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Essay: Horror/Science Fiction Genres & discussion of Blade Runner

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  • Published: 22 July 2022*
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There has been a lot of debate upon the use of horror in literature and other media types and how best to utilize it and/or make it effective as a narrative device and I’m not just talking about the increasingly popular tactic of using a jump-scare which is being shoehorned into a lot of film TV shows and games. what I want us to think about is the McCobb, the psychological and the almost therapeutic quality of horror but before we move on to that what is horror? Primarily inspired by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and having the metaphorical torch carried on by writers such as HP Lovecraft, Thomas Loogootee, Laird baron and Stephen King etc. it very much remains an essential form of literature as well as connected to mainstream popular culture and in an essay that I discovered recently written by Orson Scott Card in the book maps in a mirror. he talks about the three stages of horror in fiction. he talks about the concept of dread, terror and horror. firstly, he states that dread is the first and strongest of the three kinds of horror similar to Lovecraft’s concept of the fear of the unknown. it is the kind of fear that preys upon your mind when you know that there is something there but you haven’t identified it yet you can’t explain it yet but the primeval fear sits in your mind still. for example, hearing a noise in the house when you know that you are alone or the protagonists thinking that they see something in the shadows. terror is the second kind. the kind you experience when you identify the thing or that you begin to understand it. for example, seeing the figure of a man stepping out of the shadows with a bloody knife. And finally horror, the weakest of all according to Orson Scott Card, this being the stage after the fearful thing has occurred and you witnessed the aftermath, the results, the relics. for example, seeing the mutilated corpse that the killer has left behind. so what to take away from all of this? I think understanding and researching different concepts of horror and many other things you want to focus on to will allow you to explore them in different ways and may help you to generate different ideas compared to the common tropes present in this kind of fiction. therefore helping your fiction to be more original.

Science fiction

Science fiction within the film industry, the very aspect of science fiction has endured for hundreds of years. this is a genre that has its roots within literature but at the dawn of the 20th century have based itself debuting on the brand-new storytelling medium of film. early sci-fi films during the silent film era were limited to movie pictures with no song ran a maximum of 20 minutes in duration and were depicted as light-hearted and comical. the first sci-fi film to be made was a trip to the moon in 1902 which was directed by George Moline. the creation of the talkies in the late 1920s made sound possible within the film and gave new meaning to the sci-fi genre, as a result of the Great Depression in the 1930s sci-fi mix with a genre of both fantasy and horror to create a mental escape from the problems. this result in films such as Just Imagine, The Wizard of Oz and Frankenstein. when America entered to World War 2 in 1941, sci-fi began to take on a more heroic and patriotic tone this can be seen with film series such as Flash Gordon and the adventure of Buck Rogers. many sci-fi films of this era also double as war propaganda. the start of the Cold War as increasing sightings of UFOs in the 1940s gave new meaning to sci-fi films of the 1950s with films such as desolation moon signifying the oncoming space race between America and the Soviet Union while films such as War of the Worlds, earth vs. the flying saucers, The Day the Earth Stood Still focus on the earliest invasion. the 1960s we saw drought and decide by films and a rise in sci-fi television programs. We saw shows such as Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone and lost the space created by the likes of Gene Roddenberry, Sydney Newman and Vervained Ellis. these shows had higher political overtones that respected the ears push for civil rights and feminism. science fiction films experienced a glorious return in the 1970s with mega-blockbusters such as Star Wars and close encounter of the Third Kind directed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both men’s would go on to become popular figures within the genre. the 1980s saw the dawn of a rivalry between two popular science fiction franchise Star Trek and Star Wars with each making numerous films. the Dystopia science fiction films such as Mad Max, Blade Runner, Terminator and Robocop also became popular during this period. the 1990s with the widespread use of the Internet coincides with internet themes science fiction films such as Total Recall and The Matrix. disaster films also became profit during this era with films such as Independence Day and Deep Impact. science fiction films of the 21st century are taking a drastic departure from their predecessors and are depicting humanity as more of the enemy rather than the hero this can be seen in films such as Avatar and Arrival. science fiction sequels are also becoming popular in our present-day society with a franchise such as Star Trek and Star Wars wowing to keep making movies well into the future.

