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.