Larissa Barbosa Curi

Abstract

This dissertation examines the elements pertaining to the horror genre in film as tools to be used by the screenwriter in the development of an original story. First, the work focuses on the many approaches to film genre theory that inform the categorization of horror as a genre. Next, the conventions of the horror genre are introduced and analysed along with the structural aspects of horror films.

The question guiding the research is: how can a screenwriter expand the limits of a horror script by subverting expectations without abandoning all identifiable genre elements? Through examples in horror scripts, focusing on the subgenres slasher and alien invasion, I present options for delivering on or subverting expectations, supported by studies in cognitive processing and other fields of study outside film theory. Finally, the research is applied to developing an original story, culminating in the presentation of character descriptions and plot outline with accompanying comments justifying the choices made. Other works are referenced to support the characterization and plot progression as they relate to the theme of the original horror story presented. Finally, I draw conclusions on the entire research and its effectiveness on expanding my work as a screenwriter, discussing future developments regarding the creation of the first draft of the screenplay.

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