Film and TV1 – Clown Train soundscape

In the film Clown Train how does sound contribute to the atmosphere of this film? Describe what you heard? Can you make reference to another genre film and how they utilise sound to create tension and a unique filmic space?

Clown Train very effectively creates a tense, suspenseful atmosphere through the clever use of sound. Not only do the sound effects keep you on edge, but they also distract from the fact that the train is completely static, which could have made for a far less entertaining film. The sound effects conjure the feeling of isolation, anxiety and even nighttime in me as an audience member.

In Silence of the Lambs when Clarice tells Hannibal about why she left the range the sound effects used are particularly subtle but very effective. As Hannibal probes into Clarice’s memory we hear a hollow wind that let’s us know Clarice’s mind has gone back to that time, it also brings on the sense of isolation and fear she felt at that time and those emotions she still accesses through her nightmares.

Writing a script for Film and TV has made me realise how helpful production aspects like sound design and set design can be for guiding the audience to better understanding the character’s past and current motivations; essentially to reduce the exposition necessary in dialogue. I have become increasingly aware of the cues sound design is giving me which is great in terms of appreciating the craft and what thought goes into achieving the end result.


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