The Realist Horror Film Film Review by JPWrite

The Realist Horror Film
This paper examines the horror film genre, also known as realist horror, while focusing on two specific films, "The Blair Witch Project" and "Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer."
# 67674 | 2,818 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2006 | US
Published on Jul 13, 2006 in Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)

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This paper analyzes the realist horror genre in film. The realist horror genre was spearheaded by Alfred Hitchcock in his 1960 film "Psycho." Horror films proliferated throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s in Hollywood. Most of these films used comedy to portray killings, veering away from realism. The writer of this paper contends that the realist aspect of actual human killers is enough to leave lingering fears long after the viewing has ended. This paper focuses on this particular style of filmmaking, in which the approach is to focus on the killer rather than victim, resulting in terrifying the viewing audience. This well-researched paper notes the similarities and differences in "The Blair Witch Project" and "Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer." This paper describes how both films leave the viewer with a lingering thought and fear of the real world. Specifically, fear of the horrific possibilities. "Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer" is based on real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. The movie follows the daily life of Henry, beginning with aftermath shots of freshly murdered victims juxtaposed with images of Henry. This illustrates to the audience that Henry is indeed a bona-fide serial killer. "The Blair Witch Project" is a far cry from the typical slasher film. It uses an entirely different approach to realist horror. The film is shown as a documentary and the actors are not actors at all, but real victims captured on video.

From the Paper:

"The presentation style changes only during the murder scenes. The pictures are graphic and almost too gory to be real. One woman is seen with a bottle shoved into her throat and the electronics salesman's head goes through a television picture tube - just before the television is plugged in - electrocuting him. Background electric guitar is also present mostly during the build up to a murder. It is not overdone and avoids appearing out of place. Rather, it helps the viewer realize something important in happening. Overall the film does achieve a realism most slasher films cannot approach. This purposeful use of a home-movie style subtly reminds the viewer that the onscreen events are based in truth. Blair Witch takes the realist style one step further by using the camera as a prop in the film. The viewer is constantly reminded that an off-screen character is behind the lens."

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