Thursday, 30 September 2010

Eternal Sunshine Of The Horror - A Montage for October


While I like horror films at any point in the year, I do enjoy focusing on them during the month of October - it just seems like the right thing to do, ya know? So to ring in another fright-filled month-long look at horror films, I decided to put together a little video - a montage if you will...



I love film montages. Those little short bursts of visual candy (usually paired with fitting music) can recall entire movies in a mere second or compel you to track down a movie due solely to an image that's been left behind in your brain like a virus on a hard drive. I've always wanted to make a montage...And now I have.

It's my first effort and I see all sorts of problems with it (no consistent theme, doesn't flow as well as I'd like, transitions are pretty basic, etc.), but overall I'm pretty happy with it - more importantly I had a lot of fun putting it together.

The music is by the Scottish band Mogwai from their excellent album The Hawk Is Howling (a tune entitled "Batcat"). Just buy the damn thing OK? It sounds far better in its full uncompressed glory. The opening and closing bits of music are actually from that very same song, but tweaked using the audio software application Audacity (via its effects options). I kinda stumbled across the results playing with the different features and they seemed to fit in nicely.

A few of the older B&W clips have been cropped. Yeah, I feel a bit crappy about that, but the iMovie software did it by default and when I changed it back to the original aspect ratio, it didn't seem to fit as well. Considering none of the clips that were cropped lost much in relation to their purpose in the video, I'm OK with it.

As much as I am happy with my first attempt, it really does pale in comparison to what others have done. Greg at Cinema Styles created the wonderful Frames Of Reference awhile ago and I can only aspire to put together something that rhythmic and imaginative (he apparently sees the clips he wants in his mind and then sources them, whereas I flip through DVDs until I see something and think "I wonder if I can use that?"). Here's his trailer for this year's October set of horror posts. Then there's Arbogast who, as far as I know, hasn't made any videos of late, but look at this amazing screencap post showing different uses of shadows - it flows so easily from one image to the other that movement is almost implied. And a final plug for one of my favourite montages (and simply one of my favourite YouTube videos EVER) The Endless Night: A Valentine to Film Noir - a perfect usage of music to match the mood of the clips.

I also have to give my 10 year-old son a "shout out" (apparently that's a term the kids like to use these days). He found a screen grabbing tool for the iMac all by himself and was using it for his captures of video game walkthroughs. I ended up using it to capture my clips and it made the entire process so much easier. There's a drop in quality in the video resolution, but it serves its purpose and at web size it looks decent enough. So thanks Buddy-Boy...

Of course, the best possible result of putting this together would be for someone to seek out one of the movies included. That gets back to one of the reasons why I love montages in the first place - the visuals may be completely out of context, but they can still manage to grab your attention and develop curiosity for films you might not have considered.

21 comments:

Dennis Cozzalio said...

God, Bob, first effort or not, this is a genuinely spectacular piece of work! The thing I loved about it is that even amongst the more familiar titles that you referenced, you managed to find images, graphic continuity and rhythms that made EVERYTHING seem fresh, slightly unfamiliar, authentically creepy. And I love the way you synthesized the rhythm of the images to the music's relentless drive, with that bam-bam-bam (or as I'm thinking of now, chop-chop-chop) repetition. I appreciated the look at all the J-horror I haven't seen as much as I dug all the great bits from favorite Amicus titles and the slew of other less well-known movies from which you managed to dig into and extract really memorable stuff. I'm going to try to put together a list of horror links, and your montage will head the list. Thanks for mainlining me directly into the spirit of the month with such artistry and pure appreciation of the power of the horror film.

dave_or_did said...

I've said it before when you previewed this to the Row Three guys and girls, but I thought that was fantastic. As ever you've dug out some eyeball-searing visuals from some films that are desperate to be rediscovered.

It's got me stoked about doing my own actually. Possibly a martial arts/Hong-Kong action montage?

Bob Turnbull said...

Wow, thank you so much Dennis...I couldn't imagine getting a better compliment! It really was a lot of fun to do. The mix of styles is mostly due to me only choosing clips from my own collection - but that worked well because I was happy to mix giallo with J-Horror with Hammer.

Thanks again Dennis. It really means a great deal to get a comment like that - especially from you.

dave_or_did said...

