Hi, I'm an AS Media student, and this blog contains research into the different aspects of film and media, specializing in the Slasher genre. The research has all been put towards the development of my coursework production 'Camp Ivy', which I co-produced with Poppy and Millie. Our coursework has been influenced by the rural locations and mise-en-scene in Friday the 13th and Eden Lake.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Narrative Representations

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Marcus Nispel, 2003)
The start of this opening goes against Todorov's theory of equilibrium as he said that we should start with equilibrium, encounter a disruption of this equilibrium (dis-equilibrium) and then solve this by creating a new equilibrium. The film starts off with images of a crime scene and police officers, which signifies dis-equilibrium. We then go to equilibrium as we view the 5 main characters, which is not the order in which Todorov suggested it should be.
  Carole Clovers theory of the final girl is also reflected. The first character the camera fully focuses on has brunette hair and appears to be the sensible one out of the group. This character is the stereotypical final girl, used in many slasher films. However, she appears to have a relationship with one of the boys in the group, which goes against the stereotypical final girl character, who, in Clover's book, supposedly does not have a boyfriend. We then see people in the back kissing. Both the boy and girl are blonde, which signify that these characters are most likely dumb, and sexually active. The girl is the stereotypical scream queen, which is the binary opposite of the final girl character - the theory of binary opposition was created by Levi-Strauss. The boy could also be known as the 'scream king'. 
   Within the group, there is a character who is framed as 'the other'. He wears glasses and is nerdy and appears to be the only character within the group to not be in some kind of relationship which signifies he is different. He appears to be the annoying one, who the others do not like very much which therefore means the audience do not empathize very much with him. 

In this opening, we see a teen girl who appears to represent Clover's final girl character. She is introduced to the film holding school books as she is babysitting, which is how the final girl is signified; being academic. However, she does not have brunette hair like stereotypical final girls do. Instead, she has ginger hair, which confuses the audience as we do not know if she is a final girl character or a scream queen, despite common scream queens being 'non academic' and hating school. The girl is then having a phone call to someone and is talking about a boy. She first appears on screen holding books, but seems to be more interested in talking to someone about 'Bobby'. This confuses the audience even more, because the stereotypical final girl is either single or is not interested in boys. This character is polysemic, meaning she could be the non stereotypical final girl or scream queen.
   We also see reflection Todorov's theory of equilibrium, as the film begins with a regular day to day event of a teenager babysitting. The equilibrium begins to be disrupted as continuous phone calls are passed through, from an unknown character, who is signified to be the antagonist as he is suggesting something is wrong. 

The first character is a blonde woman. Her blonde hair signifies she is the scream queen of the film. As well as having the stereotypical appearance of a scream queen, she is home alone, which is a common signifier of the slasher genre. We learn that the girl has a boyfriend, which is also anchorage to signify she is the scream queen figure. Equilibrium is portrayed at the very start as well, as the girl is simply preparing popcorn and is on the phone, although she does not know that the man she is talking to is the killer. As she begins to realise, the equilibrium becomes disrupted. This is another example of Todorov's theory being applied to a slasher film. 
   Barthes' theory of narrative engima is also applied to the opening. To begin with we only hear the voice and don't see the physical body. When we do see the killer, he is wearing a mask, so we still do not entirely know who it is and what their motive is. 

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