Before creating our horror trailer, I decided to analyse a film of the same genre, that is already on the market. However, before I analyed a trailer I wanted to ensure that I understand exactly what a horror trailer is:
A horror film is a genre, which is intended to, or has the capacity to scare its viewers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural.
Trailers are film advertisements for feature films that will be exhibited in the future at a cinema, on whose screen they are shown. The term "trailer" comes from their having originally been shown at the end of a feature film screening.
In order to discover the common conventions of a horror trailer, I have decided to analyse one that is already on the market. This will help to give me inspiration for our film trailer, as well as advising me on the conventions that we should include.
First Film Trailer
The first trailer I decided to analyse is Orphan, a horror trailer from 2009.
Mise-en-scene plays a critical role in any trailer, and I believe it is the most important techincal code. In this trailer, the opening sequence is of a school and of girls playing, this shows equilibrium within the scene; a common horror convention. The town is covered in snow which makes the scene appear very cold, and throughout the shots the young girl remains isolated. Winter has connotations of being cold and dark and this is reflected throughout the clip. When the family approach their home, it is very large which implies that the family are wealthy, however the girl continues to wear the same victorian-style clothing throughout the trailer, this suggests that she is quite a dark, mysterious character and likes to stand out. During the toilet scene, Esther is enclosed in the cubicle and this suggests that she is trapped within her character. When she burns down the tree house, the fire is the first time warmth is portrayed in the trailer. Fire has connotations of the devil and this links in well with Esthers character. To create an atmosphere, text cards are used to drop subtle hints about the trailer, these are very effective and are a common convention of a trailer.
As the trailer progresses, the cuts become quicker in order to build up tension and create an eerie atmosphere. Fades are used to indicate a change in time or location and link well to the snow and the text cards as they fade to white. During the voiceover and at the end of the trailer, the screen goes black to create tension, before displaying the title of the film and the credits. When the mother is chasing after the car slow motion has been used to create an atmosphere as it helps to draw out the scene.
At the beginning of the trailer, dialogue from the film is used to update the viewer on the events which have occured, this is a very common convention as it is an easy way to back-track on a story and set the scene. At the beginning of the trailer the non diegetic music is quite quiet, as it is portraying equalibrium within the scene, however as the tension builds the music loudens, before a crescendo when we hear a loud scream. As disequilibrium builds up, the music gets louder which is a common convention of a horror trailer. There is also a large amount of diegetic noise within the trailer, such as the childrens voices as the play which helps to create verisimilitude. The dialogue helps to update the viewer on the events that are unraveling and the eerie noise of the swings creaking help to add an atmosphere to the scene. As the cuts quicken the music also gets loude; another common convention of a horror trailer.
The birds eye view establishing shot helps to set the scene of the trailer, and creates a sense of verisimilitude as we see what appears to be a stereotypical American town. The two shot of the adopting mother and father also help to create verisimiltude as they are framed together, showing their close, normal relationship.
When Esther is in the classroom, the camera is positioned through an opening in the door, and we see her back which makes it seem like someone is watching and following her. A common convention of a trailer is to have equilibrium at the beginning, and this occurs in the orphan trailer, as we see lots of long shots and close ups of the family; making them seem happy and normal. Low angles are repeatedly used to show that Esther is the dominant character and that she is in control. High angles are used on the family, especially the mother to show vulnerability in the trailer. As Esther looks directly into the camera, there is a close up which helps to link her to the viewer, as it is as if she is staring straight at them.
Horror Trailer Two
The Amityville Horror