Referring given documents about sample film analysis try to analyse one of them: Elephant and Grass, Life are Beautiful, Perfect Sense, Blade Runner, Fahrenheit 451, It is a Free World. (50 points)

Let’s take a look at Blade Runner. The first book ever written about about film noir was published in 1955. It describes a few prominent characteristics of film noir that show up again and again. I want to talk about three of them, beginning with the presence of crime. The authors wrote:

“It is the presence of crime which gives film noir its most constant characteristic.”

The inclusion of crime was not in and of itself revolutionary, there has always been crime in Hollywood films. The difference was how these films treated the morality of crime.

“Now the moviegoer is being presented a less severe version of the underworld, with likeable killers and corrupt cops. Good and evil go hand in hand to the point of being indistinguishable.”

Let’s look at the first part of this duality, the “likeable killers.” In classic film noir, the criminals were often portrayed as sympathetic, ordinary people put in extraordinary situations. Blade Runner takes these criminal characters and gives them a sci-fi spin. (There was an escape from the off-world colonies two weeks ago.) (Six replicants, three male, three female.) (They slaughter twenty-three people and jumped the shuttle.) The antagonists are the bio-engineered Nexus 6 replicants. In the world of Blade Runner, replicants are used in off-world colonies for various tasks: ammunition loaders, hit squads, and pleasure purposes… and it’s clear that they live tortured lives. (Quite an experience to live in fear isn’t it.) (That’s what it is to be a slave.) Despite not being human, they’re in a situation one can empathize with. The same way classic film noir explored morality through likeable killers, Blade Runner does so through androids who kill in pursuit of freedom. Returning to the book quote, the other side of this duality comes from the “corrupt cops.” The inability to trust the police was often a key component in creating the anxious, pessimistic tone of classic noir. The same is true in Blade Runner, where the police refer to androids in a derogatory manner (BRYANT: I’ve got four skin-jobs walking the streets.) and are high on their absolute power. (Stop right where you are.) (You know the score, pal? When you’re not a cop you’re little people.) The likeable killers and corrupt cops help create a world where the line between right and wrong is blurred. And at the centre of their conflict is the mortal struggle inherent in all film noir.

“Few cycles in the entire history of film have put together in seven or eight years such a mix of foul play and murder. Sordidly or bizarrely, death always comes at the end of a tortured journey. In every sense of the word, a noir film is a film of death.”

The classic film noirs often tell stories about people who are trapped, creating a mood of inevitable doom. (Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong.) (It sounds crazy Keyes, but it’s true, so help me.) (I couldn’t hear my own footsteps.) (It was the walk of a dead man.) This pessimistic perspective is well-suited for the dystopian world of Blade Runner. Almost every character in the film is trapped in one way or another. Most of humanity has abandoned Earth, and it is suggested that many of those who remain may want to leave but aren’t allowed to do so. (Is that why you’re still on Earth?) (Yeah. I couldn’t pass the medical.) As someone who quit the police force, Deckard has no interest in chasing down the replicants but is forced into it. (No choice, huh?) (No choice, pal.) And the replicants he is chasing have a very literal doom they’re trying to escape. (What seems to be the problem?) (Death.) As a security measure, each Nexus 6 replicant is given a four-year life span. (I want more life, father.) Now, they’re running out of time and have returned to Earth to try to extend their lives. The entire thematic foundation of Blade Runner is built around life and death not constrained to simple mortality like in classic noirs but expanded to examine the nature of life itself. And just like in classic film noirs, the ideal character to navigate this web of moral complexity is the private detective. The private detective character was prominent in film noir because of the function he or she could serve in the story.

“The private detective is midway between lawful society and the underworld, walking on the brink, sometimes unscrupulous but putting only himself at risk, fulfilling the requirements of his own code and of the genre as well.”


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