Film genres are various forms or identifiable types, categories, classifications or groups of films that are recurring and have tend to have similar patterns, filmic techniques or conventions – that include one or more of the following: settings (and props), content and subject matter, themes, period, plot, central narrative events, motifs, styles, structures, situations, recurring icons (e. g. , six-guns and ten-gallon hats in Westerns), characterizations, and stars. Some film’s nowadays are even made of more than one genre and therefore has a hybrid genre.
Film genre offers a way for the television and film industries to control the tension between similarity and difference inherent in the production of texts. Genres are made, not born. Arguably they serve the institution – viewers tune in to television shows, or see films that they expect will be enjoyable. These expectations are created by genre. If, for example, a viewer likes westerns, a preview with men on horses riding into the sunset will immediately beckon them. The studios are following a time-tested formula for success.
I do agree with the statement because I think that genre arouses the expectations of an audience as they will have a good idea of the conventions, narratives, language and codes that are commonly used in other films of the same genre. Common generic conventions of the horror genre could be the use of heavy chiaroscuro, oblique camera angles and close-ups, which were all to be found first Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). This has been named “the grandfather of all horror’s”.
Once these codes and conventions are made, other productions are extremely likely to incorporate the ideas, especially if they proved successful. It has been argued that Nosferatu fulfills an audiences voyeuristic needs and I believe many films after also play on this- especially Peeping Tom (1960). Mr. Powell, and his screenwriter, Leo Marks, created it to prove to what extent someone is capable of watching things they shouldn’t watch. At the same time, Mr. Powell created a psychological essay about what makes Mark Lewis, the central character of the film, act the way he acted.
Mark had been scarred for life thanks to what his father did to him during a period of his growing years that formed his character into the reclusive man who feels at home doing the despicable crimes he commits. Audiences would prepare themselves for a film usually by its genre. When viewing Peeping Tom, I think the audience would know that some characters will undoubtedly get killed and there will be a chilling malefactor to startle them and shake up their inner fears. Genre needs to arouse the expectations of an audience otherwise they will be disappointed and the film would not be a success.
Also, most viewers know what genres they like and those that they do not. Therefore, when going to see a romantic comedy, for example, it would be very disappointing to notice that it contains more elements from the horror genre. In Peeping Tom, Mark tells Helen how he kills his victims, using the sharpened leg of his camera tripod while focusing a mirror on their faces so that they can see their own fear. Realizing he cannot escape, Mark secures his camera to the wall to film his own suicide.
The police discover him dead, stabbed like the others – the room filled with the long ago tape-recorded sound of his father telling him not to be frightened. Similarly to this is the true-life story of “killer doctor” Harold Shipman. The Daily Mail produced a 9-page article and the narrative is disturbingly alike to Peeping Tom. Just like Mark, Harold looks very normal (a trusted doctor), not like the usual, disfigured, terribly ugly malefactor who is rejected from society. An official report concluded he killed between 215 and 260 people over a 23-year period in Hyde and Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
Harold Shipman was the UK’s most prolific convicted serial killer, but always denied his crimes. The picture of him on the front is placed asymmetrically on a black background; this is a common generic convention for the horror genre and also, the use of the colour red in the 3 boxes on the front page is. Red in horror films usually signifies blood, anger and death. The black background could be symbolizing the darkness of his immoral events. Harold Shipman almost looks smug in the picture, as if he got his way in the end and cheated justice.
He took his own life just like Mark did in Peeping Tom. A further 2 pictures show Harold when he was younger, where it all went wrong. This is very similar to Mark as he show’s himself as when he was younger and relates his problems back to then, like the Daily Mail has done. “The mummy’s boy who had to play God one last time” – I feel this title is strongly linked to the Freudian perspective and it is almost like the mother is being blamed for her son’s sins. This can be applied to the father of Mark too, in the respect that his childhood resulted in his terrible evil acts.
I believe that genre arouses the expectations of an audience, as the viewers know what normally happens in a media test of a particular genre. If you know that a film is of the sci-fi genre, you will most likely expect futuristic technology, aliens and spaceships! From looking at different media texts such as the article of Harold Shipman, and the two film’s- Peeping Tom and Nosferatu- I feel it is very clear that generic codes and conventions are expressed to deliver to the audience, the experience they were prepared for to avoid disappointment.