Archive for atmosphere

How I Pick My Halloween Films

Posted in Dark Musings, Halloween with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by smuckyproductions

THREE. MORE. DAYS. 

Until the best, most horrifying day of the year. And one of my favorite ways to celebrate is to curate a marathon of films that speak to the spirit of Halloween. As a horror fan, this isn’t terribly difficult, but I still believe there is a precision to the selection process.

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When I mention this to the uninitiated, the response is usually simple – aren’t all horror films good for Halloween? My personal answer is: No. I am undoubtedly pickier than most, but many horror films don’t fit into the spirit at all. (It always confuses me why “The Shining” – year-round, my favorite movie of all time – is always chosen for October movie nights. It’s a winter movie, guys.) It’s a combination of atmosphere, imagery, and storyline, not just scariness.IMG_1097

So, what are my guidelines? I’m not totally sure. But it has to do with the spirit of Halloween itself. This holiday is a celebration of the spectral, the liminal, and the uncanny. The air itself is brittle with the impending change of seasons. Fireplaces newly lit exude a smell of homely smoke, and the quality of the light becomes shadowy as nights grow shorter. Houses drift and lunge with paper ghosts and fake spiderweb. It’s a unique time of year, tingling with a pleasant time of dread, as candles ignite and costumes conceal – so unique that film has a difficult time capturing the authentic atmosphere.

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Films that work for me, then, evoke the intangible and phantasmal quality of October. Surrealism and dream logic are the best examples. Synth-y music and dreamy camerawork combine to transport the viewer into a world apart.

There’s also the stories, of course. Monsters and ghouls make up so much of the childlike glee of Halloween – things that aren’t real become possible. Films that feature a terrific, fantastical villain, perhaps even several to give the film the quality of a well-produced haunted attraction, pay tribute to the variety of creatures that come to life on the 31st. These films don’t have to make their monsters scary, either. They just have to be honest.

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It isn’t precise, and is certainly ridiculous, but I hold true to my little science: autumnal atmosphere, ethereal score, dream logic, and a funhouse-esque parade of ghouls. Films that feature most, or all, of these qualifications are my favorite for the Halloween season.

Watch out for my personal top 10 list, coming out the day before Halloween, if you’re wondering what meets my conditions!

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SABBATH SOLITARE: A Poem by Ben Larned

Posted in Halloween, Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2015 by smuckyproductions

Here’s a poem that I wrote in the spirit of this month. Thought it was about time I posted some original writing on here. The photograph is also mine.

Enjoy, and share. 

SABBATH SOLITARE
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Black thoughts moan silent in the eaves tonight.
Shadow-leaves imitate frenzy
Lightless, blowing in the breath
Of the phantom calling

Calling who –
Not me.

The voices do not break glass
Or call me into their circle
Wreathed in bleeding flame,
Ecstatic rites of black minds
Freed in false leaves, moon smoke
Sighing joy of the dead

The circle will not part for me
Nor admit my bones, forgotten inside
Deaf tombs obscured by howls
Darker than those which envelop
The hordes, agonized

But not alone

Project my spectre into a white
Hollow where no dead go
Where whispers echo

And put their howls to shame