Group 1: Dark Summer

Preliminary Group 2C: Pens

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Analysis of American Psycho Opening Sequence

Firstly, as common with nearly all opening sequences, the production company is shown, establishing the film's identity. The next title is 'Lions Gate Films Present' which reiterates the production company's involvment and brand image.
The thriller/horror genre is made clear from the begining, when we see the drop of blood. The music used is very effective, as it fits the action that we see on screen. The timing is impeccable, and I would like to try fitting music to images like this in our own piece.

The simplicity of just showing a plain background with titles in a plain font with random drops of blood is clever - the audience focus either on the words in front of them or the blood, which connotes murder and passion, which is significant as it relates directly to the plot. Furthermore the music is frantic which signifies Bateman's behaviour and the nature of the genre.

As the blood lands we see the title 'American Psycho'. This is highly important - the font, colour and size must be significant and suit the style of film. I feel that the title in this film look good on screen - as the blood fades away, we are still left with 'American Psycho' which leaves an imprint in the viewer's mind; they will remember it.

The colour red is used alot - the connotations associated with this colour are similar to that of blood - sin, pain, passion, anger etc
Next, we see the lead actor's name. This establishes identity as well as crediting the actor with his peformance. The audience are given something which they are familiar with, as at the time Christian Bale was quite well known. Also, the fact that the knife appears when Bale's name does could be hinting at the fact that he is the murderer, as the audience will soon find out.

Another big name is Willem Defoe. As we see his name, a raspberry drops through the shot. What was once blood is now fruit. The play on signifiers catches the audience's attention, confusing them as to why there is a change in information given.

We then another name and a plate on a table in a restaurant. The gory imagery of blood and knives, connoting murder and passion have now become lavish, expensive looking meals which are which is supposed to be seen by the characters.

Overall, the opening scene of American Psycho is very effective. It releases important signifiers to the audience so that  it is clear from the beginning that this will be a horror film. Furthermore, the inversion of horrific images into pleasant ones is very clever as this idea plays on the main character - he is cruel and twisted yet appears perfect. 
I think that looking at openings like this I will be able to gain some understanding in techniques we could use for our own sequence. For example, we are using red props to signify the horror genre but we will also think about titles; 
  • What will actually be included? 
    • Titles themselves - actors, people working on the film etc.
  • In what order?
  • Need to think about fonts, colours
    • American Psycho used a black and white simple font - these contrasted against the background so that they were easy to read.
    • Do we want to have a plain font?
    • Red? Black? White? - and what will these colours represent?