Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Film: Halloween, 1978, John Carpenter

Halloween is a masterpiece of horror/ suspense genre in the 70s directed by John Carpenter with a low- budget, beautifully masters the subject view of a psychopath. The plot take us into the life of Michael Myers that at the age of 6 stabbed his older sister to death, while baby-sitting him. After 15 years enclosed in a psychiatric hospital, Myers finally in a attempt to escape, he succeeds and begins to spread the chaos in his hometown Haddonfield. While in his horrifying visit to his hometown, he starts to terrorize and kill the teenagers around seeking for revenge, but from who?? -Laurie and friends are on the blacklist.
When Dr. Loomis realises Myers escaped, He starts a man pursuit to bring him back to the institution or even kill him.

Halloween is the 70s film that suffered more remakes in cinema, however the original is the best as it uses the perfectly the mechanics of classical suspense genre, as it stated by David Kehr, film reviewer in the Chicago Reader, 'As a homicidal maniac stalks the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois, Carpenter displays an almost perfect understanding of the mechanics of classical suspense; his style draws equally (and intelligently) from both Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.' yes, Carpenter's gave good usage of techniques used in Hitchcock's Psycho.
The lack of information given to the spectator or not of why Michael is going after those specific teenagers is unknown until the release of Halloween Sequel, which gives a immense level ambiguity to the film. the 'blood-free scenes' of the killings,where almost any blood is spilled, shows the difference of a gory with 'rivers' of blood in a scene,and a more subtle way, where most of the victims are strangled, with no much blood shown, it was opted by Carpenter's to create a more thrilling suspense.
Although it doesn't belong much to the uncanny subject, I though it had a lot to do with it, more specifically in the end, where Laurie was afraid of the neighbourhood she always lived in, these uncanny feeling, and agreeing with tutor phil, is once again felt right in the end, where the still shots of the rooms in the house with dark contrasts conveys the idea that a secure home no longer exists provoked by a immortal, a force, Michael.
Finally, the sexually reference of American teenagers presented in the film, really influences this film, as the pure, virgin, good girl, survives and the sinners or bad people die, this concept was taken in time and adopted to more recent films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.
The only thing, I didn't enjoy in the film was the over-use of the soundtrack, Although is a good soundtrack in some places I found unnecessary to build the suspense as the scene itself was already strange or creepy.


tutorphil said...

Online Interim Review 15/12/09

Hey there Ruben,

Another rich and encompassing body of research and development work that gives me every confidence that your final image will be staged effectively. You respond enthusiastically to feedback and to the cultural programme and make connections and 'join-the-dots'.

We're nearly at the halfway point of year one, and you are equipping yourself well; in terms of your final concept, I know you're working hard to ensure that it is authentic, well-referenced and very atmospheric; remember that there is a real delicacy and lightness of touch required here, so don't be afraid of pulling back a little if necessary.

The idea of a desolate, Victorian hospital corridor has lots of potential, so I look forward to seeing your resolution. (Halloween II (the original sequel)) makes good use of a deserted hospital - indeed, it's the best thing about a rather shoddy follow-up). For more creepy hospitals, you should check out Lars Von Trier's series Kingdom Hospital and the Stephen King remake - both trailers below


Be sure to post screen-shots etc. as you build your scene from basic model to final scene; I want you to be as completist and comprehensive as possible; put a post-it note on your computer monitor with a reminder to create lots of 'behind-the-scenes' material for posting on your blog: I want to see everything!

Regarding your essay - CG imagery and the Uncanny effect is very topical: what I suggest you do is literally gather together many reviews of The Polar Express etc. until you have lots of 'evidence' for the film's spooksome reputation; there will be articles about it too - so gather it all together, and then weave your discussion from the evidence.

Please see the next 2 posts for more general info re. the written assignment.

tutorphil said...

Written assignment Unit 3 Part 1

Consider carefully the following learning outcomes for your essay and structure your assignment accordingly. You must demonstrate:

1) Knowledge and understanding of ‘the Uncanny’.

