Create atmosphere and tension

Categories: Atmosphere

Closely analyse the scene where Frankenstein brings to life his creation in James Whale's 1931 horror film Frankenstein showing the techniques used to create atmosphere and tension Mary Shelly first created the book Frankenstein in 1818 when she was only 18 years of age. Then a play was written in 1823 and in 1931 the first of many Frankenstein films was made, starring Boris Karloff. Originally the creator of the monster was called Dr Frankenstein and through the film people perceived Frankenstein as evil, which he originally wasn't, the creator and creature merged into one with one name.

In the film Dr Frankenstein's monster is brutal, vengeful, violent, aggressive and evil.

Dr Frankenstein makes the monster by sewing up different body parts from the bodies he had dug up from the graveyard and taken from people who had been murdered or executed. The brain that was used was an evil and deformed brain; this was their mistake in the creation of the monster because they wanted to get a clever un-deformed brain so that the monster would be clever and friendly.

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With the monster having an evil brain from the start, the monster would always be evil. This fitted in with contemporary science at the time because scientists at the time were investigating into biological determination.

The scientists were looking into how the brain looked and worked. They thought criminals had deformed brains and clever people had un-deformed brains this is reflected in the film with Frankenstein. Also the scientists were researching into altering the shape of future generations through gene selection and artificial organs.

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This film launched the genre of horror movies because this was only the second horror movie ever made, an example of this is contemporary science showing how Dr Frankenstein brought to life a dead person.

What I expect from a horror movie is a lot of suspense and tension; this is done through lighting, sound and music. I also think there has always got to be evil in a horror movie and that is the bad guy in the movie. I expect there to be murders, mystery, things that make you jump and the totally unexpected to happen. Mary Shelly describes the night as " a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils," she is trying to set a spooky night; also she gives us a bit of information so that we want to read on and find the rest. The sound effects that were used are echoes, thunder and rain.

This is used to build up suspense it also sets the mood, the thunder makes the audience jump or be scared. The scene is set on the film by a wide shot on the tower on a hill this gave the effect that the tower was isolated and a p.o.v inside the tower which takes us straight into the story and shows us what the visitors are seeing for the first time. The lighting that was used is under lighting to create shadows that made things look either bigger or smaller.

There are also flashes of lighting to lighten things up which helps add tension. The camera angle to put us in the scene is a wide shot this showed us where the place is set and gives us details of the mood that is set e.g. it shows the tower is isolated on a hill and the tower more looks like a prison than a house. A long shot is used inside the tower to show what is happening in the room also how objects and people are positioned in the room. Close ups are used on the gadgets to show us that they are there, which makes us interested in them. If a wide shot or long shot was used you wouldn't take any notice of the gadgets.

Dr Frankenstein's room is full of gadgets such as lightning catchers, switches, a few tables and chairs. The building is tall, round and there are only a few windows. It is an ancient building with stone walls, it is tall but thin this is used to make the humans look small and insignificant and the tall tower is used when creating the monster to make the monster seem closer to God. There is barely any furniture because it is a lab. In the lab the body is covered up in the centre this is done on purpose to put the emphasis on the monster and to show it as the most important thing in the room.

There are bars on the windows to make it seem that they are trapped. The people who are there are Elizabeth, Victor, Dr Frankenstein, Dr Waldman, Dr Frankenstein's assistant and the monster. The gadgets are lightning catchers, electrical devices, conductors, pulleys, wheels, cogs, a storm detector, wires, chains, levers, live flames, sparks and static machines. They are there to show how high-tech this creation is and to impress the audience. The camera angles used to show how high tall the room is a tilt shot and a tracking shot.

The other shots that were used are a long shot, close up, high angle, low angle and a p.o.v. to put us into the scene. They are there to put emphasis on things such as the amazing gadgets or important parts of the story line such as when the monster first moves its hand. The angles are used to make people look small. The effects are that it creates suspense and create a mood. They are also put there to make us scared because the camera angles draw us into the film. They show us how big objects are and they add to suspence and tension by making us feel tense and afraid. The lighting that is used is lightning, filter shot, flashes of light and under lighting. It is used to create suspense and tension by making the creature look scary. The sound effects are echoes, electrical tools and this gives us an effect of fear and anticipation.

Updated: May 19, 2021
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Create atmosphere and tension essay
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