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Review the film

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Introduction

Review the film "Dracula, Prince of Darkness" (Hammer 1965). Analyse the conventions of the horror genre as they appear in the film, and comment on how they create dramatic tension. Horror has been a popular genre over the last 200 years. People enjoy reading gothic novels and watching horror films because it injects excitement into their lives. This may be because generally life is safer and people may find it mundane; horror gives people a thrill and knowing you're in safe surroundings lets you know you're going to be ok after the short time you are being entertained. Writers like Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe have all been popular horror authors, however, the first great gothic novel was 'Mysteries of Udolpho' written by Anne Radcliffe in 1794. Then, film was invented and 'Nosferatu' was the first horror film made by the Germans. This then encouraged more films to be made and they have become increasingly more popular. Recently in films technical advances have made films more realistic because people's expectations are becoming greater, we want to believe what we see is real. We watched Dracula, Prince of Darkness made by Hammer in 1965 and have studied the conventions and techniques as they appear in the film and in this essay it will be about the effect of them on the audience, how they generate pleasurable fear. ...read more.

Middle

The lighting and camera shots are a good way of generating fear for the audience. When the camera just focuses on a person's face where the light is shining down or if there is a camera shot and then someone suddenly appears. Make up and costume is important because that can tell the audience about the character. Then makers of Dracula used red, gothic print for the title at the beginning to increase drama. The film was set in a castle which is used in scary films because they can be found creepy. There are a few scenes which may make the audience feel tense for example, when we meet the group of individuals and they ignore the expert, this tells us something is going to go wrong because the expert is usually right. When the group are driven to there destination the coach driver refuses to carry on the journey towards the castle, this is a warning to the characters but they don't realise this. Helen is a character who moans quite a lot, she isn't stupid so when she is warning the group about the place they are staying at and says she is frightened but they pay no attention to this as they are used to her moaning they think nothing of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lighting becomes dimmer and there are several close up shots for dramatic effect. Then the camera focuses on Dracula's eyes and zooms in as they get redder. The end scene involves Charles and Diana trying to kill Dracula. There happens to be a large area of ice and Dracula and Charles end up fighting on there, Charles manages to get away from it and uses a gun to make hols in the ice because he knows Dracula can't survive in running water. He falls through and the film finishes with Dracula drowning but no one knows if he is dead. So there may be a sequel. After watching this film, you can see how the technical side of it has improved greatly. The special effects are much better and the film isn't very realistic, however at the time it was made people would have been satisfied with them standards. The reason why people like to watch horror films or read horror books is because they want excitement and they know they are in safe surroundings. I didn't like Dracula, Prince of Darkness because I am used to watching better quality films but I think it had a good storyline and if it was made now it would be successful. I wouldn't watch it again or a sequel but some people may enjoy it. Keeley Wells ...read more.

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