To begin with, I have learnt through reading about Gothic Cinema in the book entitled; 'A New Heritage Of Horror' I have learnt that using establishing type shots that give the audience a real feel for the surroundings, as if they are in the setting themselves, helps to set the tone of the film and fully offer an eerie feeling as the film reaches it's climax, in order to fully engage the audience.
I have also learnt through deconstructing film openings, that props, in the form of a knife commonly, is key to a horror/slasher film. It is the most used prop to use as a murder weapon as it shows the killer having more power and sets them apart from their victims, for example; if they used a gun then all they would have to do is pull the trigger whereas with a knife, the killers have to plan their murders, showing they are skilled in that area. Although this prop and the mask (see below) are the most important props, further info on mise-en-scene we will be using can be found on the linked post.
Further evidence of this can be seen in the films; Scream and Halloween (both films hugely successful, with many sequels/ homages) where a knife is used by the killer, not another weapon.
Another key convention that can also be seen in the film Scream is the use of the 'Final Girl' concept, where said girl prevails over the killer at the end of the film. This has become increasingly common in modern slashers as it opens up a whole new audience of that of teen girls/young female adults who may not be familiarised with this genre until this new concept. Although in our film opening there is a definitive victim, known as the 'Scream Queen' we would have planned for a final girl to have prevailed at the end of our production. Further character info can be found in this link where we highlight each character we need and the characteristics they must have.
Another key convention is the use of a mask. This can again be seen in the films Scream and Halloween, as well as extremely modern slashers such as The Strangers. This hides the killer's identity, although it is usually revealed at the end of the film to provide a climax. We have used a mask in our film to hide our killer's identity, to incorporate yet another common convention to our film.
We have found that 'false scares' are also commonly used, and prove to be quite popular when further suspense is needed to keep the audience guessing. Many of these can be seen in the Paranormal Activity films . We have not used a false scare in our Rough Cut although this may change and there may yet be one in our finalised production.
Thanks to key horror films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween, we have discovered that the ideal location would be a very isolated, rural scene. This was hard to achieve due to where our houses were situated, although as seen in the rough cut we have tried to use significant camera shots at the beginning of our film to give the best impression possible of a lonely location.
We have also chosen our target audience to be in the age range of 15-24 in order to have a wider group of possible viewers. We also hope that if this was a full production, the use of a final girl would help bring female viewers to our production.
Another key part of a horror film is a very eerie soundtrack to provide suspense and act as tension in the eyes of the viewer. Iconic soundtracks have been known from Halloween and Saw (See Podcast for Details).
These points are regarded as the most important parts of a successful horror film in our opinion, and the majority are incorporated into our film opening, entitled 'Oblivious' - see below for second rough cut.