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

How does the opening sequence of halloween establish genre and build suspense for the audience?

Extracts from this document...


Halloween was shot in 21 days in the spring of 1978. It became a huge hit and was the highest-grossing independent film ever made at that time, with a budget of only $300,00. Halloween was directed by John Carpenter, who at that time was a little known director. This film shot John Carpenter to fame. It's about a psychologically disturbed boy, who kills his sister on Halloween night in 1963. He then gets taken to a mental hospital where he is studied by Doctor Loomis. In 1978 he escapes from the hospital and comes back to the town where he murdered his sister to commit more violent crimes. Coincidently this, again, happens on Halloween night. In the opening of a typical horror film, the audience expects to witness a dark, mysterious scene with disturbing music which usually involves a piano and an organ. These play in a series of high and low notes. In modern horror films, the instruments vary to give a more intense feel. The high striking notes are used to make the audience feel tense and often to make them jump. However, the low notes are a sign of danger and mystery. For example, when a villain comes into contact with the victim, high striking notes/music will be heard to scare the audience and add tension. ...read more.


It then focuses on bright orange pumpkin which is placed on the porch. The camera then creates a voyeuristic shot when it focuses on a couple inside the house. Once we see the camera quickly moving to the right, pad to the left, look up and down and then straight ahead, we are certain that this is a point of view shot. This gives an effect of urgency. The silence has not yet been broken. This adds much to the suspense. The camera, again, looks around the house before focusing onto the couple. This teenage couple show the predictable victims in a horror film. The audience may come up with assumptions that there is a stalker who is planning on killing the teenagers. Silence is soon broken when we hear the boyfriend ask, "We are alone aren't we?" The girlfriend then replies, "Michael's around someplace." At this moment, the audience realise that the village is not bewildered and that a boy named Michael is somewhere to be found. This adds mystery to the film. The couple then run up the stairs. The 'stalker' takes his chance to enter the house. He walks into the kitchen and turns on the light so that the room is brightly lit. Suspense and fear is heightened when a close up of a hand, whilst still maintaining a point of view shot, is seen reaching out to take a knife from the right hand side of the frame. ...read more.


The camera continues to zoom out into a high angle on the house. In conclusion, many features of this film reveal it to be of the horror genre. For example, the use of typical colours associated with horror, such as red, black, orange and yellow. Also, in Halloween, the director has used predictable teenage victims. However, Halloween was one of the first horror films to create such a dramatic twist of the villain being a young boy. Many directors have taken ideas from Halloween and adapted on them in their own films. This film successfully keeps the audience in suspense by concealing the identity of the stalker and also creating a twist to shock the audience. The lighting in this film plays a key part in establishing the genre. A few examples to show this are that only the house was lit whilst everything else in the frame was left in darkness. Another example is when Michael walks up to his sister's room where the only light is the one on the dressing table which illuminates her. Light is used to symbolise danger. Technology has much improved over the years so I would say modern horror films are a lot scarier compared to older horror films because they look more realistic. However, the narratives have probably been influenced and adapted from Halloween. For example, The Blair Witch Project's use of point of view shot shows this influence. In addition, Halloween is referenced by other more recent films. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous 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 GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. How does the director Steven Spielberg use filmic techniques to build suspense and tension ...

    This signifies more danger and more chance of death. As Brody sits and examines the beach, false alarms occur to develop this pattern in the film. The yellow lilo is prominent in this scene as a shot of the lilo going out is concluded later in the film with a shot of a ripped up version of the lilo.

  2. How does Reginald Rose establish and maintain a sense of tension in Twelve Angry ...

    These alliances are a focal point of the play and they contribute huge amounts to the tension. As each ballot is called, the numbers on each side change and so do the rivalries within the group. Juror 7, for instance, seemed convinced that the boy was guilty until he is eventually persuaded otherwise.

  1. To what extent does 'Unbreakable' conform to the conventions of the superhero film genre?

    His large 'Afro' hairdo also contributes to this effect. In addition to Price there is the minor 'soldier villain' - the orange suited maintenance man. This is also typical of superhero films, as there are regularly two villains - one who fights with his hands, in this case the maintenance man, and one who fights with his mind, such as Elijah Price.

  2. How are the conventions of the horror genre used in the opening sequence of ...

    This is a significant contrast to the traditional horror genre as the usual convention of the stereotypical 'haunted' house is replaced instead by a modern, suburbanised house within a bustling city. The effect of this? To stress to the audience that the horror genre too can move with the times.

  1. How does Reginald Rose establish and maintain a sense of tension in Twelve Angry ...

    Juror 10 adds his own views, claiming, derogatorily, that people who "crawl outta those places" are real trash. The 5th juror interjects and mentions the fact that he himself came from a slum and nurses "trash" in Harlem Hospital six nights a week.

  2. A View From the Bridge

    The audience now realizes that a major event is going to occur between the two characters as a result of Eddie's behaviour. Because of this, the tension is now at an all time high as Eddie realizes Marco will do anything to defend his brother.

  1. Media Coursework - Teenage Dirtbag Music Video

    He smiles at them, either oblivious to the fact that they are mocking him - which would further perpetuate the stereotype that losers are naive and may believe people like them - or that he is trying to shrug off attempts to put him down.

  2. How Does The Director of Jaws Use Media Devices to Create Fear, Suspense & ...

    The sound of the strings could be related to the shark's heartbeat: as it gets nearer to its prey, it quickens and there is an extremely tense build-up at this moment. The biggest shock in the film is when the shark appears without any string build-up and the director, Steven

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