Horror films bring out the emotions in a person by using tension to instigate fear and horror. These films use the unknown, mystery, suspense, and even aggression to bring tension to the viewer. They try to feed of your emotions to draw you in and then boom scare you with the unexpected. The use of shot dynamic and music/sounds greatly influence the flow of any scene and can change the mood. Just the simplest thing such as splitting a scene from one long cut to several short cuts of at different angles can bring a calming heartwarming atmosphere to a tense climatic scene.
Throughout the many horror trailers, there seems to be a set style and format to them to relay their message. For example they all seem to last around two minutes to about two minutes and twenty seconds in which the suspense in each clip gradually builds up. Though the shortest one is about a minute long and the longest is no longer than 2 minutes. Anything that lasts longer will probably lose the audience’s curiosity. The length of the clip also impacts the pacing of the trailer. The really short trailers, about a minute, such as The Wicked use the limited time to show the intenseness of the film by employing numerous cuts flashing back and for that escalate quicker than the longer trailers. The pacing of most horror trailers usually starts off slow in order to introduce characters and gradually builds up with increased cuts, shorter shots, and gradual intense music. By revving up the cuts in a scenes the trailer is able to make the production seem more intense. With the use of progressively shorter shots the trailer is able to portray the anxiety of the characters in the film.
Music and sounds in the trailers can be utilized to bring more impact and can change a scene dramatically based on its tone and tempo. In horror trailers, they generally start out quiet and slow to the point the view can barely hear the song. The music gets fast as the trailer progress and crescendos to be have a greater effect on creating the scenes. A lot of the instruments used, contain sounds that resonate with deep impactful tones to add to the eeriness. Besides music sounds can be used to influence the viewer and convey meaning. Like music, noises are able to convey a meaning such as express a villain stabbing and killing characters. The act may not be actually seen but the noise of flesh being punctured symbolizes the act that a viewer fills in with their imagination. In these scenes the viewer may almost want to see what is happening but can’t which puts them on edge as they try to imagine what is happening. By utilizing sounds and music the composer can influence the atmosphere present in the scene and express action.
For the recuts that revolve around the horror genre implement similar aspects of horror trailers. They use scenes of violence or fighting among the cast, complimented music, and smart cuts to convey the horror genre. Unlike some of the horror trailers these recuts used few words and avoided narration to tell the story. With the use of cuts from the film and music each of the recuts were able to tell a story and imply a horror-ish type genre to it. Most of the scene used had little to no lip movement and if they did the character voice was used which generally had a confrontational tone to it. The use of music and clever cuts is essential to any film and can dramatically change the scene.
Unlike the other two recuts Toy Story’s recut uses a narration voiceover, it is not something that is required to create a horror trailer. The voiceover only adds to the recut, it in itself is basically the equivalent of suspenseful music. In both the horror trailers and the recuts, narration was usually not done by an outside narrator but through the actions and words of the cast themselves. Usually the narrator takes away from the suspense of the film by sort of breaking the fourth wall and drawing the viewer away from the tension that is trying to be built by the scene and music. There are times that it can add to it but typically when narration is done its for comedic purposes.
By utilizing both the shot and the noise, any scene can be amplified into anything. These aspects of the trailer in the case of horror films draw the viewer in as it slowly builds the tension. Then suddenly the intense feeling is gone as the trailer goes silent. This happens often in horror trailers to show the viewer that the film is able to convey heavy emotions and then leave you satisfied at the end by elevating the tense feeling.
Trailers: Ratter, Some Kind of Hate, The Wicked, It Follows, Detention, Solo, Girls Against Boys, Teenage Diary,
Recut: Step Brothers (comedy to horror), Mean Girls (Teen comedy to horror), Toy Story (Children’s Movie to horror)