Semiotics In Horror Film

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We live in a world of signs, and of signs about signs (Hawkes 2003). Signs and symbols are used everywhere. They are read on people, paintings, books, television and even films. The main focus of this essay will be on films, focusing on the horror genre specifically. The use of semiotics within films is something that has been happening from the birth of films, even if we didn’t know about them, they were still there. Horror films in specific take advantage of signs and symbols, which mean different things to different people. Writers and directors have a vision for their signs and symbols that they use, but as a receiver, we make different meanings from different signs and symbols, depending on our cultural backgrounds and our consciousness. …show more content…
As mentioned earlier, semiotics allows the viewer to understand the context of the film, allowing the viewer to go deeper into the narrative and get to know more about the characters as well. The main purpose of a theatre is to be able to transmit signals to the receiver, which is the audience. The signals are encoded by the senders (including: writers, actors, directors) and then decoded by the receivers, with different meanings (Semiotic Theatre, no date). This does not mean that the viewer will comprehend exactly what was intended by the directors, the message will always be read differently by viewers, depending on their belief, their knowledge and how familiar they are with semiotics. It could also depend on the viewer’s feelings, emotions, consciousness and education. This allows films to be seen and understood by everyone, by allowing the viewers to create their own meanings behind each sign that is used in the film, with no right or wrong …show more content…
As the priest is preparing for the exorcism, we see him take out his cross and bible. This would have looked very similar to what other horror films have done with exorcism scenes, where the priest is able to extract the devil out of the body, or at least he has a near-successful attempt. In this film, as soon as the priest starts the exorcism, the house starts shaking, we feel the arrival of the devil even though we can’t really see it (Newman 2016). All of a sudden, an unknown source of devil attacks the priest and it pulls him away. This attacked the viewer’s belief system of Christianity, it showed that a priest had no chance against the devil. The exorcism is linked with Christianity. By the failure of exorcism, audience that believe in Christianity and exorcism are left vulnerable and weak, knowing that evil is present and they won’t be able to counter it if it condemned. The message wouldn’t be similar to those who don’t believe in Christianity or exorcism. They would read it as a weak culture, or religion that failed to extract a demon out of a

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