Oh and out of interest, which screen grabbing program is it that you use for the Mac?

Bob Turnbull said...

Dave, thanks again for the kind words...Your initial feedback was great and I tried tweaking the video because of some of it.

You HAVE to do that martial arts one! That would be amazing.

The screen grabbing tool is called iShowU - it cost about $20 I think. I'm thinking of shelling out a few more bucks for the HD version.

Kimberly Lindbergs said...

I agree with Dennis and Dave. This was great! Well done and I enjoyed the mix of Asian/Western/Euro styles you used. I'll look forward to seeing more clips from you, Bob!

Bob Turnbull said...

Thanks Kimberly! I only wish I could've thrown in more styles, but 1) it was already long enough and 2) I didn't have them at home...So much to choose from...

Jandy said...

Well, you have achieved your best possible result. :) As soon as I saw the preview of this a few weeks ago, I dropped The Girl Who Knew Too Much in my Netflix queue - should be getting it Monday. I don't know what it was, but that shot of the woman and the light swinging just grabbed me. Bava's just got a visual sense that meshes with mine, I think.

Greg said...

Bob, let me add to the chorus of how fantastic this is. I couldn't put together a horror montage that good or varied in its source material. Really, quite impressive. I usually do one or two montages for October but don't know if I'll have time this year or the inspiration. And now, having seen this, don't know that I want to because this one says it all.

Bob Turnbull said...

Jandy, I can't wait to hear what you think about The Girl Who Knew Too Much - like most Bava, it's the visuals that do most of the work.

Greg, thanks so much for those awfully kind words. Don't be weaseling out of your own video responsibilities though! The world would be a much sadder place with fewer montages...

Jack Criddle said...

Bravo! This is a really solidly rhythmic and smooth-flowing montage, with many of my favorites represented (Peeping Tom, Kwaidan, Onibaba). Much much better than that rather disappointing horror montage they had at the Oscars last year.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Wow, Bob - that was FREAKING AMAZING! Enjoyed every minute of it - well done!

Bob Turnbull said...

Thanks Jack...You obviously have good taste considering some of your favourites. Though I was glad they even recognized horror at all at the Oscars, it certainly wasn't a great compilation - of course it was focused on American films, so they missed out on a bunch of great stuff.

Shannon, thanks for the ALL CAPS kudos...B-) And for sharing it out on Facebook too.

dr.morbius said...

This pretty much rocks, Bob. And, hell, I own virtually all of the movies you used and even I didn't recognize them. Kudos for turning them into something new.

Bob Turnbull said...

Thanks Doc...I'm especially glad that other horror fans enjoy it. Once you start mixing the scenes, it does become a bit difficult to remember which one is from what movie - I would really need to sit down and go through the "raw footage" I captured to write down each one.

Arbogast said...

Because I've been so disgustingly busy this October it took me a goddamned month to get here... and yet what a joy this was to watch for the first time so close to Halloween. Congratulations, Bob, on a solid and invigorating piece of work. It made me want to watch all those movies again... although a few of your choices turned up in my "31 Screams" this year and you culled footage from films I looked at (The Girl Who Knew Too Much for one) but couldn't use. Thank you for this gift.

Bob Turnbull said...

Thank you Arbo...I haven't quite got the 95000 hits to the video I was hoping for (I'm kidding...), but wonderful comments like yours from people I highly respect is really much more than I could've hoped for. Your 31 Screams series is one of my favourite Halloween events - last year's and this year's has added tons of stuff to my need-to-watch list.

I loved the fact that you chose "Alucarda" as well - I saw it earlier this year and thought that the scream per second ratio was one of the highest on record.

Thanks again.

Jay Clarke said...

Wow, this was so, so cool. Great use of music and clip choices. Well done!

Bob Turnbull said...

Hi Jay! Thanks so much for the comment - I'm so glad you liked it...

kyle hardin said...

Hey Bob, awesome clip, I've been liking for something like this to play during our annual Halloween party, nay I ask is there any way I could download it for this purpose?

Bob Turnbull said...

Hi Kyle...Thanks for your comment! I don't actually have the video anywhere for download, but there are screencap tools out there that will record anything playing on your screen and save as a local video. The montage is also on YouTube, so if you have one of those tools that can suck a YouTube video locally, go for it.