By Denis Gifford
Difficult hide e-book, complete review of the horror motion picture style. totally illustrated with nice images.
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Additional info for A Pictorial History of Horror Movies
Unforgettable is the scene in which she is driven by the man diagonally to screen left and then rolled to the bottom front of the screen by force of a fence which has cued the direction of the action all along. Indeed, the vamp's final exit from the village drops her diagonally away from us to the upper left-hand corner of the screen, leaving the glistening lake restored . Murnau emphasizes the defeat of the diagonal when the shot following her exit displays the crossed bodies of the reunited couple .
Robin Wood4 catalogues many of these: the still lifes of wooden bowls and bread on a table that is raked a la Van Gogh ; the second honeymoon voyage in which the vertical moonstreak and small sailboat on the dark lake recall paintings of the Brucke group; the scene of the search for the lost wife with its frontal image of bobbing lanterns, suggesting impressionism ; the inserts of the village itself , seen always mistily or at night with the steeple and full moon prominent above the clustered houses, which draw on a frequent topos in late nineteenth-century painting.
Indeed, the film as a whole has been seen as a conflict between expressionism and naturalism, Germany and America. As in any fable, the story proceeds between two distinctly segregated poles: the vamp and the wife, the city and the country, land and water, night and morning. While the alternation of these elements produces a dramatic energy which is intensified by sequences of conflicting pictorial styles, the same energy can also be released within a single shot through the use of diagonal compositions, to which I now turn.
A Pictorial History of Horror Movies by Denis Gifford