In-depth mise en scene analysis of ‘Halloween’

In the opening sequence for ‘Halloween’, props play an important part during the section with the film titles. This is because a pumpkin with a flickering light inside it is the focal point of the shots. The pumpkin itself is an important symbol linking to the film as pumpkins are a significant image related to halloween. It also adds to the creepy element of a thriller movie as the light inside the pumpkin flickers throughout, creating quite a spooky image. The pumpkin also seems to be moving forward towards the camera until the pumpkin is not fully visible, only one of the eye shapes creating th eeffect of the pumpkin coming towards the audience which could also be quite scary.

Costumes also play an important role in this thriller opening as although for the majority of the opening you can’t see who is behind the camera, the people who you can see, a teenage girl and her boyfriend are dressed in normal clothing which doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. This links to the thriller convention of unusual situations happening it what seems to be an ordinary setting. The unusual situation in this instance is that the teenage girl is murdered and the murderer seems to turn out to be a small boy. The costume that the small boy is wearing also adds to the same thriller convention as he is wearing a clown costume which is normally worn on halloween yet he is not even attempting to hide his identity when he is revelaed which would normally be expected of a murderer in order to get away with their crime.

In the opening title sequence before the actual scene starts, the screen only seems to be lit by the flickering light inside the pumpkin. This is suggestive to the audience because it is unknown what is in the rest of the scene, adding to the eery atmosphere expected in a thriller film. Th efact that the light is flickering from inside of the pumpkin is also quite important as the director could have chosen to have a solid, bright light coming from inside the pumpkin but the flickering light is important because it seems to be replicating when people put pumpkin laterns outside thier houses on halloween which links the lighting to the film however it also adds to the atmosphere of the thriller as when the light is very dim inside the pumpkin, the screen becomes less clear and allows the audience to become questionable of what is going to appear on the screen. As well as this, the light inside the camera seems to flicker at a faster pace when the pumpkin is closer to the camera. This also links to the soundtrack in the background as the pace of the music also seems to increase and become more dramatic when the pumpkin becomes closer. This puts the audience on the edge and in suspense for the obvious upcoming climax to the increase in pace.

When the scene begins, you are shown around the house of the victim from the perspective of the murderer not being able to see who they are. This seems to just make the audience feel like they are seeing from their perspective as done in many films before however, it is only when looked at in more detail that you realise this technique has been used in order to give you hints to more details about the murderer. The main point when you are given a hint that they are not an adult like you would expect is when the murderer bends down to pick up the mask at the top of the stairs. The arm that reaches out to pick up the mask when looked at in more detail does seem to look like the arm of a smaller child instead of an adult. Also even without seeing the arm, the person does seem to not have to lean down as much as expected to reach the mask which is obviously because they are closer to the ground than an adult is. It is also revelaed later in the movie that the little boy is the victim’s brother. This could be slightly hinted towards in the opening title sequence due to the murderer’s body language. While walking around the house, they don’t seem to be hesitating about how to get around such as how to get around which may suggest that they already know as if they lived there. This idea is also continued when the murderer walks into the victim’s room and is identitfied as ‘Michael’. When the girl turns around, despite the screen being obscured and the girl being slightly startled, it is obvious that she knows the murderer due to how she addresses him by name and doesn’t seem too startled apart from the invasion of her personal space. Another thriller convention that is used in this opening is the idea of the audience seeing things that they feel they shouldn’t, as if they are a fly on the wall. This is shown when the murderer goes into the girl’s bedroom which is obviously her personal space. Also when the murderer puts on the mask, it is continuing the idea of seeing from his perspective from earlier but it seems to make the audience feel even more like they shouldn’t be there and like they feel to be intruding. The fact that the victim is a girl also says something about the murderer when his identity is concealed. It is suggested that he is most probably a male due to the fact that he is intruding on the female’s personal space. This related back to the age old idea of women being objectified and bursting in on her personal space and eventually ending her life is the ultimate way of a male figure showing power over the female.

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