Analysis of the Psycho-Thriller genre with particular reference to Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction and Single White Female

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An analysis of The Psycho - Thriller Genre with particular reference to Basic Instinct (1992), Fatal Attraction (1987) and Single White Female (1992).

Genre goes back to the earliest forms of cinema and was seen as a way of organising films according to type. It wasn't until the 1960's that Genre was introduced into the use of main stream theory. The French critic André Bazin was actually already using the term in the 1950's when making reference to the western. Narrative involves the telling of real or fictitious events. Narrative refers to the codes and conventions, which includes the mise-en-scene. Narrative in cinema tends to follow a fairly standard set of rules.

The distinctive properties of a genre can be split into different categories. The narrative which includes similar plots and structures, predictable situations, sequences episodes, obstacles, conflicts and resolutions. Characterisation, which is where similar types of character perhaps even stereotype roles, are used, personal qualities, motivations, goals and behaviour.

Basic Themes, topics, subject matter which could vary from Social- Cultural to Morals- Values and what Stanley Soloman refers to as 'Recurrent patterns of meaning'

(Soloman 1995)

Settings and location which must also incorporate geographical and historical settings.

Some film Genres tend to be defined by their subject matter for example The Detective film and some by their settings for example The Western and others by their narrative form, The Musical. An advantage of Genres is that they can rely on the audience already having a knowledge and expectation about the film they are going to watch.

Film industries repeat generic formulas because they know that they 'work' but introduce new technologies that shift and modernise generic conventions. This is also holds true to audiences who have their own expectations of familiar genres but also that of change and innovation.