Discuss How Genre Adapts to Changing Social, Political, Historical and Economical Contexts

Topics: Horror film, Vampire, Dracula Pages: 4 (1287 words) Published: March 17, 2009
Discuss How Genre Adapts to Changing Social, Political, Historical And Economical Contexts

Genre is a technique used by both institutions and audiences as a means of ensuring that their expectations are met. A French word, meaning type, genre is an understanding between film producers and the target audience about what will be provided and the reactions that will be given. In order to reach the maximum potential profits, film producers must adapt genres to fit the changing ideas and roles in society, therefore it could be argued that the changing social, economic, political and historical contexts dictate what the audience will receive.

Chomsky’s propaganda theory states that fear is used as a tool for consuming media texts, and the horror genre appears to support this argument. This particular genre is a good example of showing the ways in which a genre has had to adapt in order to continue attracting audiences.

The sub-genre of the vampire horror genre began with the release of Nosfertu (1922). This black and white film is an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel; however producers didn’t want to pay copyright on the story, so made their own version. This film played on the insecurities of audiences that had formed due to the high amount of disease post World War I, therefore creating a narrative that can be feared and is a successful ‘horror’ film. Bram Stoker’s widow, infuriated by the blatant adaptation, took legal action and saw all copies of the film were destroyed, and what with the success of this film there was a large space in the market for another Dracula film.

The Wall Street Crash left the world and it’s industries suffering, with a decline in trade and money. Dyer’s entertainment and utopia theory states that audiences use media to escape the mundanity of their own lifestyles; the Dracula released by Tod Branning in 1932 can be used to depict this. What with the scarcity of money, audiences thrived on the representations of wealth...
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