History of a genre (Horror)

A history of the horror genre


Horror; superstition dwelling from folklore, mythological beasts fabricated in description to tell tales to strike fear into the hearts of village people, or used as a deterrent to demand order throughout the course of history. In this report I will analyze the development and evolution of the conventions and taboos conceived through historical horror films, and incentives relevant in their times that influenced them.




Nosferatu was a 1920’s black and white monster movie produced in Germany proceeding the aftermath and the decimation of World War One. The antagonist of the film was a mythical monster shaped and based on a 19th century novel called Dracula; a blood sucking beast whose proficiency to stay alive was to thrive on human blood. His victims would be deceived to believing the creature to be of human nature, for him to reveal his disfigured, nefarious evil identity and the sinister character he was. The motivation of the strong imitation of contraction of disease given orally by the vampire, reflected a wide-scale epidemic hitting Eastern Europe coinciding with the era of the film, which the public would have been familiar with the theme of death of such cause.



The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was a 1919 horror film directed and produced in Germany, representing the exploits of a cynical and deranged doctor of a local asylum in an isolated German mountain village. The movie challenged the realms of reality and introduced the graphical depiction of surrealism; with the audience memorized by the distorted scenery with the contemporary documentary style comprehensively adopted at that time. The sophisticated framing device pioneered in the film distilled the truth of who appeared as the insane character, as nothing was believed to be tangible. The epilogue is perceived as a momentous scene in the early horror-film industry, twisting the plot beyond the audiences’ intuition by stating that the narrator’s story was in fact a fantasy. The influence embedded in the film was concept drafted in by the films co-directors; although not subliminary but more a chilling envisage of a future embodiment of the reign of Hitler.




The 1930’s paved the way for the incorporation of sound, which director’s utilized to emit special effects, fabricate the faintest sounds and amplify the growl or macabre footsteps. Frankenstein, an early 1930’s monster movie depicted an audacious scientist genetically fusing lifeless limbs to reanimate a dead corpse. The film brilliantly toyed with the theme of blasphemy, influenced by the original Mary Shelley novel reflecting the influx of scientific contraptions and marauding body snatchers of her time. Dr.Frankenstein’s success mirrored the stark warnings issued throughout history, of playing God; the sacrilegious intervention of science would have devastating repercussions. As the monster wreaked havoc only causing anguish, as a result of his brain procured from a criminals anatomy.


Eccentric horror




In the 1940’s horror wasn’t derailed by the slightest mention of the word war, but neither did American film producers branch out in case of citing immoral uproar or polemic affairs by imitating the scenes globally. However, horror films were still advancing and continuing fashion by establishing more rural myths and conceiving legends such as the wolf man. The story follows a regular American returning to the roots of his heritage in Wales, settling the quarrels and differences endured with his father revolving around the death of his brother. Only to become a fatal victim of an ancient predator’s curse known as a werewolf, which transforms the victim into an immortal beast by the rise of the full moon. The obvious fuel for the film was though in fact Hitler; a predator in the making who democratically built a revered reputation of which the communities were fully aware of his ascension, identical to the wolf. Ironically the inhabitants of the secluded, fictional Welsh village were uneducated in war; where as the director of the film had escaped from the persecutions of Nazi Germany.



The 1942 film ‘Cat people’ epitomized the advances in special effects, new approaches and revolutionary codes and conventions. Another chapter in the laws of horror were scripted and adhered to; by exposing a woman’s psychological fears of her unmundane, ritualistic, descendant’s cat-like appearance taking a strain on her own body, by introducing shocks to a horror film. As experimented and implemented brilliantly the lead character Irena stalks her unfaithful spouse’s lover down a street; traced by shadows and abruptly ended by the arrival of a bus. Progressing through the film her husbands companion Alice, doesn’t actually witness the panther-like creature until the latter epilogue, but shocks and interpretive clues such as the famous cannoned shadow projected on the wall of the swimming pool inducted suspense. The budget of the film generated substantial income considering the initial figures of $150,000, which proved flamboyant budgets of sequel monster movies produced by rival companies could be bettered by other sub-genres.




