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Where the Horror Came From
Topic by: oldkingcole
Posted: October 30, 2002 - 12:24 AM PST
Last Reply: November 6, 2002 - 3:12 PM PST

author topic: Where the Horror Came From
post #1  on October 30, 2002 - 12:24 AM PST  
Wow, David. Great article! It had to be a lot of work to put that together. Kudos.

As far as later influences go, whenever I think of German Expressionism's "children", I always think of a couple of 1960's TV episodes directed by John Erman: "Nightmare" from the original Outer Limits series, and "The Empath" from the original Star Trek series. In the former, a group of earth soldiers are held as POWs on an alien planet. Actually, they're just four guys in a stark, harshly lit pit, with everything else receding into murky darkness. It's a great episode (one of my favorites) and the style of shooting leaves most of the "alien" environment to the viewer's imagination, which, of course, is *much* scarier than if they'd tried to actually depict it. "The Empath" is actually a rather similar tale, though not quite as well done.

Anyway, I enjoyed your article and just wanted to say so!

post #2  on October 30, 2002 - 7:23 AM PST  
Thanks, Ray! I know you've been busy lately, but it's great to see you back on the board again, discussing away. That LD -> DVD advice of yours is amazing. Somewhere around chroma and luminance, you lost me, but I hope it helps others out there.

But thanks for your kind words. Yes, I spent a little more time on it than originally planned [g], but there's still so much more to get into, naturally. You talk about German Expressionism's "children"; we'll get into some of that a bit more in a future piece on film noir, particularly the shapes of shadows, slashing stripes of light and shadow, the use of staircases, mirrors and windows, all that.

I haven't seen those episodes you mention, but they're on the list now. More immediately, my desktop background throughout this Halloween season has been this still from The Others. Just wonderful. We've got the staircase as a setting again, the shadow of the railing against the wall, tracing the descent of Kidman's character. She doesn't look back at her daughter, but can feel her behind her, prodding her conscience from the murky realm beyond the depth of field. Great stuff.
post #3  on October 30, 2002 - 10:44 AM PST  
Altogether, a very good article. I liked it so much that I researched more material on Nosferatu and Shadow of the Vampire. Lots of material out there. Can't wait to see the Malkovich/Dafoe pic!

In the category of too much information: Lenin lived down the street from the Dadaists. Florence Stoker was almost Mrs. Oscar Wilde.
post #4  on October 30, 2002 - 2:13 PM PST  
wdrazo wrote:

>Lenin lived down the street from the Dadaists.

Yes; do you happen to know Tom Stoppard's play Travesties? It's been so long since I've seen it, I vaguely remember it, but that could make for a lovely little chamber piece of a film. Not enough of those being made anymore.

>Florence Stoker was almost Mrs. Oscar Wilde.

Wow! I did not know that. Food for thought, definitely.
post #5  on October 31, 2002 - 7:54 PM PST  
Yes, that would make a great film. Seems there was a Germanic production for television in the late 70's. If Steven Peros who wrote a very funny film, Cat's Meow, can have a film made, Travesties can be brought to the screen. Director?: Peter Bogdanovich, Ken Russell, Todd Haynes, Jane Campion, Rosa von Praunheim, or Sally Potter. Cast suggestions?
post #6  on November 6, 2002 - 3:12 PM PST  
Ok, wdrazo, I've been thinking about this off and on over the last few days. I'm absolutely in full agreement with you on your nominations for the director, and if I had only one vote to cast, it'd either go to Sally Potter or Jane Campion.

Although all these gents are a bit old, here's a possible dream cast:

Henry Carr: Antony Sher, simply by virtue of the fact that he's played the role on stage and has received raves. (I told you I've been thinking about this; I've also done a little digging [g]). So he's the anchor.

Lenin: Malkovich. For several reasons. One is, I think he'd enjoy pulling it off and I don't doubt that he could. He's got that edge that's usually required only of actors in action flicks and thrillers: this constant underlying threat that the guy could blow at any moment. At the same time, he's got genuine intellectual appeal (a close cousin to sex appeal). And finally, because, hey, if we're going to sell this thing, we need a name.

Tristan Tzara: Robert Downey, Jr. I'm sorry, but this is non-negotiable.

James Joyce: Stephen Rea. Joyce simply cannot be played by an actor who is not Irish. Rea, as I say, may be getting on in years, but don't even come at me with Colin Farrell or something for James Joyce.

As for the ladies hoping to put on Earnest, here's the concept: they should be complete unknowns, snapped up from whatever's playing in the West End at the moment.

So, are we on the same page? Do we see a package coming together here, or what?

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