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Supernatural horror films
1Supernatural horrorThe demonic/supernatural film is not to be confused with the zombie film or the vampire film which although have similar traits are not about demonic possession or the supernatural.
What are some of the key conventions of the genre?
Demonic possession.Witchcraft and paganism.A ghostly presence.Religious devotion.The extraordinary invading the ordinary.Divine retribution and blasphemy.Exorcism.
2The ExorcistDir: William Freidkin(1973)
The Exorcist-some notesThe Exorcist was released in 1973 and is based on a book by William Peter Blatty.Blatty himself based the story on real exorcism that took place in San Francisco.The film was nominated for ten academy awards- them most for any horror film. It is also still the highest grossing horror film of all time.The film was released to a wave of controversy with the catholic church in America wanting the film banned.In the UK it was not allowed a video release in the 1980s.The film was re-released in 1998.The film is famous for its supposed curse..
Horror in the 1970s- What differences in emotional responses did you have when watching Halloween compared to The Exorcist?Both films are dated. Modern audiences have become more desensitised to images of horror.H bursts of fear/adrenaline. Quick shocks that disappear. Use of technical aspects, particularly music and lighting.H seems real based on the possibility of real murder. More human therefore less threatening.However for non-believers E is fantasy and not to be taken seriously.The use of a child in E is more disturbing than H.Use of sound in E is very disturbing as well as the visual effects- projectile vomit, head spinning, levitating the bed.Regan hair and make up.
The Exorcist- Issues of representationHow does the film represent:Gender- Age -Ethnicity- Religion- Social Class.
Regan- the pre-pubescent teenRegans mother single working mother.Father Damian and Catholicism.The white middle class, suburban lifestyle.The opening in primitive, foreign Iraq.
The Exorcist- The openingThe macro aspects: Narrative and Themes
The plot exposition.The exposition is quite long. Why? When does the plot actually start?Is the Iraq prologue necessary?Why does the film spend so long on Father Karrass back story?
What can you say about the narrative structure? Linear or non-linear?What is the time frame of the film? One week a month. How long ago was the Iraq prologue?How early can we predict what might happen to Regan.
Can you identify key supernatural themes in the opening ?Extraordinary invading the ordinaryFear of the dark, religion (wrath of God), fear of foreignersCrisis of faith.
The Exorcist- Exposition and the micro apsects.
Sound(dialogue, music and sound effects)The chaotic diegetic street market sounds in Iraq- build to crescendoThe harsh, discordant sound of the demon in the loft.The naturalistic dialogue.The famous use of Tubular Bells music (tracking shot). Now closely associated with horror.
Mise en scene (sets and locations, costume, props and lighting)The primitive, chaotic Arab world.The ancient artefact and demonic statue in IraqThe suburban large townhouse with maids.Chiaroscuro lighting- in the loftReligious symbols- crucifix, nuns. The Ouija board?Father Damians priestly garments.
Cinematography (shots, angles and movements)
The two shot face-off between the priest and the demonic statue in Iraq.The long tracking shot of Regans mother walking down ordinary suburban street.The low angles looking up at the loft- what is up there?The slow track back at the dinner party to reveal Regan before she wets herself.Editing (positioning of shots, continuity editing, transitions)
The Exorcist- therapist sceneConstant undertone tremor Chiaroscuro Magritte painting Empire of light 1950, events happening in genuine place. They depict the paradoxical image of a night-time street, lit only by a single street light, beneath a daytime sky. Shown and represented through the candle lightCandles represent Jesus.Bedroom- safe and secure domestic setting?The room is always cold, evil dwells in the cold (inhumane). Uncomfortable and disorientated in relation to the sounds. Therapist scene continued.Dialogue addressing in second person by therapistMonotone delivery of Regan.Growling animalistic sounds Make up- pale lifeless faceClose ups and reaction shots of Regan and mother.Picture of Regan falls.Regans POV- emphasizes the pain of the man, also emphasizes the pain Regan is causing and her extraordinary supernatural powers.
The Exorcist and emotional responsehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OtrZoqN-xo
The Exorcist is an iconic horror film. There is a myth surrounding the film generated by the supposed curse during its production.This was then reinforced by the reaction it received form audiences when first released in 1973.The film itself was groundbreaking in terms of the way is used visual effects and sound effects to create the horror.It also used a child actress in manner that shocked audiences.By the early 1970s censorship laws had been loosened so that graphic sex/nudity, explicit violence and course language were permissible.
What questions can we ask in regards to audience's emotional response to The Exorcist?