So, the last time I did a Breaking Genre post, I looked at Star Wars and considered whether it fit more as a Science Fiction or Fantasy series. This one won’t be as easy, in no small part because Halloween movies and Christmas movies aren’t quite genres? I mean, they are, but they aren’t. You wouldn’t say that A Christmas Carol is the same type of story as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, but they’re both “Christmas movies”. And that’s not to mention the huge gulf between Halloweentown and John Carpenter’s Halloween. What makes something a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie has almost more to do with the setting than most other genres, save historical fiction.
Just to recap, here are the categories I use to help define genre:
Who? — Characters and character archetypes. This is both generic stuff like “The Hero” and “The Mentor”, as well as more genre specific stuff, like “The Evil AI” and “The Hard-boiled Detective”.
What? — Plot. This covers the structure of the story itself, but also what other stories or ideas that the plot is based on.
Where? — Setting, or the place and time where the plot happens. Keep an eye on this one, it’s going to be a bit more tricky this time.
Why? — Themes or messages. It asks both why the plot happens, as well as why the story is being told.
How? — This covers some of the more technical aspects of the film-making process, but also the tone of the movie itself. How you tell a story is almost as important as why.
To help, I’ll be bringing in examples of both genres to help compare and decide, ranging from the traditional Universal Monster movies, to the classic Rankin-Bass specials. The film actually runs the gamut on that front, which is part of the reason it’s so hard to classify.
So, would you like to see something strange?