The concept of genre in films Essay

Genre a French term with Latin roots for “type” or “category of narrative,” when it is applied to film, it shows a group of linked or similar films. The purpose of genre is to identify what category each film belongs to, they are not closed, they are partly open systems which need to stay in the same order to survive, but genres can also change and innovate. Genre changes with the audiences’ different needs and trends, so when people get bored with a particular genre they change it so the audience enjoy it more.

Genres very clearly work in terms of film production, and marketing. Audiences find familiar genres very appealing. Genres then work through social concerns, producing new experiences for the audience and providing the audience with new knowledge.

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It could then be argued that genres simply reproduce existing social relations and if so they are no more than rigid and unchanging stereotypes. Genre is one of the most easily identifiable means of classifying films because it is so readily used by the film industry, especially the Hollywood film industry, for marketing purposes.It helps in many ways, including it is easier to market as they know how to make the poster or trailer clearly represent the genre and get the targeted audience. It is also easier to make as people with past experience with find it easier to do as they will have past experience e. g. special effects. It is easier to get a guaranteed audience as if someone has seen a film and enjoyed it; they are likely to watch more films which are similar to that film.

It easier to choose and market your star, many films are sold through genre but also through the actors which appear in them as they have a generic association with helps the audience enjoy the film. Genres come and go in fashion, Western and Musicals are currently out of fashion while War movies are undergoing something of resurgence and the Gangster film has survived many a twist in its fortunes. The only genre which seems to never go out of fashion is Comedy and this is because it is so flexible.One of the earliest genres is the Western which is an archetypical genre, perhaps because of the strong iconography and close relationship with the myth from the West in the American imagination. The Western genre is one of the oldest, most enduring and flexible genres.

One of the first Western films was Edwin S Porter’s 1903 movie, the Great Train Robbery. It often portrays the conquest of the wilderness and the subordination of nature in the name of civilization. The main plot of the Western film is the simple goal of maintaining law and order in an action story.

It is normally rooted in conflict, good versus bad. There are typical elements in westerns include hostile elements, guns and fights, violence, horses, trains, bank robberies and hold-ups, runaway stagecoaches, shoot-ups. The heroes are often local lawmen or enforcement officers, rancher’s cowboys; they are normally masculine persons of integrity and principle which are courageous, moral, tough and the possess an independent and honourable attitude.

The hero normally stands alone. In many ways, the cowboy of Old west was the American version of the Japanese samurai warrior or the Arthurian knight of medieval times.Horror films are unsettling films designed to frighten and panic, causing dread and alarm, and to invoke our worst hidden fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating centre on the dark side of the life, the forbidden, and the strange alarming events. Whatever dark, primitive and revolting traits that simultaneously attract and repel us are featured in the horror genre. They are also known as chillers, scary movies, and spookfests.

Horror films, when done well can be extremely potent films, which tap into our dream states and the horror of the irrational and unknown.The earliest horror films were Gothic in style; this means they were usually set in spooky old mansion, castles or fog-shrouded, dark and shadowy locations. The characters have included “unknown,” human, supernatural or grotesque creatures, ranging from vampires, demented madmen, devils, unfriendly ghosts, monsters, mad scientists. Horror films have developed out of folktales with devil characters, witchcraft, fables, myths, ghost stories and Gothic and Victorian novels. The first horror movie was only about three minutes long, was made by French filmmaker Georges Melies, and called “Le Manoir Du Diable” in 1896.Horror films partly present this fundamental struggle as a ‘good’ against ‘evil’ battle, but they also tend to maintain the idea of a moral order of the universe – something to believe in which justified material existence. Fear of death is prominent.

Among the anxieties which underpin modern horror movies may be, social alienation, collapse of spiritual moral order, crisis of evolutionary identity, opening up of innermost imperatives, need to express implications of human existence with a recognisable framework.


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