• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Media studies: how are women represented in horror films

Extracts from this document...


Media studies: How women are represented in horror films (comparing scream (1996) to alien (1979)) Women are represented in a variety of ways in films, depending on the genre and narrative that it's based on. For example in sci-fi films they are usually portrayed as intelligent leaders (such as in Alien (1979), Ripley being the sole survivor and leading the team to try and save them throughout) and strong willed characters throughout, which are aimed for a broader audience than some types of film. Such as chick flicks, which are targeted at a female audience, because it has feminine qualities/plot in it, which men can't relate too, therefore would appeal less to them because the way in which women are represented is so diverse. In general the majority of the killers therefore villains in the horror films are male. The position as the female as the antagonist also seems to be a rarity in the genre. Yet in the few cases that this has actually occurred, after the shock of finding out the killer's gender was not male rubs off, it becomes harder for an audience to keep fearing her in the same way. I like the new era of horror, thanks to the likes of switchblade romance, pans labyrinth and let the right one in. These new forms of horror films are great, thanks to the films "not in the English language category" (sight and sound magazine (may2009). "The director, who's Brutal, arty "Extreme" movies set the tone for this cycle." ...read more.


I had many interesting and contrasting comments including what one person stated "women are never seen as equal to me in those films, there always the victims" (Wood, 2009) I have chosen to compare 2 films which completely contrast in views. "Scream" (1996) is a slasher horror; this is obvious because of its unidimensional structure of characters and straight forward plot line, of killings one by one, in addition to the barbarous killings of young females usually due to the fact they have secome to some form of indulgence, such as sex. Not to mention the displacement of sexual objectification. Where as my second choice of film; "Alien" (1979) is said to be sci-fi it also contains elements or the horror and thriller genre, because of the gory killings and language. However it doesn't use the female characters in the typical way, of victimisation, but it does let the main character Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) survives at the end. This is a trait of the horror genre, but then again you must also consider how her role was masculine anyways, which can be easily perceived by her appearance, of clothing and a shaven head. However she still remains sexually as a woman, due to her "attractive physical features" (Edwards 2009).The men show lack of respect towards her throughout, both are equally distinctly different to analyse. After watching the beginning of "Scream 1" and "2", the first thing that was noticeable was how a woman always seems to die first. ...read more.


"Alien" (1979) was his first success, due to the disappoint he felt for his first feature film "The Duellists". He wasn't originally going to direct the film, but when Carl Rinsch decided to drop out ridley Scott accepted the job. His films are varied in genre, so it's difficult to categorise and define why he chose certain aspects each. Where as scream was directed by Wes craven, who is well known for his love to create explicit, gory and very violent films. Such as nightmare on elm street, the fear, body bags and the house on the left. In my opinion in his films he liked to explore the nature of reality and test people's fears based on a twist of reality, which can be related to. Wes has a way of creating suspense in his films. In Wes Craven's scream films we find such an empowering representation of the female, through the main character (Sidney), who not only has to work out and defeat the killers, but try's to save her boyfriend. Because of this, she's portraying the lead role as the saviour/hero, and by doing so changing the conventional gender role of the male hero and damsel in distress in reverse. In conclusion, women have been represented in many different ways for a long time in horror films, stereotyped or not, there's always going to be an audience for both. Women's strength as characters with more intelligence/power and being the main antagonist is slowly but surly becoming more popular, and representing women in ways they should have always been. I think "Scream" had all the stereotypical aspects of a slasher horror, but the main character (Sidney Prescott) was strong in many ways. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Films section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Films essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of the representation of African-American Women in The Color Purple (1985) and For ...

    5 star(s)

    and attract a wider audience. In conclusion, both films "The Color Purple" and "For Colored Girls" illustrate various aspects of representation. In "The Color Purple", the 'Mammy' stereotype was a position created by society. However, stereotypes in "For Colored Girls" such as 'Jezebel' and 'Sapphire' are seen to be rooted in behavioral traits of black women.

  2. How women are represented in horror films (comparing Scream (1996) to Alien (1979)

    "The director, who's brutal, arty "extreme" movies, set the tone for this cycle". These really are brutal, but in a lot of contrasting ways, such as gender role reverse in Switchblade Romance, unlike the typical slasher films. http://fandangogroovers.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/switchblade-romance.jpg http://undeathmatch.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/let_the_right_one_in.jpg The traditional roles and representations of women are stereotyped as "housewives",

  1. A2 Media Studies Horror genre Essay

    Perhaps it could be the identification with the characters within a certain film, for example the innocent virgin. There is also the uses and gratification theory which addresses some of the basic pleasures which can be seen within the audiences' responses.

  2. Gladiator Media Assignment

    on as well. This develops the feeling of Roman times, as that is the era the movie is set in. Also the date, although smaller, is written in the same font as the title. The font also implicates a link to the movie!

  1. Compare and contrast the ways in which two horror films ...

    The innocence and helplessness of these two characters develops the audience's human emotions, creating a relationship between them. In contrast, "The mothman prophecies" is very Americanised in its characterisation. Richard Gere acts as John Klein, an American journalist. As is conventional in Hollywood, he is the hero of the film.


    I intend to choose the music and sounds carefully so that they fit in with the genre of the film and add effect to the potent parts of the film. I think sound, both dialogue and non-dialogue plays a big part as it can emphasise things happening and enhance the mood.

  1. Describe The Elements Of Style And Narrative Applied To The Films "Hard Candy" And ...

    No amount of security, even steel bars and plexiglass walls seems to protect society, and especially Dr. Chilton, from Hannibal Lecter. The overall message could be conjured up to - you are never safe in the harsh realities of society.

  2. Film Studies - the aim of my presentation today is to establish how women ...

    The sexually active women die and die, on camera, in the most violently gratuitous fashion possible. ? item 5 Presenter: Feminism in the 1970s and 80s had a huge impact on film. A feminist theory was that men became psycho killers because of a grudge he held on a woman due to a failed relationship.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work