Monday, January 02, 2006

Atmosphere Vs Plot

Reading over my script for Generator, I can see how it may be underwhelming to readers. When I read it, I know in my head the shot, the lighting, the type of music...I have the finished project in my head. The story, or plot, is not a brand new one. Some of the scenes are a hodge podge, of a rehash, of some of my favorite films which I unwittingly emulated through my subconscious fandem. So when asked why did I choose this script to be my first film, I had to think about it. Was it the allure of knowing the horror audience so well? Was it that they will watch even the most ridiculous movies if they're entertaining, or gory, or both? Was it my bitterness and anger coming to a boiling point, and this is the spillage? I think a little of all these things led me to horror. I also think horror can be well represented even if it has no budget. The horror community is a forgiving one. We find the good in all the bad. And heap praise for effort. No other genre gets as many reprieves as horror, and I think it's because no other genre gets shit on more by the 'mainstream' than horror. So it's like being in a clique. We get it. You don't. And we're alright with that. I believe Eli Roth said it best on his solo commentary for Cabin Fever when he said, "If a horror film makes over $100 million, it's a thriller. And I think that's kind of bullshit. The Sixth Sense is horror. So is Silence of the Lambs." In other words, if it gains critical acclaim, and is accepted by the masses, the studios have such a bad connotation with horror, it immediately has to be repackaged under the horror pseudonym of thriller.

And I think that is bullshit. So anyway, back to plot vs atmosphere-I have decided that while the plot is solid, it's not all that mind blowing. There is no trick ending. It's a straight up 70's/80's style merge. I decided to use a Argento styled lighting scheme, such as Suspiria or Inferno. It's going to be draped in color. It's going to be draped in shadow. There are going to be long, steady tracking shots, and a lot of steadicam. No Mtv style here. More along the lines of Halloween and The Shining. I feel the atmosphere is most important. You take a slow buildup, with a unnerving atmosphere and score, and your success is almost assured. The plot is there, enough to warrant it's inclusion. But the movie itself is an experience I want people to feel. I don't need them to think and try to figure out the film. I just want them to feel like they may be next.


MaryAn Batchellor said...

No plot and all you have is a spook house. Don't make them work to hard to follow it, if that is your concern, but don't sacrifice the plot.

No charge for my unqualified opinion.

JD said...

oh, there's a definite plot,and even moreso a story, but it's not some big original shocker. The themes of revenge and nihilism have been interwoven in many a horror film. But it's the execution of that simple plot that is the doing, undoing of film after film. Plus, many of my favorites, like Suspiria or Texas Chainsaw Massacre have very little in overall plot, but are very effective because of everything else being outstanding.