horror

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Werner Herzog: The images found in vampire films have a quality beyond our usual experiences in the cinema. For me genre means an intensive, almost dreamlike, stylization of screen, and I feel the vampire genre is one of the richest and most fertile cinema has to offer. There is fantasy, hallucination, dreams and nightmares, visions, fear and, of course, mythology… For me, Nosferatu is the greatest of all German films…

Jacques Tourneur: Nothing is more fantastic than the human brain. Fear, horror, terror are in us. Rightly or wrongly, we all carry in us a feeling of guilt. Cruelty flows in our blood, even if we have learned to master it… Now, a good horror film is one that best awakens our old dormant instincts.

John Carpenter: Horror films are a universal genre in that they appeal to the entire world. Whereas, say comedy, that doesn’t really travel sometimes. But horror does. What scares somebody here in Los Angeles probably scares somebody in Hong Kong. People have tried for years to think ‘what is it that scares people and I’ll make a movie about that.’ Well, it’s not that simple… The question is: what is it that you have as a storyteller? What do you have to give to the audience that makes your story compelling?

Kiyoshi Kurosawa: I find ghosts in Japanese horror much more terrifying. In the standard American Horror canon, because a ghost violently attacks you or comes after you, at least you have the chance to fight back. And what you’re fighting for is the idea that you can beat the bad thing and go back to the good old days when you were peaceful and happy and there weren’t any ghosts hanging around. But if they don’t attack you then the best you can do is figure out a way to co-exist with them. I find the idea that one just has to live with this thing much more terrifying. You have no chances of running away or fighting it; you’re stuck with it forever.

David Wojnarowicz. Beautiful People.

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Beautiful People is one of the last films David Wojnarowicz made, like his controversial film, Fire in My Belly, left uncompleted at his death. Nevertheless, the film, unusual among his work for its clear narrative, stands as one of his best films. Filming his 3 Teens Kill 4 bandmate, Jesse Hultberg, as he gets up in drag in his small East Village apartment before heading through the city and out into the wider world, in Beautiful People Wojnarowicz sees “drag queens as true revolutionaries who fuck with visual codes of gender,” bringing the queer, East Village revolution to the streets of the city and beyond.

Are Romantic Comedies Dead?

What’s most profoundly wrong is the terrible, mean-spirited scripts that are getting made, that are making people feel justified in using “rom-com” as an eye-rolling insult, and we’ve got to stop that first. Stop saying “chick flick” like it’s “pile of rotten meat,” and stop saying “chick lit” and “chick book” and “chick movie” and anything else that suggests that love stories are less than war stories, or that stories that end with kissing are inherently inferior to stories that end with people getting shot. Or, if you believe they are and you want to continue believing that they are, stop pretending you’re open to romantic comedies getting better.

Are Romantic Comedies Dead?

Daryl Hannah as Pris in Blade Runner (1982)

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According to production designer Lawrence Paull, her punk outfits and make-up were inspired by a new wave calendar: “In late 1980, all of us threw a Christmas party in the art department,” Paull explains. “There were presents scattered everywhere. One was a wonderful calender of air-brushed, stylized portraits of new wave fashions – heavy rouge, different hair colors, features and clothes heavily accented. Sometime later Ridley stumbled across that calender and asked if he could borrow it for awhile. It wasn’t long before he had his head together with Charles Knode, who is one of the most resourceful costume designers I’ve ever met. The punk look then became the style for Pris and for some of the background extras on the street.”

Aki Kaurismäki

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"I’ll tell you why I’m so thrilled about colors. Ten years ago I was allowed to shoot in the staff restrooms of a grocery store. I had to squeeze two actors, the entire crew, equipment and lights—all into a room measuring 2×2.5 meters. It was not possible to paint the white wall. When I was making I Hired a Contract Killer in London, I went totally berserk. I realized that I could influence these things. Before that I had always been forced to shoot at supermarkets, between packs of sausages and cold storage equipment. With Killer I realized that I could put color on the walls, how wild this can be. All you need is a color chart in your pocket… [Edward] Hopper’s influence is quite strong. I like his austerity. The clear colors. I like playing with colors, extending them beyond reality.” [1996]

"The head is a big cooking pot in which all ingredients are haphazardly mixed: everything you have experienced, read, seen in films. Then you ladle it out with what I hope is some kind of logic. For instance, blue-gray is my basic set design color, and that is from Melville, and then I may add some red because a red teapot looks good in Ozu’s films. I just use a fire extinguisher because our tea ceremony is so underdeveloped." [2011]

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"In its iconography, Le Samouraï, like Le Doulos, multiplies Hollywood citations: the line-up at the police station, ‘lifted’ from The Asphalt Jungle, with Jef, like Dix (Sterling Hayden) staring down at police and witnesses, the police station offices, the black-and-white views of American fire escapes through Jef’s (sash) windows. These, however, are not examples of ‘copying’ or ‘reproduction’, as Tavernier and others would have it, but formal elements that are self-consciously reworked in Melville’s original design.” — Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris

F.W. Murnau

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"Simplicity! Greater and greater simplicity—that will be the keynote of the new films. Our whole effort must be bent toward ridding motion pictures of all that does not belong to them, of all that is unnecessary and trivial and drawn from other sources—all the tricks, gags, ‘business’ not of the cinema, but of the stage and the written book. That is what has been accomplished when certain films reached the level of great art. That is what I tried to do in The Last Laugh. We must try for more and more simplicity and devotion to pure motion picture technique and material.”