Sunday, 20 March 2011

Evaluation Question Two

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

With our main character we originally planned to challenge the conventions of horror by using a final girl rather than a scream queen, however feedback we received was that we focused too much on her body in some sections of our opening and it was suggested that we change her to a scream queen. We are still challenging some of the conventions of a scream queen because although she is a sexy and seductive ‘damsel in distress’ she is shy and reserved. Ellie wears tight, revealing clothes that show off her body. It is noticeable that she is wearing make up and has done her hair, showing she makes an effort with her appearance. We have included her as part of Laura Mulvey’s (a feminist critic) theory of including women for ‘male gaze’. She is still very innocent and rather studious but she is also a brunette which is not expected in a stereotypically blonde scream queen. This makes her a countertype. I would compare her to Mandy Lane in ‘All the boys love Mandy Lane'.

Jamie Lee Curtis: scream queen archetype for her roles in horror movies such as; Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978), The Fog (John Carpenter, 1980), Prom Night (Paul Lynch, 1980) and Terror Train (Roger Spottiswoode, 1980)

We are also including a mild scream queen, Abi, a blonde girl who is the first to disappear when the group are in the woods. Her character is outgoing and inquisitive and it is when she goes off on her own that she is killed.

Two extras have been used but they were not based on any particular character roles from existing texts because they are not the focus of the film and their parts are very brief as they are killed in the woods along with Abi.

We have used mainly stereotypes of our character but countertypes also feature. I am very happy with our choices because it is obvious enough to appeal to fans of the horror genre however it also changes it slightly which some people may prefer. One movie critic, Anne Billson from the Guardian feels that this particular genre of films has become rather predicable. In Friday 4th March 2011 newspaper she wrote an article on ‘The Resident' (2011, Antti Jokinen) starring Hilary Swank. She commented

“I think we can guess what happens: there will be running, and screaming, and disposable supporting characters will duly be disposed of in a rehash of Crawlspace-meets-Silver. But I am sure at the same point Swank will strip down to her vest… anything than just another terrorised female, please.”

Some of the things we would like to change next time to make the representations more obvious would be when they are in the woods have them wear more revealing clothes but the filming time we had available and the weather on the day meant that it was very cold so it was not practical to dress like this. Another thing is to have more extras making an appearance in the opening, including males to suggest more of a party with drinking and hinting at a sexual dimension. However this was not practical because we didn’t have enough time to kill everyone off in the opening to set up the rest of the film accurately.

Our film is most representative of older teenagers, mainly girls. We chose our characters to be teenagers due to the fact that Jess and I are teenagers ourselves and it was easy to the find the people to be included in our opening because we could ask around our friendship groups. By using actresses of this age, it would allow our target audience to engage with them further and be able to relate to what was happening in our production. We have also used an all female cast which keeps our target audience wide. Visually they attract a male audience because they are very pretty and are a bit of ‘eye candy’, wearing some very revealing or very little clothing at some points. However equally it appeals to a female audience because they can relate to what the group is doing. We have stereotypically used a female cast because they are expected to be more passive, physically weaker than the men and are an easy victim that needs rescuing by their handsome male hero. Our opening is lacking male characters which would secure a wider audience for both genders. We had planned to use a male as a boyfriend for one of the girls, which would also bring in aspects of heterosexuality, however on the day of filming our actor was unable to attend filming so we had to change our ideas slightly.

Our production includes a purely Caucasian cast however this was not intentional. Due to the demographics of our school and where we live, finding an ethnic variety of people to cast was not possible. I do not think that this aspect will narrow the target audience of our film as many existing films are not commercially suffering from this. Also, because of where our school is located we have used actresses from Northern England. We could possibly be at a disadvantage with this because of the many preconceptions that people from Yorkshire receive from people around the country which could result in lower box office sales. However in our film the regional accent is a positive thing because it signifies that they are in a rural and isolated area, reinforcing the fact that there is no one around to save them. It could also signify that they are unsophisticated and relatively poor.

Another aspect of our film that has been heavily influenced by the area we live in is the socio-economic grouping. Our actresses are all middle class.

None of our actresses that are in the film opening have a physical disability so there is no representation of this category in the film. This was not planned discriminatively, Jess and I just felt it wouldn’t have fit into our plot very well. Also casting would have been a problem in the time we had available because we do not know anyone of a suitable age who would fit into the role.

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