Thursday, 26 May 2011

Rear Window 1954

It’s Hitchcock, what more can be said, still one of the greatest thriller directors and one of the main re-inventors of horror in the industry. The film is about an injured photographer who is wheelchair bound until he has recovered his injuries. Soon he becomes very interested in watching his neighbours and becomes convinced that he witnessed a murder. Very strong Hitchcock narrative.

What is great about this film, like many of Hitchcock films, is that he is flattering towards the audience who pay close attention and watch the film a few times. With every watch you’ll spot a new clue which seemed hidden before. These moments are the ones which get the audience very involved into the thriller because they feel like they are apart the mystery. I wouldn’t say that the film is a psychological horror but it is most defiantly psychological. It always keeps the audience guessing and thinking which a true thriller should.

Following in the similar footsteps as the other films which we watched, it’s a film about those who are closest to us, using both meaning s of the word the family and distance sense. It is a film about watching out and helping one another through day to day life. In a way that’s where the ‘horror’ of this film lies in the continuing distancing that humans have between one another.

When looking into psychological horror it is hard and almost impossible to say what scares each one of us because we all have our own fears. For example for me I guess the reason that silent moment in ‘The Haunting’ still scares me is because I listen to loud, aggressive music . So when that silence appears it frightens me because it is not what I want or expect. I think to make psychological horror successful you can only do and force feed the audience so much, until you audience need to start thinking for and about themselves. ‘In a blank room take away a man’s clothes, hair, style, identity and possessions, and they will be terrified of what they truly see.’ (The Suffering, P.54)

The Haunting 1963

Personally, I am a huge fan of classic horror from the beginning of the 1930’s through to the mid 60’s, this film is one of my all-time favourites. Being one of the last true black and white classic horror, what better film to end with than ‘The Haunting’. The story so such a classic old horror tale of a doctor and friends going to Hill House for prove there are such things as ghosts.

The film truly uses the most to the forgotten art of black and white film by having very gorgeous thick visuals. Great depths and stark jet black shadows creates fantastic atmosphere for a haunted house tale. It is filmed so well that as an audience member you are always looking around the corners and into shadows just to make sure everything is ok and settle your nerves. This is what the horror is here and one of the most common and oldest fears, alone with ghosts!

One of the final scenes just sums up the films great direction for me. When Eleanor is making her way up the old crooked spiral stairs. She’s hearing voices once again and now she has to know if there truly is a ghost up in the attic. Making her way up the stairs followed by a beautifully progressive score, the shadows become thicker and darker. The doctor is following behind but the stairs are unstable. She is moving faster and closer to the top and the wining becomes louder along with the score. Finally at the top the doctor grabs her and she comes out of her trace and falls into the doctors arms. As they make their way down the stairs the ghost of Mrs Marquay doesn’t shout or scream but just filters through the darkness and just stares.

This moment as a child petrified me. I found the silence of her movement so haunting. The witnessing of a ghost in this film is done with true perfection.

The Tenant 1976

If there is a director who has created arguably the greatest psychological horrors ever made within the film industry it would be Roman Polanski. With such as ‘Rosmary’s Baby’ under his belt he is instantly one of the best at tension, suspense, dark and surreal horror films.

Polanski himself plays Telkovsky in this film, a young man looking for an apartment in France. When he finally finds one, he discovers that it is empty because the previous tenant, Simone Choule, attempted to kill herself by falling out of the window. Simone dies from the fall and Trelkovsky begins to become obsessed with her, until to the point of believing that her death was caused by the rest of the tenants in the building.

What makes the films so successful (like many of Polanski’s film) is how nothing ever really happens, but it is through his excellent direction he creates the tension. With small changes always being made he achieves this. For example throughout the film the camera gets closer and closer to Tellovsky which pushes isolation into the characters and the audiences faces. Also the film holds a lot of tension from the very beginning by Polanski’s very wooden and tense performance. At first it looks like bad acting but when you realise all actors have this style you are able to tell it is another one of the director’s brilliant ways of created awkward high tension.

A film such as ‘The Tenant’ is not a horror films which is memorable for its gore or shock moments but the deep psychological effects it has on its audience which are fantastic. Much like ‘The Shining’ the films makes you very wary of those around you and to watch closer on them. This is done by a famous Polanski setting, an apartment building.

Polanski also writes the perfect script for this film. There are many haunting undertones which certain characters say such as ‘No, the neighbours are no trouble. I rarely see them’ - ‘good I prefer it that way.’ Little moments like this occur with every character which help to create this very strange connection between character and that they all have something to hide.

The Shining 1980

‘The Shining’ has become one of the all-time classic horror films. There are quotes and moments that no one can forget from that film and also techniques which so many horror directors used in today’s film within the genre.

Originally being a Stephen King book and the film is of the same name and follows the book very much how it was written and was directed by Stanley Kubrick. It’s the story of a man a woman and their son. The father is a writer and alcoholic and the son seems to hold physic powers involving the past and future. Together they go to an isolated hotel out in the snow for the winter to get away from everyday life in general.

The most famous scene, or one of, is ‘here’s Jonny’. This scene holds a lot of psychological horror for the audience to take in, especially for the era when it was released. At the time for constant slasher films, to have a very realistic horror was refreshing and also very effective. There are two ways in which the horror is at its strongest during this scene. Firstly the films score. ‘The Shining’ has a very dark underlying score which really helps to create the awkward and unnerving atmosphere which the films hold very tightly throughout. The deep cello’s constantly playing through and what makes the score new for a horror film is the lack of BAM, BAM, BAM which Hitchcock made so famous within the genre.

The second is the real time slow pace of which the scene happens. In most horrors the editing is fairly fast and keeps up the tension. With this scene the notorious bathroom moment when Jack is smashing down the door he was using a real axe. This gives the audience a strong sense of reality because with every smash on the door you can see wife’s face get filled with more and more fear as her fate get every step closer. This idea of your own family turning on you instead of an exaggerated 7foot killer, is what makes ‘The Shining’ so successful.

My Final Image.
My Final Image.
My Final Image.