photoshops of jess so I had many options to choose from but in my head I had the photo shoot that we did when I gave her a full makeover and made her look quite rockstar, I wanted to use theses picture as it makes her look very professional and into her music. The last element I decided I wanted to use was a scandalous quote which would pull the audience in and make them wonder and the only way they would find out the Answer was to read on.

Focus group on pop magazine

I got together some of my friends that met the range for my target audience which was teenage females. I basically asked them questions which I had chose for my questionnaire in order to get some extended opinions and feedback. This was a good way of receiving answers because they were able to give me constructive and elaborate answers to each question rather than just circling an answer. I got my answers with detail on what we could use instead and what I could include which others did not write on the questionnaires.

This gave me a lot of ideas on what the target audience wants and gave me ideas to make my magazine suitable and appealing to them.

Institutional Regulations


The British Board of Film Classification is a non-governmental organisations, they are funded by the film industry and oversee the national classification and censorship of films within the United Kingdom.


Films will be assessed and clarified by two examiners, they have a joint opinion deciding on the overall classification a film will receive. However it may be necessary to get advice on particular parts of the film content to make sure that it has a suitable classification. This is to ensure that it is appropriate for the right people to see the content. When the film is released to DVD, it is a normality that single examiner will look at the content as it had previously been examined by two previous examiners before cinema release meaning that it does not be analysed in depth.

The primary aspects that are looked at to make a classification are:

  • Nudity
  • Horror
  • Sex
  • Sexual Violence
  • Language
  • Drugs
  • Discrimination

We have chosen to make our film a 15 certificate, this is because strong language will be used at times in order to convey the isolation and distress that the protagonist is in and to show disequilibrium. In addition to this, 15 years olds fit our target audience, this means it wouldn’t be wise to miss this age group from our film. We will show violence and horror themes but it will be in appropriate amounts for this age group.

Music Update

After some thorough searching on the internet we have found some pieces of music that we think will fit our production perfectly.

The first piece of music we had found was made by:TheEuphoricRager on Youtube this piece of music will help us convey our main ideological theme of isolation throughout our production.

The next piece is some ghost whispering which will we can use to convey isolation within our film making the protagonist feel on their own.

Together as a group we think that this music is appropriate for this production. before the opening title will show up on the film which will help the audience feel exactly how the protagonist is feeling and how they are alone and isolated.