This week we are continuing with video and incorporating our audio as well and utilizing our host character. I started out the week reading the unit on making movies. I watched the film clip by Ken Burns where he discusses the intent for manipulation in storytelling. I was extremely moved by the sharing of his story about his mother and the realization that we are all trying to avoid the wolf at the door. This is all too real for me since my father passed away just this past labor day weekend and now my mother is ailing too. Storytelling is such an emotional journey. I poked around but did not find any information about movie credits and more complex audio and write ups; but I think I am doing okay. I am a novice and do not intend on doing anything too complex. In fact, since my computer was infected by a virus when I was downloading something for this course I lost everything. I am therefore not willing to attempt another download so I am using very basic tools that I have at my disposal already.
This week we were asked to watch some films and comment on the use of design. I have Netflix at home which I pay for and barely use, so I decided to put it to good use this week and view the Black Sabbath trilogy. Actually I found watching these old films to be a relaxing experience.
It started out with the story of a nurse who helps to dress a woman who died. The nurse takes a ring off the dead woman’s hand and is haunted by her ghost until she causes the nurse to die of what appears like she was “scared to death”.
Lighting was used to deliver a message; a flashing light outside of the nurses small apartment was likely intended to show she lived in a poor commercial area. Green lighting was used to make the face appear like it was glowing. Smoke was used to show the hot breath of the nurse and another woman when they were talking. This was intended to portray the house as cold. There was a particular design effort given to the hands – teeth – eyes of the dead woman; whe was not just dead, she was scary. Scary enough to haunt you.
The second film was about a beautiful young woman who gets a phone call from her dead boyfriend. He is threatening to kill her. She is so scared she called the woman she stole the boyfriend from and they make up. The scorned woman agrees to come over and calm the other woman. The end up staying the night together. The design is obviously intended to make you think the scorned woman is the killer and is seeking revenge on the other. She takes a knife from the kitchen and lighting is used to make the knife glisten. Her wardrobe is also implying is up to something since she is wearing gloves and doesn’t take them off right away. She offers to make some tea and when placing the tea bag into the cup joked about it being poison. The size and layout design of the apartment is used to keep all the scenes in one small space. It is an efficiency apartment with the bedroom and living room in the same space. I am not telling you how it ends you will have to watch it! It’s Mary Scary.
The last film is a vampire piece and it seems to go on forever. But it does use a lot of design features. The story is about a family whose father is a vampire. The grown children and grandchild eventually become vampires as well. But the story is the struggle between them as they fight to avoid such a fate. Costume design shows the father in dark clothes with a cape. White snow on the ground is used to contrast with blood stains, as well as, to show footprints for tracking. Sound is used with slow music during tender love scenes and loud/quick music during chase scenes. They even used blurred images to appear like you are seeing through the eyes of someone who is being hypnotized. And finally there was the use of lighting design, specifically for the grave yard. Light shined on cob webs so you could see them and dark areas of the graveyard were intended to make it seem like, well a graveyard at night.
Every profession has a set of ethical standards, or cannons, which it strives to follow in order to be a worthy endeavor. Even the profession of creative design, where the ideal of design is to think outside of the box of ordinary thinking or standard expectations. In the Vignelli Cannon by Massimo Vignelli, it says “Design without discipline is anarchy.” “Discipline is also an attitude that provides us with the capacity of controlling intent throughout rather than fragmentation.” So if it is your intent to be shocking, then be shocking, but do it in an organized fashion and not as a haphazard manner.
Even though Mr. Vignelli did most of his work in a pre-internet era, his view on creating design products that are effective seem to hold true. Think about simple online etiquette like not using all caps because it implies you are yelling. His insight into the use of only a few fonts and allowing for enough white space can certainly be pertinent ideas for the noisy internet space.
Mr. Vignelli is obviously passionate about design. His booklet seems like a valuable tool to anyone who is seriously considering a design profession. He gives you insight in a no nonsense delivery that provides you with tools and techniques you can use. He takes away any mystery about how design happens and leaves you with the a practical skills how to manual.
Well done Mr. Vignelli!
I am not very artistic but I think it would be fun to do an old fashioned talk radio storytelling. Something with creaking doors, slamming doors, blood curdling screams, gun shots. It could be introduced and closed by a host character. Something like The Twilight Zone in a radio story. Hey, maybe we could tell one of the Twilight Zone stories over the radio? Well that’s all I’ve got for now.
This weeks posts will be focused on writing and raving about things read.
The first thing I did this week was read a horror comic, Last Respects from Tales from the Crypt #3 and I left a comment on the site. The fictional horror story seems to be effective at startling its reader and the ending may even induce stronger feelings such as repulsion. It takes a situation that could be real and then leaves a sense of disgust while also leaving the reader to question, what would I do in that situation? The comic offered a great example of a host character, The Old Witch, pictured above. I will be creating a host character of my own this week, so it was nice to see an example.
I addition to reading, I watched a horror movie on youtube, from the Night Gallery: Certain Shadows on the Wall. The movie offered a metaphor for real live along with a supernatural event that was intended to startle the viewer. The metaphor was how a family member who claims to love and care for his sister actually had ulterior motives to harm her for the inheritance. The human character traits of greed and selfishness were dealt with by haunting the survivor with a constant shadow of his dearly departed sister on the wall. The culprits ultimate demise was played off as an accident, but was it really? He was sentenced to spend eternity as a shadow on the wall beside his sister. The morale to the story that selfishness and greed do pay. While I did not find the film to be scary or gory as some horror films can be, I enjoyed the film. It did story plot brought me to ponder the metaphor and message.
For this post I watched three old movies which used evil dolls to depict a horror story. As instructed, I am providing my review of these films.
I love the old Twilight Zone movies. The use of black and white film, the music and the narrator are epoch and make a great impact on the movies. The one I watched for this review was Living Doll. The Talky Tina doll is effective with her movement and voice for the era the movie was portrayed in. The dying scene at the end was not effective but the closing with music and narration was good as always for these films.
The Night Gallery movie entitled The Doll was in color but the version I watched was not very good quality and the lighting was poor. Again, I felt the use of the narration and music was effective. The actresses attempt to rationalize with herself to not be scared of the doll was good. The doll itself was not displayed much in the film and just appeared to be an old and dirty doll that didn’t do anything scary. The storyline intended to build up why the doll was scary seemed to drag on too long. Finally, the doll of the uncle at the end made me chuckle. I am certain this movie was much more horrifying when it was originally released and played in a better quality.
The final movie I viewed was, Amelia from the Trilogy of Terror, which was in color and set in a more recent decade, 60’s or 70’s maybe. The color quality and lighting of the version I watched was good. The music in this movie did not portray terror, it just didn’t seem to work for me. The doll itself was scary looking and the sounds it made worked well too. The actresses phone call to her mother was just annoying. Also, when the actress was trying to appear injured from the doll, the way she moved and held her head was just strange. This was one of those horror stories where you felt compelled to yell at the screen; “no don’t grab at the knife”, “why are you opening the case?” So that added some fun factor. The ending was good and the actress looked evil. Poor mother!
As for phobia’s, I do not have a fear of dolls (pediophobia), but I definitely have arachnophobia (I do not like spiders and such). I know phobia’s are real and not something to be made fun of, but the one I truly do not understand is barophobia (fear of gravity). I wonder if it is the same thing as a fear of falling? Now that one I understand.