The 1950’s casted a prolonged shadow that reverberated around theatres, studios and audiences in the form of extra-terrestrial sightings, and the apocalyptic fears of how technology and science could spiral the mere existence of man to plummet were vivid. All a product of the atom bomb’s aftermath; terror of genetic mutations from radiation, or mutation from indulging in scientific modification or cosmetics. The perpetrator or meddler was a self-pitied scapegoat (the American government), and showed remorse through uniting the everyday citizen and the new heroic armed forces in such films as ‘the beast from 20,000 fathoms’. In the film the gargantuan threat is a prehistoric dinosaur as an alternative to King Kong, instinctively heading back to its rudimentary territory which happens to be 1950’s New York. His rude awakening is conducted accidently by what is thought to be isolated atomic testing in the arctic terrain; however the beast is vanquished by the apparent benevolent uses of nuclear weapons after causing several economic damages and fatalities.



Invasion of the body snatchers plays on the prophetical theory that extra-terrestrial entities co-exists with people, and are stealthily and prudently wiping out the human-race. In the film ‘pod-people’ replicate the population of a fictional town, rapidly producing imposters of the townspeople. The distinct characteristic of these aliens are that they are blank of emotion or soul, with no diversity except for their appearance. The remaining humans are eradicated, leaving only the local doctor to formulate his frantic escape and warn humanity. The uncanny alien motivation on the film stems from the decade’s hoax alien sightings and the late 1940’s Roswell incident. However skeptical non-believers cultivated their orthodox beliefs, the film definitely hinged on the communist animosity strife in 1950’s America. For a high grossing film of its time of over 2 million dollars, the film was free of major cosmetics and special FX, and the newly incepted Technicolor pioneered in low-budget monster movies, with an investment of approximately $300,000.




The mass psychedelic rallies, Vietnam war coverage and youth liberation turned the social conformity and status quo upside down in the 1960’s. Horror films were induced by the revolution around them, the repercussions meant violence and sex were casual impurities and mainstream/underground cinema lifted strict censorship and embargo on eroticism in horror films.



Night of the living dead directed by George Romero and released in 1967, depicted re-animated dead corpses which desired human flesh of eight confined, bunkered refugees who found sanctuary in a house. The film depicted the team’s struggle to cooperate and cohere, as they bicker and quarrel attempting to survive the legion of the dead. The group’s valiant efforts eventually resulted in a sour ending, being devoured alive, executed or suffering the same re-animated fate as the undead themselves. The film’s subliminal message which when decoded outlined the uproar in society that coincided in the era; the inability and deficiency of the community to work together, whether it is satirical issues it flirts with or not.




The 1970’s addressed the psychological, social and cultist fears of children developed and elaborated on in the latter 1960’s.  A combination between liberalism, the effects of natal drug deformities, and mortified parents towards their offspring’ independence and scorn towards society. But it was also the decade where special effects catapulted in Hollywood blockbusters such as Jaws. The antagonist was one of nature’s tenacious predators; a great white shark which terrorizes a fictional village dependent on tourism as their summer trade and revenue. Brody, the newly inducted town sheriff attempts to convince the defiant council to cordon and restrict entry to the beach, so the abomination could be dealt with. However the council refuses to let their summer income fade away and dwindle, rendering Brody as the vigilante character who has to gather allies and hault the shark’s killing spree. The investment saw a large boost in funding of up to $7,000,000 (almost seven times more spent than B-side movies from the 50’s and 60’s). Ticket sales warranted up to $500,000,000 grossed, typical of the surge in the last two decades where adolescents and adults were a combined audience flocking to cinemas.



