Scaredy Nerds – Week 2
Silence Can Be Terrifying!
Welcome back Nerds, did everyone survive their first week on this ‘Journey Through Horror’? What did you think of the first selections. These films were the original pioneers of the Horror Movie genre and from the very beginning were masterfully using special effects and lighting to get audiences in the mood.
The Haunted Castle:
The worlds very first scary movie and it was a film that was crafted around expertly utilized special effects. In this short film we get a simple straight forward plot; the Devil is a dick and he likes to screw with people. A simple premise that could have been poorly executed and no one would have minded because it was the first attempt at something new, but that isn’t the case. The creative team behind this piece of art mastered their equipment and how it worked. So much so that we are presented a nearly seamless film with characters and objects appearing at the command of the Devil. It isn’t long or overly complicated, but its importance to the genre can not be overstated.
The very first version to ever be made of the Mary Shelley classic tale. This movie was another outstanding film showcasing some remarkable special effects. The two scenes that are most notable are the creation of the monster scene and the final scene with the mirror. In the monster creation scene we are shown Frankenstein’s monster come together in a manner that can best be described as “reverse melting”. I say that because it seems like they lit a corpse of fire, filmed it burning up, and then played it in reverse for the film. However they accomplished this effect it is a great unique take on the monster being created. The second moment, the mirror in the end of the movie, was either one of the most amazingly choreographed scenes ever or some of awesome camera trick. Don’t believe me, watch it again and tell me how you think they accomplished it
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Our first full length film and one of the first full length horror films ever was the 1920’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This movie was the story we all know, but even knowing the story I was surprised how brutal this version was. When Mr. Hyde commits his first murder it had an intensity that I was not expecting in a silent film. This film succeeds for two main reasons the make up and lighting. Of course the make up and transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde is significant. If the transformation wasn’t seamless or drastic enough the whole film would not work. The performance of John Barrymore was outstanding here and it was put over the top by the Mr. Hyde makeup which was subtle yet horrifying. But even the make up and performance would not be enough if the lighting did not properly set the mood. The lighting through out the entire movie was as much a character as anyone else communicated the mood of the scene brilliantly. If you haven’t watched this film yet then you are truly missing out on a masterpiece of cinema and a key foundational movie in the horror genre.
What did you think of our movies this week? Where you surprised by them or are you just waiting until we get to the blood and guts of the more modern films?
This Week’s Homework
The week we are staying in the 1920’s with two full length films that are some of the most influential films of the silent film era. The first movie Nosferatu is the first time a vampire is ever seen in a movie. Loosely based off of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This movie set the stage for future Vampire movies to come. The second movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of the original mind trip movies and needs to be seen to truly be understood. Both movies are important not just to our Journey Through Horror, but to all of cinema!
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari