A Homework Project

Standard

Generic Analysis.

In Daniel Chandler’s “Introduction to Genre Theory” (see link in sidebar), he provides a list of questions for students to use in analysing an individual genre text.

Here is a PDF version of the questions: diy-generic-analysis. (Control-Click or right-click to download.)

Your task is to choose a genre text (as close to the Hrrrrr [or horror] genre as possible, though, since that’s what we’re studying) and prepare a presentation consisting of:

  • a short excerpt of the film (10 minutes or so)
  • a handout full of interesting notes and facts (1 side of A4)
  • a talk based upon the questions in the PDF (you don’t have to answer all of them, but do answer as many as you can), being sure to give an overview of the historical context. The talk should last at least 10 minutes. You can of course use Keynote/Powerpoint – but marks will be deducted for comic sans

You can work in pairs on the same text*, but both parties should attempt responses to the questions (which should, after all, be different).

In terms of context, I would expect to learn something about the date of release; box office success/failure (see the link to Box Office Mojo, right); previous/later instalments in the same cycle; if any; critical reception (reviews, articles); and anything else you can think of!

What this homework is for

1. The class will view/discuss a wide variety of genre texts, with notes, which will help with exam preparation
2. It’s good practice to become familiar with an analytical framework (the DIY analysis), which you can apply to any film you see – increasing the variety of texts you can refer to in exams etc.
3. Think of this as a mini project in preparation for your independent research coursework.
4. It’s essential to get away from what the exam board call “common sense” responses to texts, and one way of doing this is to use a framework such as this.

We’re not going to be able to fit these in before the end of the year, so this is a summer holiday project, but get started now and you won’t have to be doing it at midnight on 31st August.

Post any questions as comments.

*When I say genre text, I mean anything that could be classified as genre, so if you have horror games, or graphic novels etc., that would be fine. I’d also like to see TV episodes (X Files, Buffy, Supernatural etc.) being analysed.

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19 thoughts on “A Homework Project

  1. Dan Kirby

    I’m sure you will enjoy that time. When you can just sit and watch hours upon hours of you favourite TV shows.

  2. Dan Kirby

    I have realised. (may be my PC) by the time stamp on these comments is an hour wrong.

    tut tut Mr McMinn if it is your mistake!

  3. Faye

    Bon Monsieur du soir, como estas? (i understand that is both the french and spanish language rolled into one…)
    I put on one’s thinking cap, which we all know doesn’t happen often, about this summer homework and im wondering if i can maybe do an analysis of ‘Enchanted’–a 2007 musical film, directed by Kevin Lima and produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

    I empathize with you that it is not of the suitable criteria (a horror text) however, i do tend to become very frightened by today’s horror genre’s, so it would be much apprciated if i could just sit back and enjoy ‘Enchanted’ then write a very well prepared analysis of it…is that ok? If it helps it features a witch???

  4. Dr Bob

    Well, okay. As long as you come away with a renewed understanding of genre. In fact, Disney used to include horror elements in many of their animated films: the scary bit in the forest in Snow White was very gothic; Dumbo’s mother going mad was also quite gothic; the shooting of Bambi’s mother, etc. etc.

    Enchanted is clearly some sort of hybrid genre with a lot of intertextual references, so you should be able to find interesting things to say about it.

  5. Dan Kirby

    ”Faye Says:
    July 14, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    …(AWKWARD SILENCE)

    it’s your PC”

    …Not at all, If you had come to the lesson where Mr McMinn explained this. You would also understand why the time stamp is wrong.

  6. Chris Hobson

    Hey Dr Bob,

    I’m watching an episode of Dr Who made in ’75. It features Tom Baker and is called “The Pyramids if Mars” and the cover of the DVD says it includes horror…can I use this for the homework project? I know its a bit sci-fi but it has a big gothic house and some rather amusing visual effect including robot mummies. Its got pschological horror also….is that ok?

    Cheers,

  7. Rob

    Again, yes, especially as Doctor Who has more of a reputation for scaring children than it has for science fiction.

  8. chinia

    hello again!

    I watched this really interesting documentary on BBC2 on saturday called ‘Comics Britannia’. It featured some thought provoking theories on gender from the 1950’s to the 70’s and therefore i thought this might be good in terms of audience studies. However more importantly it began by talking about the introduction of the american horror comic to the UK. I was thus wondering if it would be possible to a presentation on a couple of issues or series’, as the from an artistic point of view the illustrations are often fantastic examples of body horror (the comic form perhaps allowing for more graphic mutilations because of the infinite freedoms of the medium.). I could also perhaps link the stories to films of a similar nature?

    thanks

  9. Rob

    Greetings from France.

    Sounds good. It’s the right genre, and it’s a medium. What could possibly go wrong?

  10. brionyhannahking

    hello.

    i was confused by question 17 which is what institutional contraints are reflected in the form of the text? does that refer to things like budget and whether it is an indepedent production company and such?

  11. Rob

    briony,

    That sort of thing, yes, but also such things as regulation and censorship – questions of legality, taste, decency, television watersheds, classification systems etc., not to mention sponsorship, advertising, product placement etc.

  12. Dan

    Can I please show my presentation on wednesday instead, as I am having some problems finding the exact extract I want for The Boys From brazil.

  13. Chris Hobson

    Hey, I found one my horror-style PC games. Its called F.E.A.R and is about a sort of para-military unit that deal with the supernatural. I thought about using it for my presentation but it didnt work on my laptop to show….i found a special features thing that is a live action prequel to the game that sort of sets up the pschological horror in the game…i may be able to find some bits to illustrate body horror also. Is it of any use to us?

  14. Chris Hobson

    Yeah ok, I can do that but it may not be until next week as I’m currently swamped in assignments for music :S

    I’ll see what I can do for next week.

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