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How to Write a Horror Film: The Awakening (2011) and Development Practices in the British Film Industry

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This article reveals how screenwriter Stephen Volk's idea for a sequel to The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton) became, over the course of fifteen years, the British horror film The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy). It examines practitioner interviews to reflect on creative labour in the British film industry, while also reorientating the analysis of British horror film to the practices of pre-production, specifically development. The research reveals that female protagonist Florence Cathcart was a major problem for the project and demonstrates how the Florence character changed throughout the development process. Repeatedly rewritten and ultimately restrained by successive male personnel, her character reveals persistent, problematic perceptions of gender in British horror filmmaking.
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Keywords: British cinema; The Awakening; gender; horror film; screenwriting; script development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of York

Publication date: 01 May 2016

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