The horror genre remains very popular with cinema audiences even nowadays because the special effects today make creatures look even more terrifyingly realistic and it also means that you can film stunts or scenes like somebody turning into a werewolf for example, much more easy to film and much more effective. An example of a modern horror film that consists of very effective special effects is ‘Underworld’ that makes use of computer generation to make some impressive transformation scenes. The advances in technology give modern horror films an edge over classics and a modern audience expects a lot more from a horror film nowadays.
Modern horror films consist of old and new tricks of filming to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. They consist of much more varied and clever plots and storylines. Re-workings of older horror films are filmed with the view to appeal to a modern audience and the audience go to see these horror films with an expectation of what they think will happen and the good thing about horror films is they can have plot twists and unexpected events occurring throughout the film. We watched two extracts from the film adaptations of two Gothic horror novels, Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ and Kenneth Brannagh’s ‘Frankenstein’.
We analysed these two scenes and then compared them to the written extracts. The two scenes we looked at are the creation scene from ‘Frankenstein’ and Harker’s journey to Dracula’s castle and his first meeting with Dracula from ‘Dracula’. For this assignment I will be analysing the mise-en-scene and iconography of both scenes, the use of camera shots, lighting, sound, costume, props and colour. I will be looking at how the directors of these two films have adapted them from the text and also at how they attempted to make the film more appealing to a modern audience. FRANKENSTEIN Film Extract: The Creation Scene
A wide variation of props were used in this scene. There were scientific props such as test tubes, cylinders, electric circuits and surgical instruments that add to the realism and the horror, particularly the surgical instruments. A large copper tank in the shape of a sarcophagus could be seen and that reminds us of the dead creature inside and reinforces the horror element. A pulsating sack of electric eels hanging down above the tank that makes you disgusted, as it is unpleasant. The huge interest in electricity at the time this novel was set in could be told from these props.
The scene is set in Dr. Frankenstein’s vast attic and is full of all his various pieces of equipment, which makes us realize the size of his experiment and how seriously he took it. It is a conventional setting for a horror movie as the attic is often the place where all the secret going-ons occur. The music of this scene is orchestral polyphonic music at a dramatic fast pace when Dr. Frankenstein is starting the experiment adding to the feeling of frenzied activity. It changes pace and even stops for the parts where you are expecting something to happen to emphasize that bit e. g.
the thump of the hand against the tank window and the sound of the ambiotic fluids. The music slows down near the end of the scene and goes sad and melancholic to reflect Dr. Frankenstein’s feelings of misery and despair. There are a lot of diegetic sounds in the film, for example the crackling of the electric eels and the electricity that is typical of a Frankenstein creation scene. At the beginning of the scene, a wide variation of sounds like banging and clinking were used to add to the feeling of frantic action. Also, some emphasized sounds to make the audience jump were used effectively, like the thump of the hand against the tank.
A loud bang was used when the weight on the pulley hits the monster on the head and there was also sound effects that emphasize the horror, designed to make the audience cringe like the sound of the electric probes going into the corpse. The colours in this scene are a limited palette that consists generally of muddy brown (sepia) tones. This gives the film a grimy, gloomy, dull, old look that is typical of the time the film is set in and the films genre as horror films are often supposed to look gloomy and miserable. The only flashes of clear colour is the blue electricity.
There is clever costuming in this scene. Robert De Niro, who plays the creature, is sewn into a body suit that looks scary and realistic. It had motley coloured skin that was loose on the body and puckered. The monster had a vacant expression and plenty of scars and stitches that repulse the audience and remind us that the monster has been constructed from more than one dead body. Dr. Frankenstein wears a period costume and has a bare torso because he was hot from the hard work of performing the experiment. The scene started very dramatically with the cloak billowing out behind Dr.