First, I will intend to take you on a brief journey through the horror genre and the conventions that have been associated with this type of film. Second, I will show you how these conventions are used in Spielberg’s Jaws (1975). To get started, we are going to investigate the first era or as it was called, the silent era. This era was based on monsters such as Frankenstein (1910), Dracula (1912) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). These black and white horror films were all about the make-up and the clever use of lighting, to add their thrills and chills. The first conventions that we see are the ‘revealing of the monsters’ and the use of ‘isolated houses’ where the monsters are based, this shows the isolated aspects. This left audiences feeling panicky and unnerved. These films had to rely on the music, yet they still lack the big horror genre fear factor. Through the talkies (1930s-1940s) little changed, they still had the monsters, the same monsters, the same storylines, but the Atomic Phase of the 1950s soon made its impact. Sci-fi and hammer movies took centre stage, Godzilla (1954) and The Blob (1958) were hug box office hits because the films grabbed the audience attention as they were based at nuclear war as science was really important then.
From here horror moved on to the witchcraft and the undead, films such as Peeing Tom (1960) and The Night of Dead (1990). New films brought with them new conventions. Zombie films trapped the audience, where claustrophobic attack scenes where a key feature. Zombies travelled closer towards the audience and crowded camera leaving the audience terrified. Horror finally became horror we know today, with the slasher movie era. Horror films became more r...
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...ie but more like a thriller. Compared to the horrors that we have reviewed, with all the blood and gore special effects and now 3D, it’s nothing like the horror genre today. Compared to the Final Destination 3D, Jaws is not even scary.
One of Spielberg techniques is to keep secrets. The first attack happens at night so no one will find out. The shark attack then kept a secret from the beach goers. This shows that the audience know what is going to happen, then the people on the beach that was a shock to them.
In my opinion Spielberg, Jaws is very good at creating suspense and delivering shocks but is it a horror? Are there enough conventions to make it a horror? In my opinion there isn’t enough conventions as there is hardly any blood, there is only little bit from the shark attack. I think this film is more thrilling then horrifying. What do you think?
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