This Week You Will Eff Around and Find Out About:
- Avant-garde horror
- Experimental 60s editing
- Remake cinematography
- literary promotion!
Let’s thank Miller for contributing this week and see what happens. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
In a last call for spooky season articles, the Tone Glow‘s Alex Fields describes 20 avant-garde horror films, many of which are shorts readily available online:
At a glance, Possibly In Michigan might feel like a silly home-video cousin to David Lynch, with its bizarro villain and distorted voice effects. There’s a sinister undercurrent to her aesthetic that mirrors her thematic material: shes uses the guise of amateurishness to process sexual violence and the psychic damage of consumerist suburbia. In a long tradition of American horror, Cecelia Condit portrays a society trying to appear as an unblemished utopia, then mines its weirdest and most disturbing materials. Her work delights in the playfully bizarre, incorporating deliberately cheap effects, lo-fi voiceovers, and musical numbers. The film’s approach fits comfortably with a 21st century internet culture that delights in the surreality of memes and viral videos.
Frank Falisi goes long on Joe Dante’s 1968 gonzo editing experimental epic The Movie Orgy:
Asked another way: when we say “the movie orgy,” don’t we mean “editing”? Disparate parts colliding with and enveloping one another, penetrating and being penetrated, and finally mutating after coming together? Cinema is transformed by—and transforms (us) through—the spaces between the images. A classier writer might cite Robert Bresson, speaking to Cahiers du cinéma at Cannes in 1957: “The cinema must express itself not with images, but with relationships between images, which is not at all the same thing.” A happy vulgarian—I betray that I am one, as I suspect Joe Dante, the man behind The Movie Orgy (1968), is—might highlight the way Bresson wraps up that same point: “The first image is neutral, but in the presence of another, it vibrates […] Beginning with the moment when the image vibrates, we are making cinema.”
A.A. Dowd looks at the widely-despised Platinum Dunes series of horror remakes for Digital Trends:
The color-corrected look of Platinum Dunes — a more atmospheric variation on the sweat-coated, magic-hour glow of Bay’s own movies — had an ironic architect: It was cinematographer Daniel Pearl, who shot the original Chain Saw and was brought back for the remake, who proposed that they tack far away from the raw, snuff-film graininess of Hooper’s film. “There’s no point in making the exact same film with the exact same look,” Pearl would say before the remake’s release, and he had a point. Why trace over a masterpiece? Of course, remaking one at all poses something close to the same question.
At Nylon Sophia June looks at how “It Girls” of literature are marketing their work and themselves and their smells:
Merchandise is one way of steering the reader into the world of the novel — bringing the abstract into something tangible. For the release of her gorgeous and unflinching bestselling novel Daughter about a fraught father-daughter relationship, [Claudia] Dey commissioned a perfume from Courtney Rafuse, whose company Universal Flowering has a cult-like devoted following. Dey wore the juicy, woody fragrance Fig Leaf from Universal Flowering while writing much of the book, which aided in her creative process. Rafuse ended up creating Mona, named after the book’s protagonist, a fragrance with characteristics that include “lustrous shadows, asphalt steam, blood red (radiating), and crossing over.”
At The New Yorker, Kevin Lozano considers a new book that says publisher consolidation and corporatization has changed how novels are constructed:
If there is a villain in “Big Fiction,” it is the “romantic” conception of authorship—the idea that writing a book is as simple as an author sitting down and marshalling their creative forces. This sense of the author, [Big Fiction author Dan] Sinykin thinks, is “a mirage veiling the systematic intelligences that are responsible for more of what we read than most of us are ready to acknowledge.” By “systematic intelligences,” he means the coördinated efforts of the dozens of people who touch a book before it makes its way into the hands of a reader.