Genre guidelines

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Genre guidelines

Post by DoctorKaren » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:25 pm

What do we think about the distinction between a horror and a thriller?
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Genre guidelines

Post by daveroughcut » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:37 pm

Thriller involves the threat of death without the follow through. Horror goes all the way.

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Genre guidelines

Post by MaxRenn » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:31 am

Is Thriller a genre? I don't think so, it's a term used to describe everything from North By North West to Fatal Attraction to Lethal Weapon. Not a massive amount of crossover between those films.

Often it's just what filmmakers and marketing depts call a film when they are too embarrassed to call it horror. Remember the tagline for Scream? "The new thriller from Wes Craven"
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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by MaxRenn » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:10 am

Generally I would take "thriller" to denote a plot where suspense, excitment and narrative momentum are the primary concerns. That works across genre, so you can have horror thrillers, comedy thrillers, SF thrillers, and so on. I really don't think there can be a generic distiction between horror and thriller, because I don't personally think thiller denotes genre, but rather a mode of narrative storytelling.
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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by maxmum » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:15 am

daveroughcut wrote:Thriller involves the threat of death without the follow through. Horror goes all the way.
Oooo good answer.

Made the thread a bit short but hey :lol:
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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by Kris » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:30 pm

Thriller is a tad generic, surely its any film where the ending isn't always obvious?

It is for me quite a weak word and doesn't give anything away about the type of film I am about to see
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Genre guidelines

Post by daveroughcut » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:57 pm

maxmum wrote:
daveroughcut wrote:Thriller involves the threat of death without the follow through. Horror goes all the way.
Oooo good answer.

Made the thread a bit short but hey :lol:
It's a bit simple but yeah BURIED = thriller but SAW = horror. At least in my view of movie distribution pigeonholing.

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Genre guidelines

Post by Conojito » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:00 pm

First post on the forum, so excuse me for just jumping in...

I think the lines can become blurred. Silence Of The Lambs is a police procedural and a horror all in one. Likewise, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was shown at Frightfest a couple of years back as a thriller for horror fans. I'd argue that some of Argento's early giallos (certainly The Bird With The Crystal Plumage) are as much detective story as horror.

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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by Kris » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:17 am

I don't see saw as horror, I just see it as something i'd class as extreme
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Genre guidelines

Post by daveroughcut » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:31 am

For movie distribution purposes, where would you find SAW in HMV?

I had a discussion with my friend who felt many Frightfest movies were not Frightfest movies such as The Girl With... Territories, Rubber, Hobo etc. regardless of their merits as good movies. I asked him to define a Frightfest movie to with he replied that the most simplistic definition would be a film that gives you a fright. I countered that the definition of a Frightfest film is one chosen by 3 men to be shown at their film festival. Sometimes Frightfest becomes a mis-nomer but Varied Genre Oddities Fest does not work the same.

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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by DoctorKaren » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:59 pm

Because I am anal...

The Film Studies Dictionary classes a thriller as a "loose genre term referring to any film that generates suspense and excitement as a major aspect of its narrative..." The description goes on to say how it is generally considered an adjunct to other genres.

Think the distinction may be between the cannonised definition and how people choose to see it.
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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by Mr Bill » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:17 pm

I think we might be agonising over the wrong two words, Horror and Thriller are not comparable, Horror is something a film (or book or whatever) is, while Thriller is something a film does. If a piece of art is essentially seen as a message with a sender and a receiver, one is implied and the other inferred.

The good Doctor is right, Thriller is an adjunct that can be applied to other genres, or indeed anything. Thriller is a bit like Shocker or Drama and can almost be thrown into any description, tabloid headline style, to sensationalise and add colour.
I feel its use is somewhat gratuitous or tortologous, it merely means "not dull".

One of the most iconic historical uses of the word was to describe a piece of non-fiction, a boxing match in The Philippines, whereas The most iconic use of the word is the title of the most successful music video of all time, which is directed by John Landis and features zombies, werewolves, transformation and creature effects and many other "horror" staples... so the etymology gets nicely confusing when we look at historic labels and comparisons.

I think that what we might actually be struggling to differentiate between is Horror fiction and Crime fiction.
(Both capable of "thrilling" or failing to do so)

Just looking at last August's films I can see the grey area;
The Dead, Damned by Dawn, 13 Hours, are clearly all horror fiction,
Red White and Blue, The Tortured, F, are arguably crime fiction,
but when it comes to I Spit on Your Grave, Dream Home, The Loved Ones, it becomes a bit tougher to call,
and I'm not even going to try when it comes to A Serbian Film.

