Research: Horror Short Film Analysis | The Moonlight Man

The film starts off fairly conventionally, with the use of hand held camera which adds to the sense of ambiguity to the opening of the film. It also gives the indication that she is being watched which creates a suspense of what is possibly to come later in the film. It engages the target audience and the enigma codes are supported through editing to be relatable.

The low key lightly also adds to the rise-en-scene and creates anticipation which is highly common in Horror films.

The use of a soundscape and unnatural sound effects when the shadow of the ‘moonlight man’ is shown, creates tension and is used a stereotypical convention of the horror genre to scare, or make their TA jump when they first see it.
By using a silhouette of the villain instead of seeing him clearly for the first time, again highlights the ambiguity and keeps the audience in the dark and guessing so they are intrigued to find out more.

It uses close up and POV shots to allow to audience to identify the vulnerability of the women and to establish that she is being watched and followed. Which gives the sense of terror and they she’s a target, further highlighting the sense of danger and suspense inflicted on the audience.

The costume choice to have the antagonist wearing a mask paralleled with that non-diagetic sound builds tension and the sense of the unknown as well as making the audience aware that something is about to happen, but no one is sure that is it. Typical convention of horror.

The use of jump cuts suggests the disorientation and emotional pain and creates a blurry vision for the audience, allowing them to be able to relate with the vulnerability of the protagonist and create a connection to build sympathy.

Overall the plot is fairly simple using a straight forward linear narrative with a beginning, middle and end. It follows a conventional narrative with the end being one that leaves the audiences feeling lost and confused, yet terrified as the antagonist has won.

Overall the film is very conventionally horror and it is very clear to identify the genre of this film, I will use this as inspiration when producing my own final media product, however I want to challenge and develop conventions slightly more than this film does.



Research: Coulrophobia

Clowns: What does it feel like to have Coulrophobia:

As in my film, are main focus is a girl who is has a fear of clowns, I researched into the phobia of Coulrophobia

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 15.45.47

I’ve never been fond of clowns. I can clearly remember, at a young age, burying a clown toy I was given, although I’m not sure how old I was at the time.

I think the fear of clowns can be linked to an instinctual mistrust towards any creature whose face is hidden. A hidden or covered face can be universally translated as a signal of deception.

In the article I looked at it showed the difference between a masked face and a non-masked face and how the man whose face is covered brings a “myriad of questions to mind” and they only reason to conceal one’s identity is if you have something to hide. This is what I want to create with my final project, to keep the audience asking questions and take away the element of trust as they can’t read or gauge intentions of characters. To add to this, I am choosing a clown as a masked character as is also has a painted smile on their face, as a masked face on its own conveys deception and the painted smile conveys intentional deception which emphases the element of evil which additionally highlights my chosen horror genre.

Research: A-Level Short Film | “Sketch”

I researched A-Level media studies short films from pervious years to get inspiration and ideas for our own short film we will be creating.

One I came across was ‘Sketch’ Published by Tabby22Lay and it claims to have been graded full marks 40/40 therefore was a A* entry.

I after watching the film, I applied it to Todorov’s theory:

The Equilibrium is the girl feeling lonely and out of place in her life and starts in a familiar setting on what is presumed to be her bedroom.

The Disruption begins when the wardrobe doors open and she is then transported to another unfamiliar location of what looks like a wood or forest. This already is setting enigma codes into the audiences minds as it becomes and have ambiguous setting as the viewer has no idea where it is or what it is as it is literally just a blank unrecognisable location, which starts to build up the audiences engagement and intrigue into the film.

The recognition of the disruption is when the girls draws many different characters and they come to life to create a ‘real life’ ‘superhero’ team and they are met by another group of characters this time dressed in all black with heavy makeup, therefore the audience almost immediately understands that they are the ‘enemy’ and on the ‘bad side’ due to the negative connotations of the colour black.

The attempt to repair is when the ‘good side’ come together to fight against the other good and they then succeed.

The new equilibrium is then when the girl is back in her bedroom and it is made clear that she is now more confident in herself and is less shy and insecure.


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.

Research: Narrative Structures

What is a narrative:

A narrative is the ordering of structure: time, events, people, places. This then makes it easier to make sense of what is seen and what is assumed through past experience.

People naturally seek structure (Beginning, Middle and End) and narratives have been used to make sense of things like stories and fairy tales.

The purpose of narratives in media is to compress time, recognisable, allow characterisation and make the media genre specific.

Linear: In order – beginning, middle, end

Non Linear: Not in order – end, beginning, middle.

Narratives depend on disruption and resolution in the right points of the structure so that the change affects the characters – e.g. disruption in the middle  resolution at the end.

Most narratives follow a similar structure:

Exposition – Rising Action – Climax – Falling Action – Resolution.

Research: Shot Elements

Order of shots:

The meaning of a clip can change depending on the order of the shots and how they are cut together. Putting two shots together can suggest a connection or emphasise contrast (juxtaposition).

It can reveal who motivates the edit:

Which character’s perspective is privileged? Who do we start or end with or cut to most often in a conversation/scene? Who do we see eyeliner matches for – indicates who point of view we are watching it from.
Screen time was also part of this – which character do we see most, or which character do we see the perspective of most. This tells us which characters are most important in a scene or at this particular point in the narrative.

Continuity Techniques:

Establishing shots
The 180 Rule
Eyeline Match

Non- Continuity

Non-Continuity editing


The process of cutting from one shot to another usually involves a simple straight cut. However there are other ways to do this:

Fade to Black
Dissolve/Cross Fade

They can

Imply a passage of time
Imply a change in location
Emphasise a connection

Shot Duration, Pace and Rhythm

The duration of a shot will usually reflect the narrative context.

It generally conveys actions and urgency

Long shot duration creates a slow pace and conveys intensity and intimacy, whereas quick shots increase the pace and moves the plot along quickly.




Research: Shot Sizes/Types

1.) High Angle looks down on someone, it makes the person or object small and insignificant. This is usually used when they want to show when someone has more power than someone else.


2.) Low angle looks up on something or someone, making it look bigger than it really is. It is the opposite of a high angle and used commonly to make someone look more powerful.


3.) Eye level angle shows the object of the picture looking directly at you, this shows that he or she has the same amount of power as you. However in some magazines it is also used to show sexual tension when it is used with models.


4.) Aerial shot is a shot from above, it could be of a place or scene for a movie. It shows everything that is happening from a birds eye view. It shows the audience everything that is happening at once – a crane shot is used to achieve this.


5.) Close up shots are used to show an something is such a detail that is blurs the background around the image, or takes up the shot entirely. It can be used to get close to the actors so that the audience feel almost involved in what is happening.

6.) Long shots is from a distance, it shows the whole setting. It could be used to show a full scene or an actors full body.


7.) Medium shot is usually from the targets head down to their torso. This is to show their body and well as their face. This type of shot is commonly used in magazines.


8.) Over the shoulder shot are taken from behind a subject to see someone else. It is sometimes used in drama to show someones facial expression . It is more commonly used for when two people are having a conversation.


9.) Point of view shots show the view point of an actor. It is sometimes uses in films to show someones eyesight and what they are seeing.