Film is an integral part of today’s society and as such has developed
clear patterns in terms of audience expectation. Audiences watch many
different genres such as Horror, Sci-fi, Horror Sci-fi, Action Adventure,
Fantasy, Thriller, Comedy and many more.
Audiences of the horror genre expect the pattern of spooky non-
diegetic music, distorted camera angles to change the audience’s view of
the world there is often a dark, dingy, sinister setting as well.
In the sci-fi genre you expect to see spaceships, lasers, phasers
etc. The sound effects and music of a sci-fi film has mysterious and bold
music, there is also many sound effects such as zapping, explosions,
humming and many more. The setting of a sci-fi is normally set in the
future in huge cities or in deep space.
In a horror sci-fi you expect to see the genres horror and sci-fi
merged together, An example of this could be a terrifying storyline set in
the future with spaceships.
In the film “Sleepy Hollow” the director clearly establishes the film
is a horror from the moment the action starts. Tim Burton starts with a
close up of wax dripping on to a will that has just been written and
signed, and then there is a close up of two people shaking hands. This
suggests that some kind of deal is taking place, the wax that is dripping
is red and at first it makes you think that it is blood dripping until the
Van Garret crest is stamped into it.
When Van Garret is travelling in the horse and carriage there is a
blur of the headless horsemen before Van Garrets chauffeurs head is
decapitated this is a good effect because it doesn’t show it is a headless
horseman straight away so it keeps it fairly mysterious. Another good
effect is when Van Garret is running away the camera keeps switching from
being the horseman. This is effective because it makes it an exciting and
exhilarating scene also the audience are clearly directly involved with the
action. The horseman then decapitates Van Garret and his blood splatters
onto a pumpkin. This is a classic start to a Tim Burton film because it
includes a chase/pursuit and a pumpkin head in it.
“Sleepy Hollow” fulfils the expectations of a Horror film in the use
of non-diegetic sound, for example before the credits start there is a clip
of a lion wandering through woods as soon as you see this music starts
playing and the style of the music is ghostly classical. This establishes
straight away that it is a horror film and all through the film you hear
this ghostly classical music just before somebody is about to be killed you
also hear a gothic choir join in. The speed of the music changes as the
suspense builds up and the music stops for a couple of seconds when the
suspense is released. The sound and music in Sleepy Hollow is very
effective and makes the film more enjoyable. When watching this film in
silence it is very boring so this proves that the sound is a very important
part of a good film.
The lighting in “Sleepy Hollow” completes the film. In “Sleepy
Hollow” the lighting is made to look as if the only light that is present
is candle light and the flickering light off the fire. The lighting
finishes the films expectations off for the audience who are left in no
doubt this is a horror.
By contrast, the film “Blade Runner” directed by Ridley Scott is completely
different. The camera clearly establishes it as a sci-fi with the first
shot that is zooming in and it also establishes that Los Angeles is at
night time. This could lead to the start of a horror but then you see huge
towers spurting out huge flames. There are also spaceships flying all over
the city and there are gigantic holographic billboards and this points to
the genre of a sci-fi film. As the camera is roaming around the city slowly
zooming in you see lots of futuristic type buildings and it stops roaming
at the bottom of a building and the camera slowly climbs up as it is climbs
up the camera quickly cuts and you see an extreme close up of a blade
runners (Harrison Ford) eye this is a good part because in the film the
only way they can tell the difference between a replicant and a human is
the involuntary movement of the eye when they are feeling emotion. As it
turns out the character played by Harrison Ford is a replicant so this is a
good add in.
After that part the camera cuts back to slowly climbing up the
building until it reaches a window near the top of the building and it
starts to zoom in and you see an interviewer looking out of the window and
he turns around as another being enters the room. The interviewer and the
being called Leon sit down at a table, now he camera becomes an eye level
shot while the interviewer is setting up the equipment to test Leon whether
he is a replicant or not. After the equipment is set up the interviewer
starts asking questions to Leon, the camera becomes a mid shot of whoever
is talking it carries on like this until Leon stands upand shoots the
interviewer. The camera view becomes a mid shot and then it cuts to a
different part of the film. In the short clip of the film of the film t
the start the camera establishes this film is a defiantly a sci-fi.
Ridley Scott uses the sound in his film to make the audience certain
what genre “Blade Runner” is. Firstly as the film starts you can hear a
faint hum at the opening credits also as the film starts non-diegetic music
cuts in, the music is slightly futuristic but mysterious this carries on
for most of the start except for a couple of seconds when you here
explosions coming from huge towers and after the explosions huge flames
soar out of the towers, this points to a sci-fi. The music carries on
while the camera is roaming around the city you can here lots of spaceships
and you can here faint voices, this is a good part as it represents the
city of Los Angeles because in present day there are huge buildings, lots
of cars and people, on the streets the only difference in “Blade Runner” is
that the cars are spaceships and the buildings are shaped differently.
The non-diegetic music carries on until the camera reaches the interview
room then it faintly fades away, and you start to hear a lady announcing on
an intercom this gives you the impression that you are in an office type of
place. Then Leon arrives and when his escort leaves and shuts the door the
door makes a clank as if it is a heavy metal door this might represent that
this is a secure room.
When the interview begins the room is silent and all you can hear is
faint voices, Leon and the interviewer talking, until Leon stands up and
shoots the interviewer. The gun doesn’t make a sound like a normal gun it
makes a, Zap sound like phaser. In the film “Blade Runner”, the sound
defiantly emphasises that it is a sci-fi.
The film “Terminator” establishes that it is a horror sci-fi from the
The camera shows this clearly when you see a apace ship fly overhead,
in between a battle with lasers this shows that it is a sci-fi but when you
see hundreds of skulls being crushed by an infernal machine it points to
the horror genre so this means the film Terminator is a horror sci-fi. The
camera angle when Arnold Schwarznegger is looking over Los Angeles makes
him look like a horrifying mechanical giant but when the normal man arrives
from the future the camera angle just makes him look normal. This is
showing that machine is bigger, stronger and more important than humans it
will be a battle between man and machines.
In the film terminator the sound and music tells us that it is horror
sci-fi such as when the battle in the future is taking place you can hear
mysterious non-digenetic music but the battle sounds are zaps and hums of
space ships, at this point it tells us it is a sci-fi, but when Arnold
Schwarznegger arrives in the present day there is lightning present and
when he stands up there is one more strike of lightning and he walks off
this symbolises the horror genre.
The Camera and sound of Terminator distinctively points to the horror
In conclusion my preferred film is Blade Runner because firstly camera
angles and use of roaming camera around the city establish the genre as sci-
fi. The irony of replicants catching replicants whilst believing they are
human adds a twist to the story line which after first viewing is
apparent, however on the first viewing this twist adds to the impact of the