Elements of Horror – Don’t Look
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Elements of Horror – Don’t Look

-Hello! Anybody here? You’re walking down a dark corridor late at
night. It’s a path you always take, but for some
reason you can’t help but feel uneasy. You know it’s safe, you’re certain that there’s
no one else, but you find yourself expecting that something will jump out from the shadows
once you turn the corner. Part of you winces, not daring to look as
you’re about to turn… while your brain tells you that you’re being irrational, your imagination
can’t help but run wild. What if something is there? In today’s Elements of Horror, we would like
to analyse the frightening horror movie scenes that play with your expectations of what is
hiding in the darkness. The ones in which you tell yourself:
Don’t look. The horror movie genre has a lot of instances
where you know something bad is going to happen. From the start of a scene, our expectations
are built and guided towards the promise of a fright… And despite knowing this information, we still
fall victim to the scare. For some, this expectation is so palpable
that they close their eyes before anything is revealed. This fear is based on our agency-detection
mechanism. If we find ourselves in dark woods, a dark
alley, a dark corridor (even if it’s in our own house) and we hear an unknown sound or
presence, our self-preservation instincts will set off and we become hyper alert. Without knowing if there is a threat, we decide
to be ready for one. And it’s in this ambiguity where these scenes
thrive. We are given a suggestion that something might
happen, and we marinate in the uncertainty. It’s a like a Schrodinger’s cat of horror
where in this moment we are both safe and unsafe. -Nana…? So, what pattern could be used to create this
uncertainty? Well, we first have to establish the perspective. Who are we following? How much information is being presented on
the screen and who has access to it? Is the scare meant to be seen by the audience? The characters or both? Then, in comes the atmosphere. Is it calm, restrained, could you hear a pin
drop or is it chaotic and distracting? It doesn’t need to feel claustrophobic to
work; it just has to feel unsafe. As if the threat could come from anywhere
at any time. This is a good breeding ground for the mind
to wander. In The Shining we follow behind Danny’s perspective. We get to see everything he sees as he turns
into the empty hallways. So, if there is a scare, the audience and
the character will find out at the same time. Making every turn even more uneasy
In Hereditary, Peter wakes up on his bed in a dark room (being lit only by the moonlight
entering from the window) and he gets the feeling that something is wrong. Here, only the audience is allowed to see
what’s really happening, the tension comes from knowing the character is oblivious to
the imminent danger hanging over him. In Jaws, the characters are unaware of the
lurking threat. The beach goers are lost to their own enjoyment
while chief Brody is observing the water…worried he’s seconds away from an incident. Next is the build-up. How can these scenes make you feel worse? This can be done by prolonging it. Making the monster in your mind grow. You become alert to every sound: the wheels
from the tricycle, the beachgoers, the near silence of a room
-Mom… and your eyes are scanning, searching for
the possible area the threat can come from. Will it come from the left or the right? You are scared by the numerous possibilities
you’re presenting yourself. And then…
the reveal… It can be a rising crescendo, a slow realisation
or a succession of glimpses. This is where we can differentiate the good
horror movies from the bad ones. Can it deliver the promise of fright or is
it just empty suspense? The unmotivated solution would be to build
the expectation and then release it with a manipulative sharp sound or musical cue. This is the easy way out, but audiences are
now very aware of it’s overuse. It’s just a jolt, the same way hearing a car
alarm can startle you. Finally, the true mark of a great horror movie
is what happens after the reveal. When you’re shown something creepy and it
manages to transform it into something disturbing. -Hello Danny… The reveal of the twins is freighting but
it’s not enough to avert your gaze. This initial scare makes you fall into a certain
comfort zone, so you think the ride is over, and you drop your guard. Then you’re hit with the gruesome murder scene. It scares you when it knows it has your attention. Because the best horror movies know how to
divert your expectations, so they can trick you into looking at what you didn’t want to
see. This video is kindly sponsored by Squarespace
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code: Screened Thank you for taking the time to watch our
video. We invite you to like share and subscribe
if you haven’t done so yet. We really hope you enjoyed our second video
in our Elements of Horror series. We will be releasing two more short video
essays like this one analyzing very specific aspects of the horror genre in the month of October. Today’s musical composition was made by Eduardo
Gonzalez. If you like his work, you can find his information
down in the description. If you wish to support us so we can keep making
videos like this one, we invite you to check out our Patreon page. Until next time.

49 thoughts on “Elements of Horror – Don’t Look

  1. What horror movie scenes do you feel are the best at building suspense towards a fright?
    (For me it's The Shining hallway scene)

  2. You're walking in a dark corridor at night, its the path you always take..
    Then you hear a voice behind you
    "Its all ogre now"

  3. I always enjoy your videos thoroughly.. I want you to do an analysis of Terrence Malick's movies !! Can you do that brother .?

  4. I'd love to see an even more in depth break down of scares and how to make sure the audience is afraid of what's happening in the film and not the film itself. That's the issue I usually have with these sorts of setups is once I can feel them happening it pulls me out and I'm no longer engaging with the narrative or the characters but start being hyper analytical of the framing and the music so as to protect myself from being startled. In effect I'm not scared by what's happening in the film, I'm scared of the film startling me.

  5. at 3:00 I didn't see the second person, scared the absolute sh*t out of me when he said "Here, only the audience is allowed to see what's really happening." and I saw him.

  6. When I saw Hereditary in theaters, there was only a few other people for that showing, but when it got to the scene with Peter sitting on his bed and Annie in the corner, I didn't notice her until somebody in the theater whispered "holy shit". I looked around the screen and got the shit scared out of me when I finally noticed her.
    God, the fact that this movie got snubbed in every awards show is an absolute unforgivable crime

  7. …the best horror movies know how to divert your expections..so they trick you into looking at what you didn't want to see..

    But really, well played. I actually enjoyed the ad lead in because it tied to well into your point.

  8. These videos make me uneasy, and I'll tell you why. At around 4:16 when it said MUTE, I thought you were trying to say "Mute this because its loud.". Dippy me decided to panic and hit PAUSE just as that Darth Maul looking jerk's face ended up in the window.

    I swear I almost felt my heart stop at that one. Lol Good video though.

  9. So 2 of the 7 minutes of this video was to advertise crap and the rest was describing scenes in movies. Thanks for making the decision to unsubscribe so easy

  10. The lipstick face demon appearing next to Josh in insidious while the mom. Tells the dream she had about dalton

  11. Hey screened, you are doing great… also I appreciate that you post videos only when you have the proper amount of content and knowledge about the topic. Don't feel pressured and keep entertaining us with this amazing content of yours.

  12. If I hear a loud shrill or some retarded screeching violin, I walk out and get my money back. Cheap jump scares and horrid instrument playing ruins any movie labeled as "horror", there are times this is effective – but my god it is overused to the point of boredom.

  13. you so good at this
    seriously you are great storyteller
    and special thanks for leaving source link

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