Title

Sound and the Slasher Film

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

The Slasher subgenre in film is synonymous with masked killers, their weapons, transgressing victims, brutal deaths, secluded or isolating locations, and a final girl left to fend for herself. While Slasher movies might bring to mind the iconic apparel of the killers, or their weapons, just as important as what’s seen on screen is the sound that accompanies the images. Sound is a key element that contributes to the world of the story, the tone of the film, and the events that unfold on screen; the presence of a musical cue, or the absence of one, can dictate what's next in the story. This video essay focuses on two films, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974), and Tom McLoughlin’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986). These films exemplify how sound can be used within the Slasher subgenre, but to different effects. Black Christmas takes a more grounded and ominous approach to produce its scares, emphasizing diegetic sounds and an ambient/minimalistic use of music, and no music, to create a sense of dread. Jason Lives dumbs down the serious tone of previously made Slasher films, taking a lighter approach. The use of musical cues, an 80’s soundtrack, and a dramatic score, accompanies the interactions characters have with the invincible killing machine named Jason. While the kills are still brutal, Jason Lives is a film that is selfaware of the Slasher subgenre’s tropes and cliches, helping aid the film’s plot points by leaving a comical touch to the madness.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Melissa Johnson

Department/Program

Film Studies

Additional Mentoring Department

https://cwu.studentopportunitycenter.com/2020/04/sound-and-the-slasher-film/

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Sound and the Slasher Film

Ellensburg

The Slasher subgenre in film is synonymous with masked killers, their weapons, transgressing victims, brutal deaths, secluded or isolating locations, and a final girl left to fend for herself. While Slasher movies might bring to mind the iconic apparel of the killers, or their weapons, just as important as what’s seen on screen is the sound that accompanies the images. Sound is a key element that contributes to the world of the story, the tone of the film, and the events that unfold on screen; the presence of a musical cue, or the absence of one, can dictate what's next in the story. This video essay focuses on two films, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974), and Tom McLoughlin’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986). These films exemplify how sound can be used within the Slasher subgenre, but to different effects. Black Christmas takes a more grounded and ominous approach to produce its scares, emphasizing diegetic sounds and an ambient/minimalistic use of music, and no music, to create a sense of dread. Jason Lives dumbs down the serious tone of previously made Slasher films, taking a lighter approach. The use of musical cues, an 80’s soundtrack, and a dramatic score, accompanies the interactions characters have with the invincible killing machine named Jason. While the kills are still brutal, Jason Lives is a film that is selfaware of the Slasher subgenre’s tropes and cliches, helping aid the film’s plot points by leaving a comical touch to the madness.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/CAH/16