The exorcist was a groundbreaking horror film released in 1973, revolving around the grueling exorcism of a demonic possessed 12-year old, who traumatizes her parents and priest conducting the exorcism by exposing paranormal activity and supernatural power. The fiend or demon diagnosed as the host of the girl spurts blasphemous and derogatory remarks towards the priest and the parents, evoking abilities defying physics such as levitation and immaculate strength. The realistic special effects were an apotheosis of on-screen technology incorporated into 1970’s horror, and the austere nature which horror films had developed from society compared to risible hammer films in the 1950’s/60s. The film





An American Werewolf in London


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Representations, ethical and legal issues in magazines

Representations, legal and ethical issues in a magazine

Heat magazine

Heat magazine is a piece of entertainment media which compiles celebrity gossip, news and fashion. The main focus of the magazine revolves around trivial interviews with B/C listed celebrities, who have star status given to them by featuring in reality TV shows, scandals or are a counterpart of a celebrity couple etc.


The title of the magazine can deduce connotations such as a ‘heated discussion’, where the celebrities divulge information which would normally be confidential. Or even on a more technical element to the word heat, which can be represented as something that has emerged as hot or current affair.


The core audience the magazine’s content is targeted at ranges from adolescents to middle aged women in their thirties, who desire celebrity information as known in lingo as gossip. The magazine initially was adapted to male interests and endeavours, however due to its insufficient circulation figures to the magazine was overhauled and converted to a more female orientated magazine.


The magazines content and cover generalise the statement or message the publishers convey; slapstick and witty humour dramatizing what would be an ordinary couple’s life and their private intimacy, or the demise and rise of a well-covered celebrity with numerous puns littered around the page. This choice of approach in terms of choreographed humour renders the magazine as a casual piece of text to read, where the reader doesn’t have to decipher the information to put it into comprehension.




In the magazine males and females are represented as themselves, or in their everyday-life displaying paparazzi  snapshots, or family photos rather than surreal images or scheduled cover pictures. In some context this emphasizes the bond between the celebrity appearing on the cover with the consumer.


Males are represented less occasionally but symbolized erotically, showcasing muscles and torsos  reflecting the adoration for a well sculpted and supplemented male from a female perspective. Otherwise is featured as an integral



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Representation, ethical and legal issues in video games

