Willy Wonka & The Not Child Friendly Chocolate Factory

Based on Roald Dahl’s musical play,Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, has shaped children’s childhoods since 1971. The original hit musical movie is every child’s dream come true, to win a golden ticket to the top candy maker’s factory. Willy Wonka’s whimiscal factory is no ordinary candy factory in which there are entire rooms filled with nothing but candy. Originally the movie had a heart touching moral lesson of showing kindness no matter what one faces and sure enough one will be rewarded. However, in my recut trailer I had done away with the happy and heartwarming elements such as the musical numbers and the portrayal of each child’s happiness. Instead I strategically chose to include and manipulate elements and shots of the film to create a very suspenseful and horrific Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

Using Greg Smith’s genre codes as specific components displayed in a film to clearly indicate the genre, I chose to include certain elements that indicate horror. Many horror film trailers start off with a happy main character and establish a light carefree atmosphere. My trailer does this through the first 36 seconds in which an instrumental of “Pure Imagination” accompanies the scenes showing Charlie gleefully unwrapping his candy bar to reveal his golden ticket, the title slide showing “EVERY CHILD’S DREAM”, and Willy Wonka kindly greeting each child into his factory. The scenes in the first 30 seconds were kept in their original bright color palette in order to add to the overall light heartedness. Then, like many other horror trailers, the atmosphere changes with a sudden attention grabbing soundtrack and the atmosphere changes to be uneasy and frightful. The recut trailer does this at the next second when the typography appears on a black slide with “TURNED INTO THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE” and followed by many scenes in a darker blue and black color pallete showing the children suffering or upset, accompanied by an unnerving soundtrack.

Using some popular frightening soundtracks from online I chose to have one long uniform soundtrack for the majority the trailer. Through the frightful soundtrack I was able to establish a rhythm in which many scenes of the children being tortured and eventual implied death of Charlie. The soundtrack created rhythm works to increase the audience’s uneasiness with the drastic increasing pace of torture scenes until it climaxes and slows to Charlie innocently asking “What did we do wrong?” to which the pace picks up again and a scene implying his death is quickly shown. According to Danesi, and indexical symbol is a signifier that refers to something else in relation, in this trailer the screams placed at moments work to signal to a something terrifying is happening to the characters. To cap off an overall feeling of creepiness and fear I chose to make the last scene of a blank screen accompanied by an ominous and creepy line about saying goodbye.

The scenes of the trailer themselves are portrayed through montage and quick black screens to transition each scene. Upon watching various trailers in preparation for this project I found the quick transition screen of a montage of scenes worked best to effectively grab the audience’s attention. Bernard Dick explains the montage sequence shows a series of shots with a common theme or mood. The montage is used in the sense that the overall theme is Willy Wonka is out to potentially kill each child and therefore allows the audience to implicitly feel afraid of Willy Wonka and fear for the safety of each child. This theme is established through the many scenes showing the children suffering often accompanied by a menacing or threatening Wonka scene afterwards.  In fact I used the Kuleshov effect many times, such as when Willy Wonka is shown smiling in followed by a scene consisting of many characters shown to be in an intense state of fear as they see disturbing images before them.

Turning a classic children’s musical into a chilling suspenseful horror film is fun to some extent, but overall a tedious and time-consuming process. I chose to not alter the title from the original movie because I felt it did not need to be changed.A word to the wise for doing such a time committing project is to set aside a good day or two in your week to really sift out effective movie scenes. Other areas of difficulty included finding the right sound effects to fit each scene and the right soundtracks to create the two atmospheres.

Danesi, Marcel. “What Is Semiotics?” The Quest for Meaning: A Guide to Semiotic Theory and Practice. Toronto: U of Toronto, 2007. 27. Print.

Dick, Bernard F. “Film,space, Mise-en-Scene.” Anatomy of Film. New York: St. Martin’s, 1990. 64. Print.

Smith, Greg M. “Genre Schmenre.” What Media Classes Really Want to Discuss: A Student Guide. New York, NY: Routledge, 2011. 56. Print.

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