Alfred Hitchcock believed that “In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.” If Stephen King is the “Master of Horror” and Alfred Hitchcock is the “Master of Suspense”, Brian DePalma would be the “Master of Thriller” right… At least that’s how I see it. While all three can be “Scary”, there’s something about the way the words are spoken, the drama is built up or how it’s shot that gives a cinematic presentation various distinctions. “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it,” THAT’S SUSPENSE — Hitchcock said that too — I just found that quote after my preceding two sentences.
Hitchcock also said: “Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.” Before blood and gore took precedence as to what determined what a “Horror Film” was, it was created in the pacing and the way it was shot. Hitchcock laid down this blue print for directors to follow. While any director worth their weight in salt knows, respects and has used aspects of Alfred’s techniques, DePalma is undeniably a disciple.
This is a visual retrospective, since a picture is worth a 1000 words, I wanted to pay homage to DePalma through images. DePalma’s work relies so heavily on images in all his films, that I thought posters and trailers would tell the tale better than I could put in to words.
The first time I saw “Sisters”, it scared the BeJesus outta me — it was late at night and I was visiting my aunt. The only one in the house still awake, I tuned into the late, late, show, WTF? I thought, as the woman who so kindly invited a man in for some nookie, was now going after him with a knife. That was my first DePalma movie I had ever seen, I’ve enjoyed several of his films ever since. Generally the ones that make sex, blood and violence the co-stars. Brian doesn’t just have scenes or special effects in his movies, the sex, blood and violence is as much as a character as any actor or actress in the film.
DRESSED TO KILL
DePalma took heed to Hitchcock’s philosophy “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder,” with “Sisters”; “Carrie” and “Dressed To Kill.”
Alfred’s theory “Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints,” holds true for “Body Double” & “Femme Fatale.”
THE BLACK DAHLIA
A Hitchcock statement that some psychopaths made a gruesome reality in actual cases like that of “The Black Dahlia” — “I have a perfect cure for a sore throat: cut it.”
Brian DePalma’s new movie “Passion” appears that it will uphold the traditions of his previous works. Starring the gorgeous Rachel McAdams, it’s the story of a rivalry between the manipulative boss of an advertising agency and her talented protégée. The relationship escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation, to murder. Hitchcock said: “Suspense is like a woman. The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement. …”
Another Hitchcock gem is “Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” I believe we draw pleasure from watching horror, mystery, suspenseful, thrilling movies because it taps into the parts of us that dare to dream — it’s the same aspect of us that determines we’re going to win no matter what. The ‘You can’t stop me’ and ‘I’m gonna get it’ part of us all, is the DNA in us that likes being scared once in awhile. Other films by DePalma over the years include: Obsession, The Fury, Blow Out, Wise Guys, Raising Cain, Casualties of War, Bonfire of the Vanities, Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars, and Redacted.
“Always make the audience suffer as much as possible,” was another thing that Hitchcock used to say — for me this was unfortunately applicable for the DePalma releases “Snake Eyes” with Nicolas Cage; “Mission To Mars,” which featured an ensemble cast; “Blowout” starring John Travolta; and John Lithgow’s “Raising Cain” — as they are my least favorite DePalma flicks.
Lastly, Hitchcock thought that “A glimpse into the world proves that horror is nothing other than reality” and “T.V. has brought murder back into the home where it belongs” — These statements hold true as no movie is more horrifying than the real incidents of violence we experience through the news and the quick turn-a-round of movies in theaters, to television. “Passion” hits theaters on August 30th.
for the FUNK of HORROR