Turning the Lovable into the Feared

In my trailer remix project I decided to turn The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009) into a horror/thriller movie. In the original film, one of the protagonists is a little bit strange, but ultimately a lovable character. However, there are scenes in which he acts unorthodox, which I was able to manipulate to make him look like a psychopath. The story of my remix is similar the the original’s: three friends wake up not remembering the previous night, but they are fearing for their lives while trying to piece their memories together.

The editing of The Hangover From Hell makes the film seem suspenseful by implementing classic horror genre  techniques. The types of images chosen for my trailer were meant to elicit emotion from the audience. Bernard Dick references Hitchcock while discussing how a close-up shot is imperative when trying to create suspense or emotion within a film. “The close-up is also a means of emphasis. Hitchcock found it ideal for objects like a suspicious glass of milk.” The audience wonders why the director chooses to focus an a seemingly innocuous object and paired with hair-raising audio the viewers grow uneasy about a common object. Furthermore, the Dick states “a close-up, for example, can reveal a particular emotion that a long shot might not capture.” In horror films and trailers, emotion is essential. The shots must show emotion of the characters to make the scenes believable in order to scare the audience.

Due to pre-established norms of horror films, when certain effects, shots, or images show up on screen audiences have preconceived notions about the trailer. Professor Marcel Danesi states “this ability is the reason why, over time, the human species has come to be regulated not by force of natural selection, but by “force of history,” that is, by the accumulated meanings that previous generations have captured, preserved, and passed on in the form of signs.” The use of unsettling images and close-ups on faces are historically involved in horror films; therefore, the audience expects the movie to thrill them if such principles are included in the trailer.

Furthermore, the transition from scene to scene in this trailer follows the same patterns as previously researched trailers. When suspense is building the transitions tend to fade dramatically. The longer the fade, the more dramatic the suspense. Alternately, when the action climaxes the cuts are rapid and there is little to no transition. Typically such a fast sequence pairs well with an audio track of similar tempo. I tried to create such an effect in my remixed trailer with a variety of images cut quickly with suspenseful background music.

I think the most challenging aspect of this project was the fact that I was unable to unlink two sets of audio from a scene. For example, if in the original movie there is a scene where the protagonists are talking and there is also music in the background I was unable to add audio to the scene.  Originally, I had a variety of scenes that had two sets of audio. I had to cut many of these scenes because they wouldn’t work in the scope of the trailer. Additionally, finding audio that matched my sequence was also difficult.  I wanted the soundtrack to elicit suspense but also create a chilling effect. It took me a substantial amount of time to find such a track. I recommend future students putting the clips together before adding audio. I tried to add different audio to each new clip I incorporated and this became too time consuming. Certainly starting early helps, but also asking for help saves a lot of time as well. Many people in the Communication Lab were able to help me with my various questions and saved me a lot of time tinkering on Premier.

Dick, B. (2002). Film, space, and image. In Anatomy of Film. Boston:

Bedford.Danesi, M. (2004). Messages, signs and meanings: A basic textbook of semiotics and communications. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.



This entry was posted in Blog #5. Trailer Remix, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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