Roxie Cody Film205 Video Essay

Script: The Horror genre has many iconic tropes and character types, this lends itself very well to parody and intertextuality. Filmmakers making postmodern horror films often will rely on intertextuality to critique the genre and subvert the audiences’ expectations (Magistrale…

Roxie Cody Film205 Video Essay

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Script: The Horror genre has many iconic tropes and character types, this lends itself very well to parody and intertextuality. Filmmakers making postmodern horror films often will rely on intertextuality to critique the genre and subvert the audiences’ expectations (Magistrale & Magistrale 172). This makes an increasing amount of modern American horror qualify as parody or pastiche films as they heavily draw on their predecessors in a way that either idolises or mocks them (Kościelski 135). In The Wicker Man (1973) a man named Sergeant Howie travels to the small town of Summerisle where he is fooled into taking part in a sacrificial ritual. The disturbing film shows the murder of a man who represents upholding the law, western values, and Christianity (Magistrale & Magistrale 175). The Wicker Man (1973) is similar to the narrative of Midsommar (2018) where the majority of group of American students are sacrificed in the Swedish countryside. These two folk horrors examine the fragility of masculine sexuality and power through their leading male characters. The films end in similar ways, with the outsiders to the pagan community burning alive within their sacrificial monuments. However, in Midsommar (2018) its leading lady Dani Ardor looks on as her emotionally distant boyfriend burns alive. This difference matters because Midsommar (2018) seems to reference The Wicker Man (1973) in this last scene then adds a postmodern feminist spin on it by having a passive Final Girl witness the horror and find peace while also not aligning herself with the cult. Scream was a pivotal film directed in 1996 that popularised intertextuality as it obviously alluded to previous classic Horror films of the era. The film uses intertextuality to communicate to the audience familiarity through a revised aesthetic and narrative characteristics (Pheasant-Kelly 149). The eighties were an influential and tone changing time for the horror genre (Kościelski 127) and this aesthetic of the ‘eighties’ movie has been recreated in dozens of films throughout the decades. Scream (1996) takes the pastiche route into horror intertextuality, as it appreciates where it comes from and considers the aesthetic devices (Pheasant-Kelly 150). While pastiche films tend to attempt to exist within the horror genre while also remaining their individual stories parody films are created to comment on the horror genre and its conventions (Jackson 11). In Edgar Wright’s film Shaun of the Dead (2004) a group of friends attempt to survive the start of the zombie apocalypse; it is hyper conscious of itself and plays with the audiences’ expectations to deliver both comedy and horror. For example, in the film the group of characters led by Shaun run into another group, as they pass eachother the audience realises that each character has a doppelganger in the other group. This is played as a joke but also parodies how horror movies generally has a cast of set characters, the leading man, his love interest, the inept character, the intelligent one, the family member, and the funny friend. Another self-aware film that mimics and critiques the horror genres conventions and narrative tendencies is The Cabin in the Woods (2018). They do this “simultaneously
asserting and denying genre structure and knowledge” (Jackson 12), this means that it still heavily associates with the horror genre while still exposing it from the inside. Intertextuality in pastiche and parody horror films communicates familiar conventions and tropes in order to both appreciate the genre while also perhaps critique an element of it. Intertextuality is useful in telling audiences important information as it arrives in the shape of easily understandable language of horror conventions.

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