How does the
opening sequence of ‘The X-Files: Squeeze’ attract the audience?
of ‘The X-Files’ entitled ‘Squeeze’ centres around a mutant known as Eugene
Victor Tooms who is not your average murderer.He must kill 3 people before he is able to go back into hibernation. He
eats the livers of these 3 people to survive. The opening sequence of the
episode shows Tooms murdering his first victim in the victim’s office by
of ‘The X-Files’ begins with an enigma; the writer and director play with the
audience’s expectations as they anticipate a murder and use the typical
conventions of the horror, thriller and science-fiction genres.
shot of the episode is an establishing shot, a long high shot of everyday
Baltimore in Maryland, the city where ‘The X-Files’ is set which gives the
audience the impression that everything is normal, even though they know that
something is about to happen. The sun is setting and it is getting darker which,
when the audience know what the show is about, makes them anticipate something
bad is about to happen. When the victim leaves the building, the angle is high
and he is being focused on, singling him out and indicating to the audience
that he is a possible target for someone. This suggests to the audience that
he’s vulnerable and gives the impression that he’s being watched. When the man
is walking to his car, there is a series of edits between the man and the
drain. As the camera closes in on the drain, a non-diegetic crescendo builds
up. This creates suspense for the audience. Eventually, two yellow eyes are
visible in the drain, the eyes of the mutant. The use of yellow eyes instantly
gives the audience the impression that they are currently looking at the
killer. You can hear the sound of plucked strings which is used as a sound
motif for the mutant so the audience will instantly know who it is whenever it
is played. The audience can then tell that the view of the man is from the
point of view of the mutant. The point of view shot allows the audience to see
what he sees and this helps people take the character’s side. The image of the
man is slowed down and de-saturated to show the audience that he’s the target.
His skin turns a yellowy colour in the shot. The audience find out later that
the mutant feeds on the livers of his victims, and losing your liver can turn
your skin yellow, so there is a possible connection between the two.
When the man
enters the building, he is being filmed at a high angle, which is further
indication to the audience that he is being watched. The man is then framed in
mid-shot from behind. The director uses this mid-shot to suggest to the
audience that something is watching and following him. The red light above the
elevator shaft is significant as it has connotations of blood and violence. The
sound of the familiar plucked strings is used to tell the audience that the
mutant is in the building. The audience expect to see the killer emerging from
the shaft as the ropes are moving, but instead it cuts to the office which
builds up suspense for the audience. In the office, the man is in the light but
is surrounded by darkness, which suggests to the audience that he can’t see
fully around him. The items on his desk suggest he is a normal family man. He
undoes his tie which implies he has had a tough day and this also makes the
audience feel sorry for him. When he calls his wife, nobody picks up, making
his day even worse. This makes the audience feel even sorrier for him.
an atmosphere of trouble to the audience, the director has used the sound of
breathing and screws being unscrewed. The audience then see a close-up shot of
the vent and an arm emerging from it, but the identity of the person in the
vent is not revealed so the audience are kept in suspense. When the vent door
drops, it cuts back to the man making his coffee. From this, the character is
represented to the audience as the soon-to-be victim. There is a non-diegetic
crescendo as the man approaches his office so the audience will anticipate that
something’s going to happen. Again, the camera is behind the man and you can’t
see much around him. The camera eventually stops outside his office which
builds up suspense for the audience. The office is dark when he re-enters which
suggests an evil atmosphere. The attack is filmed in this way so the killer’s
identity won’t be revealed and so that the suspense is maintained for the
audience. In the final section, after the murder takes place, the camera pans
across the victim’s desk and shows the now-yellow skin of the victim through
the reflection. There is also blood visible on the desk which has connotations
of violence. The plucked strings now have a lower tone, and a diminuendo can be
heard, indicating that the killer’s work is done. There is another close up of
the vent and an arm tightening the screws. The close-up of the vent suggests to
the audience that this will be something of importance within the episode.
Later on, we see the globe taken from the victim’s office in Tooms’ nest.
The Wilhelm Scream is a very popular sound effect in film. It has appeared in over 200 films including Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and several Disney films. The name originates from the 1953 film The Charge at Feather River, when a character called Private Wilhelm is shot in the chest by an arrow and the iconic scream is heard. However, the very first use was in the 1951 film Distant Drums, when a man gets bitten and chomped by an alligator. The scream wasn't used much after that until 1977, when sound designer Ben Burtt incorporated it into Star Wars. Steven Spielberg also used it a lot in the Indiana Jones films
Without editing, everything you watched would be boring and repetitive.
Editing helps construct a narrative. Editing is so commonly used that we don't recognise it. Editing is normally invisible. Editing can be used to condense long, boring activities into quick bursts of visual information. The simplest edit is the cut. It is called this because in old-fashioned filmmaking, they found the best bits of footage and spliced them one after the other.
In the assassination scene in 'North by Northwest', after Roger Thornhill gets out of the car and enters the United Nations building, there are 26 edits. They are most frequent when Thornhill and Mr Townsend are talking.
In Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho', the pace of the editing in the shower scene when Marion is killed is fast to create tension and excitement. However, after her death, the editing becomes slower.
Dissolve - One scene dissolves into another, overlapping for a moment.
Fade in/Fade out - One scene fades out to black completely, then another fades in.
Wipes - One scene wipes across the screen, revealing or replacing the next one. This can happen in any direction.
Iris - The next scene replaces the last by appearing from the centre like the iris of an eye.
Jump Cuts - Two scenes that feature a common element right after one another, so something stays the same
The trailer for the 2012 horror film 'Sinister' involves a lot of quick fades to a black screen, dissolves and jump cuts.