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Old September 9th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #1
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Scary & Suspensful Cinematography to Mimic?

Alright, he's a question for all you film buffs out there. I would like to learn more about filming scary and suspensful scenes through the act of imitating other movies, directors, etc. I'm looking for shot ideas, angles, lens tricks, lighting tricks, etc. I'm not looking for blood and gore. So anyone have any suggestions in the way of old (or new) movies that you feel could be used as a "classroom" of sorts to get new ideas on this front. The obvious movies would probably be by Hitchcock. Even so, which Hitchcock film? And what other films can you think of in this genre? Thanks in advance for your thoughts...
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Old September 9th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #2
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Less is more sums up suspensful filmmaking.

Personally, I wouldn't study films if you're looking for emotional responses from your audience. Real life is much better at giving you ideas for how to film.

Think about what makes you scared, dreams you've had that woke you up frightened, ask others what scares them and I'd also put yourself in a scary situation so you actually feel scared and remember it...write it down.

Just my opinion, but go for realistic and not manufactered. I'd prefer to be scared with LESS than more. I think Jaws is the classic film to look at...the film scares the HELL out of people and it's just a film. Why? Less is more..

Oh, Blair Witch scared the HELL out of my girlfriend at the time. She thought it was real until I told her it wasn't...but, that's a little hard to do after they already did it. Again, the less is more approach...nothing is actually in the film except the actors trying to get away. I'd even say that Blair Witch is the #1 movie of all time where what's scary is never seen on screen...ever! There are a lot of people that say Blair Witch is the scaries film of all time.

If you're looking for techie talk on scary scenes...I'd pickup a Cinematographer book. I'll read them sometimes and pickup little techie things...using fog, lighting techniques, using sound instead of visuals to scare people.

This is a really good topic to discuss because it's almost Halloween! Rent that film if you haven't seen it yet...Halloween is a classic too.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #3
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I agree with JAWS too!
Also, look once at the original japanse RINGU (American remake: The Ring). Scared the hell out of me (saw the original first, and that's a big deal) and with was does he scare you? Sound and frame, nothing more, no special fx (exept for a few)
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Old September 9th, 2005, 04:21 PM   #4
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I'll just give you a list of movies to watch...maybe you haven't seen a few of them.

28 Days Later
The Ring
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Nosferatu (primative, but very scary...though, I'm sure you've seen it)
Run Lola Run
Night of the Living Dead (Romero)
Arachnophobia
The Silence of the Lambs
Evil Dead 2 (Evil Dead 1 was basically the same story with a lower budget)
Seven (Se7en)
The French Connection (That guy also did 'To Live and Die in L.A.' which is ok)
Jaws
The Exorcism
The Shining (Kubrik...you should like this as far as cinematography is concerned)
Blade Runner
Tremors (yeah, it's a campy flick, but who doesn't love it?)
Deliverance (one of my favorites - if you haven't seen it, you have to)
Outbreak
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Vertigo (my favorite Hitchcock)
Wait Until Dark
Marathon Man
Memento
City of God
Ghost Dawg: the Way of the Samurai
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Conversation (Coppola)
L.A. Confidential

I think that's a good start. You've probably seen a lot of them, though.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Vaughan
I'll just give you a list of movies to watch...maybe you haven't seen a few of them.

The Shining (Kubrik...you should like this as far as cinematography is concerned)
If you had to narrow that list down to one film, that would be it, IMHO.



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Tremors (yeah, it's a campy flick, but who doesn't love it?)
My favorite movie of all time.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 07:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher C. Murphy
Think about what makes you scared, dreams you've had that woke you up frightened, ask others what scares them and I'd also put yourself in a scary situation so you actually feel scared and remember it...write it down.
That's exactly what Stephen King answered when asked where he came up with his story ideas. He basically said he dreams that stuff at night. At the time I saw this interview, he said he didn't allow his children to see his films. This was several years ago.

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Old September 9th, 2005, 07:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Vaughan
I'll just give you a list of movies to watch...maybe you haven't seen a few of them.

28 Days Later
The Ring
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Nosferatu (primative, but very scary...though, I'm sure you've seen it)
Run Lola Run
Night of the Living Dead (Romero)
Arachnophobia
The Silence of the Lambs
Evil Dead 2 (Evil Dead 1 was basically the same story with a lower budget)
Seven (Se7en)
The French Connection (That guy also did 'To Live and Die in L.A.' which is ok)
Jaws
The Exorcism
The Shining (Kubrik...you should like this as far as cinematography is concerned)
Blade Runner
Tremors (yeah, it's a campy flick, but who doesn't love it?)
Deliverance (one of my favorites - if you haven't seen it, you have to)
Outbreak
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Vertigo (my favorite Hitchcock)
Wait Until Dark
Marathon Man
Memento
City of God
Ghost Dawg: the Way of the Samurai
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Conversation (Coppola)
L.A. Confidential

I think that's a good start. You've probably seen a lot of them, though.
Nice list. Thanks. I'll have to say 28 Days freaked me out more than a couple of times the first time I saw it. And if were talking gore flicks, how about Texas Chainsaw Massacre... LOL :)

How about some more of the classics though? Old school stuff? The Birds, Vertigo, Psycho, and whatnot.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 08:02 PM   #8
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Well theres a kind of crossover area, between 'scary' and 'suspenseful'.

Theres a shot, in "kiss me deadly" , where a woman is being tortured. All we see are her naked feet, dangling in frame, and the two 'bad' guys wearing suits on either side of her. We never see ANYONE's face. The scene opens on her terrified screems, stuggling feet that go limp. Then the guy's hand drops down into frame....

And he's holding a pair of plies.

Do we even want to KNOW what the heck he was doing with them???

THAT's SCARY
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Old September 12th, 2005, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
If you had to narrow that list down to one film, that would be it, IMHO.

My favorite movie of all time.
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