Sunday, 17 October 2010

@Phil- Essay Question Idea

I have been really stuck for ideas scratching my head all week but i have finally found something that i can confidently write about :) I want to write about the transfromation sequences in the film Van Helsing as i am really familiar with the film. I want to look at how the tranformation sequences are used to evoke an emotional response from the audience. For instance the transfromation at the end of the film were van helsing is holding Anna is alot more graceful to the other transformations in the film for both Dracular's and Werewolf transformtions. Also at the begining of the film we see Draculars transformation though shadows on the wall could be worth comparing to going back to the old b+w horror movies, similar to scenes in cat people.
However i remember reading your advice on the blog and it saying the essay has to be either human to animal metamorphosis or animal to human... for my essay to work i want to mention the last scene where Van Helsing is hold Anna but this is animal to human and the other sequences are human to animal would this be a problem if im comparing transformation sequences and there emotional response of the audience? the emotional difference from transforming to untransfroming...


  1. Hey Kay - I've got to be honest and say that my warning lights were flashing as I was reading your proposal; firstly, if you look at the essay criteria, you're being challenged to put an idea into its historical and cultural context; by looking only at Van Helsing, you're not giving yourself enough scope; also, you suggest you want to discuss the audience's emotional response to the various transformations, but how can you find the evidence (proof) to ensure this isn't just your personal observations of how they made YOU feel? Unless you can find lots of objective evidence that allows you to talk at length about the different scenes, it's just going to be your views (which, while valid, do need to be supported by proof in the context of an academic assignment). It's advice I've given before, but my fear is your approach to this essay is much to descriptive. What you need to get to grips with is the 'metaphor' of human-to-animal/animal-to-human transformations; i.e. what does it signify or communicate to audiences symbolically when we witness a man turn into a wolf? In many ways, the fact that one transformation might be more or less elegant than another is irrelevant on one level (the transformation is the same, only the mood of it is different). Ask yourself this question and try to answer it: why is the motif of the werewolf so popular with audiences - and what does that popularity help us understand about our social/cultural/psychological identities. I suspect you haven't researched enough yet; research werewolves specifically and this essay will get clearer for you. I'm not saying you shouldn't discuss the Van Helsing scenes as part or as an illustration of your argument, I'm just saying that you need to go deeper and truly explore the werewolf's status as a cultural icon. If you don't read interesting and thought-provoking stuff, you won't write interesting and thought-provoking stuff... Let me know how you get on - and try putting together a proper essay plan using the criteria given you on the brief.

  2. ok looking back at the brief... i have thought about exploring how the werewolf has gone from myth and fairy tales to a cultural icon...
    my plan would be to research where the idea of the werewolf came from...
    How did a werefolf go from myth to a cultural icon?
    Rough outline:
    texts about its origin...
    -mention two theories of origin
    -appeal to the horror genre text/ film
    -company of wolves, the werewolf,wolf-alice ( The bloody chamber- angela carter)Darren Shan- wolf island
    -film company of wolves
    modern film- van helsing, harry potter,underworld