Clown Train : A Sound Analysis

In the short film film Clown Train, sound does more than just contribute to the atmosphere of the film but I believe it establishes it. The initial 20 seconds, generally in many films an establishing shot of the setting or situation a black screen. In this time a train coming to halt can be heard with many screeches along the way, this not only establishing that the setting is on a train but immediately creating a very eerie, almost disturbing mood and truly getting the tension building.  As the main character comes into the picture seen from behind through a long shot seated on a train, a constant buzzing is heard in the background, when a quick cut to a close-up shows the face of the character and his confusion a synth drone sound can be heard; indicative of the character’s confusion, creating some dramatic tension, the audience able to concur that something is not right in this situation. This deep drone heard again as a quick cut to a p.o.v shot displays a creepy clown sitting on the opposite side of the train, the only other passenger on this train. The sound of the flickering of the trains lights going on and off, too adds to this dramatic tension. Even the voice of the actor playing the clown, being as deep as it and contrasting with that of the main character’s voice plays a key role in establishing the protagonist and antagonist and again adds towards the eeriness of the mood. The music that is used a classic horror movie sort of soundtrack of deep synth drones, really establishes the sort of film that it is, indicates that nothing good is going to follow and adds to the suspense which is being built. As the clown suddenly appears in the seat in front of the main character with a flicker of the lights, the music ends and higher synth drones are heard along with a sort of knocking, tinging sound; these higher pitched sounds increasing the tension and creating the sort of panic the main character is feeling. The creepier the situation gets, the faster and higher pitched the drones become; creating an anxiety to the mood. These sounds ending when the main character makes his move and gets off the train. Overall the use of sound through a combination of music and sound effects is truly is responsible for the amount of suspense and tension within the film; without it I highly doubt such an eerie, mysterious atmosphere could be created.


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