Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mattes, Miniatures, And Split-Screens

Watching horror movies on Saturday afternoons as a kid was one of those formative things. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were like uncles to me. And so were all the weird creatures they were fighting (especially that weird flat thing with a pink swan neck which sucked bones and bled chicken soup when chopped with an axe).

Low-tech special effects were part of it. They weren't used much, but when they were, you knew you were watching something truly special. You got used to seeing matte-painted skies and split screens with the characters in the foreground and exploding factories or castles in the background. It was never perfect, and you could always tell you were watching an effect, but you just knew someone put a lot of hard work into that scene. There was an elegance to it.

Found a blog through the Bloody Pit of Rod blog. A blog called Matte Shot. And it was wonderful to flip through this on a Saturday morning. Like a weird family reunion.

Click below:
The Matte Shot Blog.


Cullan Hudson said...

No.... these things are perfection. They are art, because they had to rely on artistic talent to make up for flaws in the technical. Most modern films forget that it often isn't about making it look real but making it look surreal. These old films had some of the most amazing skies (as a designer and artist, I pay attention to such details). Heavy handed CGI can ruin some films. I think of the last Indiana Jones and how...plastic it felt at times--esp. the Amazon jungle scenes. Compare that to the lower budget Forbidden Planet and those amazing gangrenous skies that seem to exist in perpetual half-light like a Friedrich painting.

Wikkedmoon said...

Gawd, I loved the Hammer Dracula films the best. I used to want to live in his castle. But "She" was one of my all-time faves. I don't know how many times I saw that one.

Sam Kadi said...

Thanks again Rot for finding nuggets out there for us to look at.

Poor kids today have too much other distractions, there isnt a common thread of culture, its too much. Maybe because I am getting older. It just seems that there is such an abundance of media and entertainment that the ADD in us is amplified. I guess it wasnt so bad growing up in the 70's with 13 channels. Today if I was a kid and some shlock came on I would probably turn it to something else, and then 5 minutes later to something else. Back in the day if Godzilla or a Dracula movie was on, that was it baby, there wasnt something else to watch. God I sound so old.