Textual analysis of Durham County Molly rose

This is the opening shot of Durham County opening titles. The shot is of a a forest, focusing on a series of dying tree branches. The shot has been edited so that it is desaturated, this use of editing creates a sense of mystery, disorientation and leaves the audience knowing that it is a horror as it is very dark, an archetypal convention of the genre. Additionally the shot uses low key lighting, a conventional lighting theme as once again it creates the dark atmosphere required for an effective horror text. The iconography of the branches without leaves connotes death, destruction and foreboding, these connotations are sharply contrasted by the non-diegetic soundtrack playing in the background, rhythmic chords on a piano giving the scene an atmosphere of tranquility and safety. The opening titles use a mixture of sans-serif and serif text and white font contrasting the dark, gloomy background and standing out as a result of this contrast. The use of both san-serif and serif text connotes that the show is a psychological horror as the two texts are different and yet the feature in the same title, making reference to those who suffer from multiple personality disorder. It can also be connoted as being a psychological horror as it is ambiguous as to which title is the right one and this in itself cause the audience some confusion, a typical convention of the psychological horror sub-genre.
Throughout the sequence all of the shots are edited in the same way, with the desaturated colour palette and the low-key lighting. However in some shots there is a overlaying colour, red and through out the sequence it appears. The contrast of the vibrant shade of red and the dark background allows the red to stand out, which is vital in creating a horror atmosphere as red has connotations of blood, death and danger and the inclusion of this colour is an archetypal convention of not just psychological horrors but of the whole horror genre in general. There are a few examples of the iconography of horror and gothic themes in this sequence, the inclusion of the colour red that connotes danger and death, the dead trees that connote death and now the inclusion of doll figures and mask.
In this shot the rule of thirds is used, placing the protagonist in the centre of screen and therefore at the centre of the audience's focus as this character's outline dominates the frame. The colour palette suggest that the character is misguided or evil, having a shaded black head and having the surroundings a contrasting white. The shot is a close up and use blurred imagery to connote characters confusion or lack of mental stability, not being able to understand what is happening, having their whole life as an enigma. The change of colour of the text further supports the mental instability of this character as it connotes the changing of personalities in the character, placing foreboding on his mental state. All of these connotations of mental instability and multiple personas are archetypal conventions of the psychological horror sub-genre as the sub-genre is built up on exploring physiological and mental issues.
Later on in the sequence an establishing shot is used, displaying the setting and location in which the series is set. In shows a modern setting, with cramp detached houses, portraying the confined world the series takes place in. This use of mise-en-scene demonstrates that this show is a horror as it takes places in an urban location, that is isolated as it is so compact and surrounded by houses. This use of mise-en-scene is effective in making the sequence more impactful on the audience as it takes place in a stereotypical suburban world, where practically all of the audience live, and so they will find it more relatable and create a sense of fear in their everyday life as they will look at the people who live around them and wonder if they are as mentally unstable as some of the characters in the series. The shot features a dark cloud drifting over the town, connoting danger, resulting in a foreboding atmosphere and creating a narrative enigma as the audience will see the cloud and make these connotations for themselves and wonder what it means, and the only way to have this question answered is for them to watch the series.
The penultimate shot features the protagonist in a long shot. The inclusion of the dead trees in the background connotes that he may be the cause of the death that has been suggested throughout the opening sequence. However, the trees in the background are used for another reason, they are used to dwarf the protagonist to make him appear vulnerable and weak, in the same way that those with mental health issues are, once again conforming to the typical conventions of the psychological horror sub-genre

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