You should begin your essay by defining ‘the uncanny’ in theoretical terms (i.e. according to Sigmund Freud, Jentsch, and anyone else with a helpful or clear definition). You will be expected to include a quoted source by which to demonstrate your understanding; the essay, ‘The Uncanny’ by Freud is rich in useful observations – so use it; you’ll want to consider the concept of the ‘unheimlich’ and the sorts of motifs/artefacts that create the uncanny experience.

2) A developed ability to engage in research.

At this stage of your course, you are expected to research your subject area in order to enrich your discussion and corroborate your analysis. No essay at this stage should be written ‘off the top of your head’ or without a clear research agenda. Research might include a variety of film reviews, artist statements, images, books, critiques and articles. Research requires that you READ and take notes! For instance, if you are looking at Invasion of the Body-Snatchers in relation to the uncanny, first cross-reference lots of reviews/articles about the film. Make a note of any recurrent terms or ideas and when you come across a term you don’t understand or are unfamiliar with – investigate it! Try google searching associated terms together– for instance ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers & uncanny’ – as you may find research material that relates very specifically to your discussion.

There are no short-cuts to an intelligently written assignment – focused research = successful essays; without research and a body of evidence, your essay is simply ‘chat’ and of no academic significance. Be significant!

3) The ability to synthesise a range of research applied to arguments.

Put more simply, this means that once you’ve completed your research and gathered together your key ideas, you are then able to use them to ‘unpack’ your chosen subject; think of your research as a precision tool-kit especially selected by you to ‘dismantle’ your case-study or studies (i.e. the film, image, programme, artwork you’ve chosen to discuss)

4) The ability to clearly and academically communicate ideas.

This is all about your writing style and your ‘voice’ – too many of you are writing as if you’re talking, and it’s a habit you need to lose asap in this context. So you must avoid slang and clich├ęs; you’re not on the street or down the pub, you’re in a formal space with formal conventions.

Avoid the first person; instead of writing ‘I think that Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers is about the fear of conformity’, consider instead ‘It is arguable that Invasion of the Body-Snatchers is about the fear of conformity’.

tutorphil said...

Written assignment Unit 3 Part 2

Please don’t ‘narrate’ your own research – for instance ‘I looked on the internet and found this interesting article’ – No! No! No! Your reader doesn’t give a damn about ‘how’ you came by your research – just use it effectively and formally.

Punctuation – please use it! Try proof-reading your paragraphs out loud – if you’re gasping for breath by the end of them, you’re in serious need of some full-stops, commas and semi-colons. If you’re uncertain how to use them properly please visit http://www.grammarbook.com/english_rules.asp - and that goes for apostrophes too!

Capitalisation – all film titles, book titles, artist names etc – should be capitalized every time you include them; Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover etc… Likewise, when first referring to a film please include director and release date.

Footnotes are NOT to be used to reference quotes within the body of the essay; use Harvard Method. Footnotes can be used to include additional information external to the main body, but useful for the reader’s broader understanding of the subject area.

Italicize your quotations!

Double-space your document!

If you refer to something visual as part of your argument – you must include a supporting illustration as supporting evidence.

Finally – PROOF-READ your assignments before submission; I am not an English teacher so don’t want to be forever correcting spelling mistakes, typos or ‘right’ words wrongly substituted by a spellchecker. Make time to polish your written work, as you would your creative project work.

Good luck!

Ruben Alexandre said...

Thank you phil!

the feedback is real helpful, im checking the videos right now...
when you mean behind the scenes, is it a kind stage by stage of what I draw and model at the same time. e.g. draw- model- texture- light and camera all of that, and show how I am battling the problems.. through Screen shots??

Ruben Alexandre said...

thank you phil for highlighting those 2 series, I was searching for some series around hospitals, not like 'House' or 'Grey's Anatomy' but something rather more supernatural.
I lost my head and open my pockets and bought the for seasons of Stephen's King Kingdom hospital for 13 £... bargain hunt :)