John Carpenter’s and Wes Craven’s Scream

I am carrying out an analysis of the opening scene of John Carpenter’s Halloween and Wes Craven’s Scream. The analysis will include characters, dialogue, setting, storyline and film language between the two films. The two films both use the horror film convention of a young female as their victims. The women in Halloween isn’t scared at all and is more concerned about making sure that her brother doesn’t see her naked. A convention in horror films is that women usually get killed before or after they have had sex and Halloween follows this same sort of rule.

Where as in Scream she is in a normal situation which makes the audience more scared because it shows that it can happen to anyone. Also in scream the killer is tormenting her over the phone by ringing her up lots of times, but at first it is okay because he is flirting with her but after a while he starts to give her threats such as killing her boyfriend and it starts to get sinister. With the first two phone calls Casey’s response shows us that she is quite clever because she deals with the phone calls sensibly by saying “wrong number” to the first phone call and not telling him her name.

Also in scream, Wes Craven doesn’t show the killer until late in the first scene which makes the audience more interested and anxious to know what the killer looks like. Like Scream Halloween also doesn’t show the killer until late in the scene and disguise the killer as an adult by the camera being of an adults point of view shot and we only find out at the end of the scene that the killer is an child. In Halloween the killer is a small boy in a clown’s outfit (the costume of a clowns outfit might be because some people are scared of clowns).

Whereas in Scream the killer is very calculating and is wearing an outfit that is out of a painting called ‘The Scream’ by Edward Munch which is all about a man is despair ( the reason why he is in this outfit is because it hides the killers face and makes people more scared). In Scream the killer uses ideas from previous horror films and follows their conventions to get to his victims. In Halloween it is set in a normal house and at night time (stereotypical) and this makes you feel like it can happen to anyone. I am now going to talk about the camera angles.

In Scream it starts by showing us inside an ordinary house and then shows us a shot of the house to show that it is a night, a big house and in the middle of nowhere (stereotypical). Then the camera focuses on her playing with a knife while talking on the phone and this make the audience feel uneasy. After the 3rd phone call there are lots of close-up shots to show her fear when the killer makes threats, also there is a tracking shot to show the audience that she is running through the house and to create tension.

Whereas in Halloween the camera shows us a long shot of the house which goes around the house to make it seem like something bad is about to happen. For most of the scene, we see an adult’s point of view shot walking around the house. It is not until later on in the scene, that we discover it is not actually an adult but a child. The way they present the child at the end is by having a reverse zoom, showing the child’s parents and the house which shocks the audience. Both films are a horror/slasher film and Scream has a sub-genre of pastiche.

Sub-genre means it is not the main genre of the film but the film slightly fits into a another genre (comedy, pastiche). Pastiche means an imitation of something (sometimes takes the Mickey (mocks) the original). Both of the films are aimed at teenagers. Wes Craven took a risk on making the film Scream because this type of film was unpopular at the time but it had a huge advertising campaign and in the end the film was successful. Halloween was also a risk because it didn’t have much money and in the end it was a big success from not much money.

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