Sunday, November 27, 2005

Universal Pictures Homage

Hope all of you U.S. visitors had a Happy Thanksgiving. I indulged in so many left-over Thanksgiving dinners over the past couple of days I fear I will never be able to eat again.
I've only recently been able to see the complete series of Universal Frankenstein movies. I had only really seen the original and the Bride of Frankenstein. Last year I picked up the Frankenstein Legacy Collection DVD set and finally sat down to watch all of them. They kind of go to seed from Ghost of Frankenstein on, but Son of Frankenstein, with it's great Expressionist sets and long shadows, is visually a neat experience.

One of the things I love about those movies (and this applies to the Wolf Man movies as well) is the use of gargantuan indoor stages to create outdoor environments. To see it produces a surreal effect, as if the movies take place in some kind of Gothic fantasy land and not necessarily our reality. I used to think this was done on purpose by the filmmakers, but I recently came across an interview with James Whale, in which he proclaimed a realistic interpretation of the story, and that it took place in the modern (1931) world!

Intentional or not, the effect is something that I was hoping to design into Frankenstein vs the Wolfman as a bit of homage to those classic films. Again, the movie I'm making is not a sequel or in any way related to the Universal films (the characters of the Frankenstein Monster and The Wolfman are quite different than those established by Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr), but I thought it would be nice to acknowledge the inspiration.

I've just completed a couple of quick shots that mirror a moment in Bride of Frankenstein - Leeta, being chased by the Wolfman, runs through an artificial forest of tree trunks, with a large cyclorama of a cloudy sky serving as the backdrop - just like Karloff all those years ago.