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Archive for May 16th, 2013

MastersOfHorrorMurnauby Jaime Grijalba.

File #6 – F.W. Murnau

Hey! What do you know? Another well known director for this installment of Masters of Horror! I’m glad that as we move forward in time the names get more recognizable, yet at the same time maybe we will still find some unearthed treasures around here, so we might as well have some discussion here on the merits of certain ‘masters’ (there was a nice comment from Allan Fish on one of the earlier pieces, in it he questioned the qualification of the director written up as a master), or even if you have certain complaints regarding other directors that may have been forgotten as we move ahead, please go ahead and point them out, I’m following some shady guidelines, and I might miss some if they don’t meet them, but they might as well be worth writing about, specially if they are truly masters of the horror genre, or of the craft, whatever. So, continuing to divert from what meets us here, I have to say that there’s another idea that is making the rounds in my head: there are certain filmmakers that have a great ouvre, a nice group of films in their filmography, but there’s one spot where they continued (or not) their explorations in cinema with a film of the horror genre, and that is the only one they make (easy examples are Stanley Kubrick and John Huston), so I’m putting this forward if anyone else wants to write on the One Hit Horror films of the history of cinema, I’d be so glad to lend this space once a month so people can write about it, it’s an open call! So, back to the subject, Murnau, one of the most known german directors after Fritz Lang and Werner Herzog, easily one of the masters of the silent cinema in terms of how they perfected the narrative and the visuals that were needed at that time, he also knew that horror was one of the most powerful feelings that a human being could be affected by, making more than 5 pictures inside those realms, nevertheless, when one takes a look at the visual style of certain specific films, specially his horror ones, makes one think about german expressionism, and as I’ve said before this clasification is wrong in most cases regarding german filmmakers of that era, expressionism was mostly expressed through painting and only a few times it went ahead and made the jump to the movie territory, Murnau expresses what a romanticist style would be in the realm of filmmaking, with lustrous visuals, but a style nearer to what the emotions portray over any effect the visual flamboyance of painted shadows would make on the viewer Lamentably many of them are lost forever in the seas of memory and film, and that is a sad thought, that maybe one of the greatest artists of the image has lost some of his films (and most of his horror films while following that thought), and with that sour note, we take a look at Murnau at one of his strongest suits, shall you dwelve with me into the dark corridors of his mind, where the moral and squeamish shall cry? Go on. (more…)

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