If we look a bit further back than last August we can see where and why the two genres began to overlap so significantly.
"Crime fiction" as a literary genre has been pigeon-holed longer than "horror fiction" and it was crime novels that people used to read for the gritty, visceral shit that has you checking you locked the back door properly. In the old days of Penguin paperbacks it was crime that was put in its own seperate category with green rather than orange covers, and in early film it was the crime/noir titles that were more disturbing and adult in nature than the really rather tame Universal horrors.

There were exceptions, but generally the "crime novels" with their distinct green covers (much like Italian giallo's with their distinct yellow ones) were seen as "the hard stuff"; intended for adults and not for the faint hearted or those of a nervous disposition, a frisson of taboo and controvercy coming with the alure of the dark side. We dare you to read...

The two genres co-existed and overlapped for some time (and still do), horror fiction more often having a supernatural element and crime fiction having a mystery (or "whodunnit") angle was the only crude thematic rule of thumb to differentiate between them.

As books gave way to film (and later video) as the zeitgeist media, "horror" has become the new umbrella term for "the strong stuff on the top shelf" and "crime" has become more respectable as it's audience has gotten older and society's bar for shock and compassion has risen. (Midsomer Murders isn't top shelf stuff, and isn't horror either, despite all the decapitations and other spectacular deaths, its just too morally safe)

The transition from Crime to Horror, as the handy label for "the heavy shit that'll fuck you up", probably began with films like Hitchcock's Psycho and was firmly cemented by the arrival of the Videonasties, which brought new levels of top shelf taboo and stigma to the birth of home entertainment. We dare you to watch...

When it comes to Frightfest and what makes a Frightfest film, it's not a matter of being a horror film per say (or being chosen by the organisers), I think it's about films that push boundaries, test limits and upset censors, adults only and strong stomachs may be required, a little taboo, a bit of controvercy and a certain amount of "are you fucking kidding me?? a human fucking centipede!?! where do they get this shit?!!"

In short; Frightfest films belong on the top shelf with the hard liquor, hunting knives and porn, and if you belong to a catholic confederation of concerned parents, they aren't likely to be your cup of tea.

That is what Frightfest, and "Horror" has come to mean for me.
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Genre guidelines

Post by MaxRenn » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:24 pm

Brilliant post there Mr. Bill, agree with you completely. Except for the bit about FrightFest films being always selected for extremity, I expect a large amount of that at FF but not every film. Plenty of room for Monsters and fun horror like Trick'r'Treat.

BTW I personally think Serbian Film is a ultra extreme neo-Film Noir and not a horror film.
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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by Mr Bill » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:29 pm

MaxRenn wrote:Brilliant post there Mr. Bill, agree with you completely. Except for the bit about FrightFest films being always selected for extremity, I expect a large amount of that at FF but not every film. Plenty of room for Monsters and fun horror like Trick'r'Treat.

BTW I personally think Serbian Film is a ultra extreme neo-Film Noir and not a horror film.
I completely agree that A Serbian Film isn't a horror film, I've always struggled to label it and decided it was sufficiently unique and extreme not to need one, and then it seems sensible to put it on the broader horror "top shelf", because that's where most of the other contravercial stuff lives. I had never thought of it as ultra extreme neo-noir before, and I admit the more I think about it the more that makes sense.

I also agree that not all Frightfest films need to be extreme, just like they don't all need to be strictly horror. Monsters was one of the best films of last year's fest and I didn't even realise it was a 12 certificate until the dvds arrived last week, but Monsters has a clear cut sci-fi/horror theme, I would be surprised if FF started screening 12 certificate mainstream non-horror films. Maybe a FF film has to be one of the two, there must be some rules governing their selection.

For example: I can understand why we got gritty French gangster/armed robber film Black in 2009, because its dark, extreme and sufficiently recherche to live comfortably amongst the horrors, but Ben Affleck's slightly less gritty gangster/armed robber film The Town would have seemed just a bit too... not-frightfest, for me. Too mainstream, too 12 cert, too ordinary!
I confess that although I like the film, I thought Fanboys was a slightly uneasy fit last year- especially to be on the bags, but I can't complain, its a nice bag and all the writing fell off mine quite quickly.
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Re: Genre guidelines

Post by DoctorKaren » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:58 am

MaxRenn wrote:Brilliant post there Mr. Bill, agree with you completely. Except for the bit about FrightFest films being always selected for extremity, I expect a large amount of that at FF but not every film. Plenty of room for Monsters and fun horror like Trick'r'Treat.

BTW I personally think Serbian Film is a ultra extreme neo-Film Noir and not a horror film.
Srdjan Spasojevic called A Serbian Film "[a family film that goes to hell]" (or something like that - my brain is tired). He doesn't see it as a horror either.
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