Film studies genre response; Horror
Steven Spielberg’s high-concept film Jaws, terrified an entire generation out of the water. The film has an excellent grasp on the conventions associated with the horror genre, its gory pretence furthered by Spielberg’s use of music, editing and framing.
Horror films have been evolving since their initial popularization in the 1930s, the genre simultaneously delighting and frightening audiences. The blatant purpose of such films is to elicit fear within the viewer; however throughout the years the way in which this is achieved has altered slightly. Initially horror films relied solely on the use of lighting to create mood and suspense, something which is still widely used today. Shadows and darkness are generally responsible for evoking a sense of foreboding within the viewer; this can also be drawn on by orchestral scores. This is why music also plays a vital role in the Horror Genre; it contributes to mounting suspense and is often responsible for release of this tension. Another characteristic of Horror films is the way in which they are edited. A perfect example of an editing technique used in horror is sequences where shots are cut between the implied ‘victim’ and the suspected ‘perpetrator’. During these sequences the time that it takes to cut between the characters is lessened over time, building up momentum as the characters get closer to one another. Eliciting tension and fear in the viewer. The intention behind the combined effect of all horror elements is to create an atmosphere in which the viewer feels insecure, and thus susceptible to danger. In ‘Jaws’ Spielberg stays close to the conventions of the genre, teaming gore and suspense to facilitate his masterfully crafted thriller. The film does, however derive inspiration from other genres including action and briefly; comedy, though it is the petrifying shark which ultimately defines the movie.
The movie ‘Jaws’ has long been associated with its...