Cliche: Movies

Lights, Camera, Cliche

Today I want to return to one of my favourite topics, Cliches!

As we’ve discussed before cliches can range from phrases to characters, to scenes, and beyond. They are an overused trope and often portray a lack of original thought.

Despite that clearly negative definition, there is a time and place for cliches, particularly around certain characters, as they allow an audience to gain an understanding and expectation very quickly. So, on occasion, a cliché can be a useful tool to impart information quickly. Though it is best used sparingly and if used in relation to characters it should only be applied to very small, very side characters.

With that out of the way, today I want to talk to you about cliches specific to horror films. That’s not to say they never turn up in books, comics or games but they are far more likely to be encountered in the film where the run time is limited.

These tropes have been called out again and again and have even been turned into ‘rules’ for surviving horror movies. Scream was a good film for looking at the ‘rules’ as was Cabin in the Woods (an awesome film go watch it now).

On a slightly less ‘fun’ note a lot of these tropes have negative connotations such as racial (black people usually dying first) and sexist (women constantly being portrayed objectively), I’m trying to keep things light-hearted so won’t be going into this but I didn’t want you to think I was totally ignoring it either. Some tropes aren’t just lazy, they bloody suck.

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Cliches: Characters

Lazy writing?

Do you remember when I used to write to you about cliches? I’d like to do that again, in part because it’s a lot of fun, in part because you seemed to enjoy it (and I crave positive feedback) and in part because I enjoy having a good bitch about things.

Not all cliches are lazy writing, they can actually be bloody useful when used properly (and sparingly), they are a good way to set audience expectations when you don’t have the time or space to dedicate to establishing something.

However, as I said above, this should be used sparingly and in specific circumstances, such as for low screen time side characters who serve a singular purpose and are there and gone again quickly. After all no one wants to spend ages establishing a character when they are only going to do what the creator needs them to then disappear.

Clichés become lazy writing when they are used for main or significant characters, places, plot points etc.

Previously I’ve focused my rants on specific topics, but today I want to cast a wider net, so where previously I did a blog about male characters, female characters etc today I want to touch on three clichés that affect characters as a whole.

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