PDA

View Full Version : Best Cinematography in a Modern Horror Film


swr2777
09-09-2001, 11:03 PM
Hey, what do you all think qualifies as well-photographed horror film? Aside from some of the more widely-publicized uses of lighting or cinematography in a horror film (such as Luciano Tovoli's work in SUSPIRIA), there are so many modern horror films in which the camerawork plays such an essential role in our appreciation of them altogether. Sometimes the camerawork makes an already great film a classic, makes a mediocre one worth seeing, or makes a more straightforward thriller even more horrifying through effective or atmospheric lighting choices.

These are a few of my favorites. Which of these do you all most prefer? I'd love to know what other suggestions you all might have as well.

Andrew
09-10-2001, 02:24 AM
I say Tenebre. The camera work is excellent in that movie, especially the building-climbing scene.

swr2777
09-10-2001, 02:49 AM
The camerawork in TENEBRE *IS* terrific! I always loved that bright, solar lighting design, and the way it enables the film to be one of the few in the genre that actually makes daylight or brightly lit settings just as terrifying as those in the dark. Also, it seems like the use of such a bleached out lighting design actually gives the occasional dark moments more of a visual signficance that they wouldn't have had in most other horror films. ...and of course, gotta love those fancy, elaborate camera moves!

Excellent choice!

Hellbilly
09-10-2001, 04:32 AM
...sure as hell got some nice camera work, i just love those "gimmick" stuff in de Palmas movies. like his famous split screen shots, the way the camera moves through the museum, the way the camera moves to the showering Angie Dickinson...

...its just classic camera work at its best, with lotz of style!

swr2777
09-10-2001, 04:41 AM
Amen! Couldn't agree with you more...

Of course, the camerawork in DePalma's films is always first-rate, but DRESSED TO KILL has such a unique look that really separates it from the rest of his work. I don't know how to describe it, but the lighting, camera movements, and compositions are unusually pristine and have a look all their own. The museum sequence alone is enough of a reason to fall in love with the film's imagery, as are all those fabulous split-screens, split diopter shots, glazen lighting effects, etc. Both within the horror genre and across the boards, you can't get much better than Bode's work in this film.

Sarouk
09-15-2001, 12:46 AM
I thing it's hard to beat the camerawork in 'Tenebre'. It's my personal favourite. Like someone pointed out the building-climbing scene is great.

Yowie
09-15-2001, 01:24 PM
I was never all that impressed with the so-called building-climbing scene in "Tenebre", even when seen in letterbox. That's part of the reason why I think that movie's original aspect ratio is actually 2.35:1 Technovision, and not 1.85:1 as presented on the AB DVD. I just think a perfectionist like Argento would make sure such an elaborate shot would take it all in, and be clearly visible. P.S. I voted for "The Elephant Man".

swr2777
09-15-2001, 04:35 PM
It's really good to see someone who appreciate the dense, beautifully atmospheric camerawork in THE ELEPHANT MAN. Freddie Francis, all told, is definitely one of the greatest cameramen who ever lived.

As for TENEBRE, I of course love the gorgeous lighting and slick set-ups, but I will admit that the panoramic shot around the outside of house is a little awkward in moments. Surely this was due to the difficulty in setting up such an elaborate shot though, but said difficulty is somewhat noticable.

I know what you mean about the suspiciousness of TENEBRE's actual aspect ratio. Judging from what I've seen in both the pan-and-scan VHS versions and the more recent Roan Group LD and Anchor Bay DVD, my own impressions are that TENEBRE was shot in 1.66:1 and then masked slightly to 1.85:1. There is however the whole issue that film was apparently "filmed in Technovision," which would make it 2.35:1. The only explanation I can think of for that is how, sometimes a film's credits will list the movie as having been shot in whatever process is exclusive to the camera equipment used (i.e. "Filmed in Panavision, Filmed in Technovision, etc."). Yet, in some cases, this isn't indicating a literal cinemascope process used, but is merely noting whatever type of camera was used. For example, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was clearly shot in 1.85:1, but because Panavision cameras were used, the credits say "Filmed in Panavision," erroneously giving the impression that the film was shot in scope. Same with PHENOMENA, which is apparently 1.66:1 while the credits say "Filmed in Panavision."

Yet, it's so difficult nowadays to even tell what the hell aspect ratio something was shot in anyways. So many different studio labels mask things off variably, sometimes taking compositional liberties that they shouldn't or giving a false impression of what the film's actual aspect ratio is. Over the years, I've seen various clips of INFERNO, TENEBRE, PHENOMENA, and OPERA all letterboxed at 1.66:1, 1.85:1, or masked off at 2.35:1. If only they'd leave stuff alone sometimes...

Wermode
09-18-2001, 11:38 PM
Of Argento's films, I like Ronnie Taylor's work in Opera best.

Of the choices above, I went with The Exorcist: the angles, the lighting, the atmospheres of the colliding worlds...it's all so good.

PELOQUIN
09-25-2001, 08:09 PM
se7en, exorcist good ambience but the cine with tenebre was off the chart for the time and the final result...hummm...so good!

:D

Yowie
09-27-2001, 08:25 AM
I didn't know it said "filmed in Panavision" in the "Phenomena" credits, but that's because I have never even seen the damn movie !. Anyway, it's either a misprint (afterall it is an Italian movie, as far as I know) or it means it's actually a 2.35:1 movie cropped to 1.66:1. It happens you know, and more often than we like. -Especially on TV they crop movies to shit, in paticular Scope movies, and present them 1.85:1. Many networks (foolishly) think their audience doesn't like letterboxed presentations, and I suspect some video companies speculate in this too. -Yes, even our holy fathers from AB. Call me paranoid, but my advice is, quite literally, don't believe everything you see.

Mattster
09-29-2001, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by Yowie
I didn't know it said "filmed in Panavision" in the "Phenomena" credits, but that's because I have never even seen the damn movie !. Anyway, it's either a misprint (afterall it is an Italian movie, as far as I know) or it means it's actually a 2.35:1 movie cropped to 1.66:1. It happens you know, and more often than we like. -Especially on TV they crop movies to shit, in paticular Scope movies, and present them 1.85:1. Many networks (foolishly) think their audience doesn't like letterboxed presentations, and I suspect some video companies speculate in this too. -Yes, even our holy fathers from AB. Call me paranoid, but my advice is, quite literally, don't believe everything you see.

It's interesting that you say that. In a review of the new French DVD of Phenomena, the reviewer states that the film has more information on the left and right than the Anchor Bay DVD and as much on the top and bottom. The French DVD is Anamorphic Widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.77:1.