Movie clichés and camera angles

dead-bunny-raised-hand-vignette My Dead Bunny is my latest book. It’s a tongue-in-cheek picture book about a zombie pet rabbit. My illustrations took a lot of inspiration from movies.

I’ve already written about how one scene was almost an homage to The Shining, and how the family home was inspired by a farmhouse from The Walking Dead.

Today I’m writing about how some illustrations were inspired by clichés and camera angles used in film.

The Dutch Angle (aka Dutch Tilt)


This is the family home as described in last week’s post. You might notice that the camera is on a weird angle here. In film it’s called a ‘Dutch Angle’ or ‘Dutch Tilt’; it’s used to give a feeling of weirdness, confusion or drama. I used it here to reflect the sister’s madness – and also so I could fit the whole house in.

In Terry Gilliam’s film 12 Monkeys, many scenes take place inside an asylum, and most are shot using Dutch Angles.

12 monkeys dutch tilt

Dutch Angles were also used A LOT in the Batman TV series from the 1960s.

batman1966_dutch tilt

The Grave POV shot


The grave point-of-view shot is used a lot for funeral scenes, often with dirt being piled onto the camera. It gives a feeling of claustrophobia and can help you to see the emotional reactions of all the characters at once. It’s used on the poster for the black comedy Death at a Funeral.


The Mirror Scare

One of the most popular scary movie cliches is the ‘mirror scare‘. It’s where someone opens their bathroom medicine cabinet, and when they close it, a figure is standing behind them. There are variations too: sometimes it’s a reflection in a window, and other times there is no reflection at all – the main character opens the door of a fridge or a kitchen cabinet instead. I took that cliché and presented it in a hallway. Looking back now, I have no idea why I didn’t set it in a bathroom so it was a proper mirror scare – oh well! dead-bunny-final-closeup

Here it is used in Shaun of the Dead.

Shaun of the Dead mirror scare

The Raised Hand of Survival

At least that’s what TV Tropes calls it. The hand coming out of the grave is a well-worn cliché of zombie films – so naturally we had to use it in My Dead Bunny.

dead-bunny-raised hand

Here it is used in Kill Bill.

raised hand of survival kill bill


For more on camera angles, check out this fantastic guide put together by Empire Magazine – The 30 Camera Shots Every Film Fan Needs to Know.


MDB_cover-400pxBuy ‘My Dead Bunny’ now

Booktopia (Australia)
Readings (Australia)
Dymocks (Australia)
Angus & Robertson (Australia)
Book Depository (UK)

Author: James Foley

James Foley makes children’s books for children who read books. If you’re a child and you’re eating his books, you’re doing it wrong. His books include Brobot, Dungzilla, Gastronauts, Chickensaurus, Toffle Towers, My Dead Bunny and There's Something Weird About Lena. James lives in Perth with his wife, 2 kids, and a labrador. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd and comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at .

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