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Forums Index -> The Shiver Shack -> Realistic vs. stylized
Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 3:04 pm  Reply with quote



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Simply - what of these two aesthetic approaches are the best way to go when making a horror film?

On one hand, it's a good rule of thumb that something has to be convincing in order to be frightening. Look at how much The Blair Witch Project depended upon the "this is all real" conceit, and how many horror films have been impossible to take seriously due to something being too obvious about the artifice.

On the other hand, stylized visuals can serve the purpose of unnerving the audience and making them uncomfortable, especially if you're going for a "surreal horror" vibe where the unreality is part of the point.
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Didn't See It Coming
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:49 pm  Reply with quote



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Tsotha-lanti wrote:
Simply - what of these two aesthetic approaches are the best way to go when making a horror film?

On one hand, it's a good rule of thumb that something has to be convincing in order to be frightening. Look at how much The Blair Witch Project depended upon the "this is all real" conceit, and how many horror films have been impossible to take seriously due to something being too obvious about the artifice.

On the other hand, stylized visuals can serve the purpose of unnerving the audience and making them uncomfortable, especially if you're going for a "surreal horror" vibe where the unreality is part of the point.


Like 'em both.
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 1:12 pm  Reply with quote



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I guess it depends on exactly what the film in question is trying to do... and certain other factors. For example, if you don't have the money for convincing SFX but can't do the movie without'em, it's pretty futile to make your horror film realistic.
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McNab
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 12:57 pm  Reply with quote



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Stylized worked on films like Blade, realism worked on George Romero's zombie epics.

I guess it depends on the movie, subject content and the direction.
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 9:30 pm  Reply with quote



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Something related to this came to my mind recently: How much is enought to qualify a film as realistic in the first place? I'd say that the minimum requirement would be that the highest concern of those involved in the creative process is "if this really happened, what would it be like?" and getting all those things correct. But are things like relatively simple camerawork, plot happening linearly in real time and a lack of music other than that the characters listen to? I'm not that sure myself.
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 3:47 pm  Reply with quote



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I'm a bit surprised that so few people have replied to this thread, really.
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Sonny
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 9:22 am  Reply with quote



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If you're talking about effets, when I make my low-budget flicks, I have a saying, I'm not so much into realism as I am into the EFFECT. I don't want things to look too realistic, that's just kind of depressing. A good example is in TCM 2, in the beginning when the guy gets his head sliced in half, Savini told Hooper that when something like that happens, there's not a lot of blood. But if you were to shoot that scene without the blood, the audience would be like, "Where's the hell the blood?"

If you're talking about fancy camera tricks, they work in something like Evil Dead because the character himself is going absolutely loony, so it works, otherwise though I think it just pulls the audience right out the movie. Nothing makes you realize you're wathing a movie like a camera zooming through a telephone wire or something...
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 9:33 am  Reply with quote



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Sonny wrote:
If you're talking about fancy camera tricks, they work in something like Evil Dead because the character himself is going absolutely loony, so it works, otherwise though I think it just pulls the audience right out the movie. Nothing makes you realize you're wathing a movie like a camera zooming through a telephone wire or something...


I guess that excuses some of the occasionally unconvincing CGI (mostly the dragonfly-fairies) in Pan's Labyrinth... Laughing

... but seriously, another way you can make this stylized approach work is to have the entire story be a flashback narrated by the protagonist, at least if the filmmaker uses it to establish the narrator as unreliable.
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Tsotha-lanti
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:07 pm  Reply with quote



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Felt like resurrecting this thread...

Sonny wrote:
If you're talking about fancy camera tricks, they work in something like Evil Dead because the character himself is going absolutely loony, so it works, otherwise though I think it just pulls the audience right out the movie. Nothing makes you realize you're wathing a movie like a camera zooming through a telephone wire or something...


... as this reminds me that I once read in a review that realism is easy, stylization is difficult.

On the other hand, I can't help but think that you can try too hard to be realistic. "More realistic than reality itself", perhaps. Laughing
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