Is Jaws a Horror Movie?First I will highlight the brief journey through the horror genre and the conventions that have developed. Second, I will then show how these conventions are used in the film Jaws. Let’s start with the silent era, an era based on monsters, Frakingstien 1910, Dracula 1912, The Phantom Of The Opera 1925. Without sound, there was a heavy emphasis on make – up, adding to the horror and preparing the first convention, which is the reveal of the monster. Facial expressions and body language played big part in early horror movies as it provided the tension. A second convention was the ‘dark property in the middle of nowhere,’ using isolation as a way to build up tension.
Through the talkies in the 30’s little changed (except sound). The 1950’s and 60’s focused on sci-fi, B movies and Hammer horror, often known as the ‘Atomic Phase.’ Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Alien at the Arctic Circle and The Thing (1951) are good examples. Horror then switched to witchcraft and zombie films such as Night Of The Living Dead (1968) and Day Of The Dead (1985). Conventions changed, we now had more suspense, people being trapped and spiritual terror. Towards the end of the era we also saw an increase in the amount of violence and gore but this was nothing compared to what came next.
Finally, horror became ‘Slasher.’ The 1970’s became obsessed with realistic news stories and characters and films became more stylize and followed similar storyline conventions. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978) and Night Mare On Elm Street (1984) where full of psycho villains, teens in danger and the sole survivor leading to plenty of sequels. The only other horror genre or thriller genre focused on suspense, movie…
…th the yellow top looses his dog, the lady with the yellow hat looses her son and the little boy with the yellow lilo looses his life. The colour yellow is also a hazard warning sign this makes the audience expect something bad to happen.The tension is constant, there are thrills, there are terrifying scenes, there is humour, there’s even a cover-up. There are few horror films in which you’ll so identify with potential victims. Jaws had all the conventions, the killer, the hero and the death sequences, the only convention it lacked was blood and gore, certainly when compared to modern day horrors. If you compare Saw (2004) to Jaws, Saw uses a multitude of special effects not available to Spielberg. As a result I think Saw is more intense and scary. I find Saw horrific and appauling, whereas I found Jaws tense and gory and still classed as horror genre.