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Exploring Film Genres

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By Harry Andrew Clarke
“A style or category of art, music, or literature.”
The purpose of a genre in relation to film is the idea that films are separated into
categories that posses individual characteristics that are specific to a particular
genre of film
This then allows directors/producers of a film to create a film that appeals to a
specific audience who are fans of a specific genre.
A basic example of this would be the director Michael Bay, who has achieved
staggering box office success with the Transformers series. A series that falls
under the series of action/sci-fi
Main Film Genres
Film Sub-Genres
Action Films
Biographical Films (or
Animated Films
Adventure Films
'Chick' Flicks
British (UK Films)
Comedy Films
Detective & Mystery Films
Childrens - Kids - FamilyOriented Films
Crime & Gangster Films
Disaster Films
Classic Films
Drama Films
Fantasy Films
Cult Films
Epics/Historical Films
Film Noir
Documentary Films
Horror Films
Guy Films
Serial Films
Musicals (Dance) Films
Melodramas, Women's or
"Weeper" Films
Sexual - Erotic Films
Science Fiction Films
Road Films
Silent Films
War (Anti-War) Films
Romance Films
Sports Films
Supernatural Films
Thriller-Suspense Films
Other Major Film Categories
Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi/Action
п‚Ў Directed by: James Cameron/ Produced by: Gale Anne Hurd
п‚Ў Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
Plot:57 years after the original attack, Ripley and a crew of marines
return to the planet to kill the remaining aliens that have
slaughtered the colonists on the planet.
п‚Ў Top 250 #64 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 21 nominations.
п‚Ў Budget:$18,500,000 (estimated)
п‚Ў Gross:$85,200,000 (USA)
With a new director in James Cameron, many would argue that Aliens took a more
action approach to the alien series than the original Alien title . However that is not to
say that Cameron's adaptation strayed drastically away from the horror genre of the
first film. Lets begin to analyse the ways in which Aliens stuck to its roots by being a
primarily horror based film.
Setting: The film setting was incredibly important towards achieving the correct tone
for the film as the characters were placed on a bleak, unpredictable, and treating
planet and so the fear of the unknown was used to express horror towards the
audience and characters.
Sound: Perhaps the most significant feature of achieving horror for this film was the
use of sound effects, music, and in some cases lack of sound. During scenes of high
suspense with the audience not actually being able to see any real threat, the
composed music plays slowly and quietly in the background as the tempo and pitch
increases with sudden movements that make the viewers jump in there seat without
even seeing anything particularly freighting. In many circumstances, even the lack of
sound is used perfectly when characters are in a position of knowing little of what
they can do and at the same time the viewer has to perhaps imagine what may
happen to the characters because the threat or sense of danger is not so easily
established due to the lack of sound.
Camera shots/angles: Like most horror films, Aliens decide to use a large variety
of shorts that helped establish fear and suspense of the film. Examples including,
darting camera shot to a moving figure that quickly moves out of the shot/
panning shot to establish a sense of location into the desolate world in which the
characters are thrown into/ And over the shoulder shots where the protagonist is
unaware of the threat behind them.
Special effects: Considering Aliens at its time of production had a considerably
small budget, many were blown away with the detail that went into creating the
world, costume, lighting and most importantly the Alien’s themselves in this film.
Their on screen presence has gone down in history for being one of the most
menacing horror threats in the industry and the precision and effort that went
into making them look believable and terrifying was incredible.
The follow up film to the original Alien had slightly different pacing compared to
the first film and so it is considered by some to in fact be an action film rather
than a horror.
While the first film lead many viewers to fear the unknown, the sequel shows the
main threat in many more open and situations with less direction towards
suspense but rather all out fighting between the characters and numerous aliens
rather than the single one.
This was achieved with less attention to detail with lighting so the threat is seen
more often by the viewer as well as many of the characters using weaponry on a
number of occasions during combat set pieces.
Although this may have made Aliens less frightening than the original Alien, it
was still critically acclaimed and loved by fans, as it still is considered to be one of
the greatest horror films of all time.
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