Sunday, 18 November 2012

Editing in a sample stalk/slash scene

FOR THIS TASK YOU NEED TO REFER CLOSELY TO THE LIST OF TECHNICAL TERMS ISSUED AT THE START OF THE YEAR, AND ENDEAVOUR TO EMPLOY THE RELEVANT EDITING TERMS

The flushing toilet struck a bum note in 1960; it broke a taboo!
This task is a test of your ability to deconstruct a media text - just as you do in both your exam and coursework Evaluation (in that case, its actually reconstructing your own media language decisions). You should endeavour to employ not just editing terminology, but also terms linked to narrative, semiotics, the genre and general shot type denotation.
Its up to you whether you decide to present it as an extended blog post heavily illustrated with screenshots or as a captured video clip with your own voiceover replacing all or most of the original audio (you can also simply reduce the volume level of the original material). Aim to keep captured clips short so they stay within the spirit of the fair usage copyright doctrine.
If you're working on this when other classes are in K5, be mindful of the need not to expose younger students to unsuitable material.
The task then:

Select a slasher film.
Find one stalking/chasing scene and analyse the media language used, including mise-en-scene as well as editing/shot selection + variety, plus the role of sound - is the sound level constant or does the volume increase at points; if there is non-diegetic music, is it constant or does it come in and out?
Do the same for a killing scene. Especially for killing scenes its useful to specifically count the number of shots + note the length of the scene, which we can then compare notes on as a class.
Scream queens generally make a bad decision at some stage
Bearing in mind you have only around 2mins to work with, highlight key pointers you've picked up from this work.
You could pair up on this to compare/contrast 2 films, especially if you're looking at dissimilar types - eg the violence of Child's Play or Leprechaun's killer doll/dwarf are by necessity going to be quite distinct from films such as Halloween or Friday the 13th ... which themselves are a bit different from many others because Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees tend to lumber relentlessly along rather than run after their intended victims. 

As Scary Movie satirises to good effect, many slasher chase scenes require scream queens in particular to make some decidedly dumb choices; most also require a sense of isolation or confined physical space, from Laurie Strode in suburban houses through endless teens staying at Camp Crystal Lake, or the middle-class couple encountering savage youths in the English countryside of Eden Lake, to the Leeds girls who set sail on a boat and encounter a Donkey Punch.

Here's the grandaddy of them all, the quickfire editing of which set the template for the much more explicit and gory slasher killing scenes that would follow...

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