Research: Genre Conventions | Horror

My chosen genre for my final project is Horror. I chose this because I want to explore the element of tension within film making. In horror, it is created through mystery, suspense, gore, terror and shock, which all are straight forward elements of horror and what make it enjoyable to watch for the audience.

Therefore to be able to create a successful I have to follow or challenge conventions of the horror genre that exist through the existing real media products in the horror genre.


  • Small communities/isolated places.
  • Dark streets
  • Anywhere that connotes isolation or being alone.

Possible settings/locations for my final project:

  • a lake
  • countryside
  • dark woods
  • woodlands
  • abandoned houses
  • graveyards/cemeteries

Technical Codes:

  • Camera work is expressive and not natural – high and low angles – which connote fear and nightmares, the idea of being inferior.
  • POV shots – allows the audience to see the world from the victims/villains eyes.
  • Hand held shots make it difficult for the audience to make out whats happening, promotes the feeling of terror and the unknown – two key elements of the genre. A key example of this in a real media product is the film Cloverfield.
  • cloverfield3

    Cloverfield using the convention of handheld shots (photo credit)

  • Disturbing sounds are very important in a horror movie. Ambient diegetic sounds like footsteps but also non diegetic sounds like a heartbeat.
  • Editing can create unsettling tension and suspense, if the ending hasn’t been paced up in a while then you know something very bas is about to jump out and scare you.


  • Visual style – dark colours, red and black – links to evil, danger and blood)
  • Lighting is expressive and non-naturalistic, low key lighting can help create dark shadows and unfamiliar shapes in blackness.
  • Common objects include: weapons, masks, religious icons.

Character Types:

  • Protagonist
  • Villain
  • Creepy children
  • Ghosts
  • Demons
  • Psychopaths
  • etc


  • childhood issues
  • religion
  • revenge
  • beyond death
  • supernatural
  • insanity
  • self – consciousness – making you question whats real and whats not.

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