Representation, legal and ethical issues in a video game Manhunt Producers and background information Rockstar studios well renowned for producing cult classics such as Grand Theft Auto, have released several games that have generated strong animosity and controversy leading to several disputed bans and regulations globally. A perfect candidate is Manhunt; a stealth/horror game depicting gruesome killings, and numerous executions in an over-the-top fashion. The game’s sale record was vigorously affected due to retailers such as GAME and Dixons removing the game from the shelves, including inciting several factions in numerous nations to legislate the ban for the game. Character representation and mobility The main protagonist’s background is vaguely disclosed as a supposed death row convict who was killed by a lethal injection, and his identity is clarified by the name ‘Cash’. His motive throughout the course of the game is to secure his freedom whilst complying with the demands of film director veiled in mystery, who feeds instructions to Cash via an earpiece. Cash is actively controlled throughout the majority of the game in a fictional and obsolete ‘Carcer city’, overrun by contesting gangs and delusional vigilantes who also actively hunt Cash. Each gang resides in a certain zone in the city, which cash encounters through progression of the plot due to the director subordinating them to his will. The several psychopathic driven gangs are active in different landmarks and locations scattered around the hostile city, where Cash must defeat each organization to dismantle the director’s influence over him in the city. Agency Cash’s monologue consists of small phrases when assassinating or impaling a foe. His dialogue with other characters is one of the game’s core components, on the contrary to the silent cryptic type implemented in various other video games. Other than virtually executing instructions for cash to follow, linear cut-scenes engineered throughout the course of the game’s plot exhibit’s Cash’s ability to influence events, and the agency he emits when betraying the director to enact revenge and pursue his freedom. His nemesis or main antagonist is not disclosed until Cash begins to make his own assumptions; the director set aside to cash is concealed in mystery for a large chunk of the game, ironically his level of agency turns the tide of the game significantly commanding Cash on a leash metaphorically. The director’s passive influence as the hierarchal kingpin of the game stems from his direct control of third-party mercenaries and hired vigilantes, who actively hunt Cash in zones of the city. Although the journalist plays a supporting role, her aid towards cash is not premeditated in the sense that she aims to free cash, however her assistance is paramount in revealing the director’s identity and prosecuting him for his inhumane acts. Her intervention is timely in the events of the game as Cash has witnessed the innocent slaughtering of his family, which fuels his motive to the extent that he will stop at no cause to enact revenge on the director. Absentees and roles Despite the shocking nature and obscene graphics in the game, a trait usually associated with Grand Theft Auto of merciless killings for pure entertainment and pleasure are absent from the game. Bystanders and innocents are elusive and only appear in the form of the journalist and the vagrant which Cash guides to safety. The game generates a sense of verisimilitude that although the city is superficial and imaginative, it has plausible elements combined such as an overrun, poverty and crime stricken city. This in theory removes the traditional hero or innocents in number from manhunt, as Cash is assumed to be a convicted convict and the remaining characters occupy the roles of villains. However, Cash’s motives can be perceived as righteous; as his history is unclear you can only judge his current mission for revenge or vendetta against the director for the murders of his family. This in fact is still illicit; however it reflects Cash as the hero of the game. The journalist only appears in a cameo and passive role, but her intentions of apprehending and uncovering the director for his crimes also reflects her as a noble character. On the other hand, the director and his minions are part of a nefarious plot driven initially by the production of a ‘snuff film, but once Cash derails his plans the director’s sadistic personality is really revealed. The events in the game eventually materialize to the epilogue where cash encounters the director face-to-face, who is generally portrayed as the main antagonist of game. Ethical issues The game’s potent injection of violence and explicitness obviously provokes strong rejection from the national and global public. However the virtual violence codifies moral and ethical issues such as stereotypes and negative repercussions. A broad topic highlighted in the game is the visceral experience that enlightens the player, when using a variety of assassinations on foes. Empathizing with the on-screen character by emitting raw-emotion stimulates the real life player’s drive; this in some sense bridges the gap between fantasy and reality. However, this corresponding topic has been the center of allegations towards a more recent case of a death of a teenager who was murdered by a supposed manhunt influenced adolescent. His incentive wasn’t stated, so evidentially the game cannot be directly linked. A more blunt or plausible theory is that the main protagonist Cash and his vehement yet tactical ways can be classed as self-defense. However, this claim could be both justified and supported by the compulsory killing Cash has to execute to gain his freedom, and also as an added catalyst he witnesses the slaying of his family members. Otherwise this is just an exaggerated alibi attempt to defend something that is untenable, or if you were to go beyond the threshold and argue it has subliminal links to soldiers fighting for a cause. Yet again this in unfamiliar in many conventions to Grand Theft Auto, where the player isn’t inclined to kill outside the limitations of the mission; however can free roam unprovoked indulging in hit-and-runs and merciless killings.

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End of term questionnaire

1. I understand more now about how to read a media text – Christmas pudding
2. I understand more now about how a media text tries to attract its audiences – Christmas pudding
3. I have learnt some new practial media skills – Christmas pudding
4. I have improved some existing media skills – Christmas pudding
5. I have enjoyed this term – Christmas pudding

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My radio station microanalysis

My radio station microanalysis

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Radio 1 and Galaxy microanalysis

Galaxy radio microanalysis

Radio 1 microanalysis

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Radio structure and content

Radio structure and content

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Grass Roots contents microanalysis

Grass Roots contents microanalysis

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Grass Roots cover microanalysis

Grass Roots cover microanalysis

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Magazine microanalysis (Covers)

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