Saturday, 17 December 2011


I used my house as I found it was the best place for a witch who did not tell anyone as it made it more secret and showed off how things were homemade. My bedroom has a vintage style, this made it perfect for the creepy look to the opening sequence


created or collected many of my props. I made the 3 voodoo dolls with felt and tired to make them look slightly strange and the normal voodoo dolls however keeping to the home made style. The necklace with the spider and crystal I had collected as it was big items I needed to add in to my opening sequence.

I have also look at the following site for inspiration

Looking at the items used the great thing about them is that a lot of the items are domestic items - jars, toys, ingredients. The only thing that isn't are the ornate pentagrams but these could be created.

Shot List

This is my shot list from my story board. This may need to be changed around when editing. It is my rough draft. I created it on word.

Horror Make-up Workshop

He used Alexi as a model for his mask. He first glued a bald cap to his head, the glue was speical formuale which isnt harmful to humans and can be easily removed. He then needed him to add nose plugs so he an keep breathing when applying the mixture. James covers the whole of his face and removes the plugs so he dont get an odd shape on the nose. James then used plaster cast on the mould to create a hard base for the blue mould as its very bendy and will keep a better shape when making the mask. he had to let it dry competly before removing it off Alexi face. he then created the mask inside with another formuale.
I enjoyed how fun it looked to have your mask done for you. James was very intersting and it sounds like a really cool job, however, It suprised me how long he actually has to make the mask. 
The tips i remember is that never to use latex as it spoils the mixture and you have to use ponital. Another tip is that you have to clog the nose holes when making the mask and the best is a none dry able lay.
The other tip is to research appropriate materials in order to make it safe for the user

Story Board

This is my story board to create my opening sequence. This is my 1st draft so the order is not its best. The order might be changed around when filming as it may not look right as it is.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Minimalist Poster for Night of the Eagle

The brief for this exercise was to create a minimalist poster for the Night of the Eagle. The idea was to create a symbol that was instantly recognisable to those that have seen the film. The Eagle is an obvious choice and perhaps it could have been more minimalist and the font choice better to stand out.
However, the eagle was created with the pen tool and filled in with the night sky effect to give the idea of the supernatural.

Inspiration for credits - True Blood

These are the opening credits for the TV series True Blood.
The reason why they are of inspiration is that they perform two things:
1) They establish the location - the deep south, specifically the poor side.
2) They are unnerving to watch through a use of close-ups of seemingly everyday stuff, different film stock and filters.

The idea is that I could try to use imagery from UK suburbia mixed in with witchcraft symbols and similar use of effects and filters.

This making of clip shows that they wanted to create they idea of being stalked by a predator to fit in the vampire theme, as well as having a combination violence and sex in the imagery.

On the website it is described as' the slutty and the sweet swamp-goth vampiric mise-en-scène.'

How to update Night of the Eagle

Modern day fears
Our teacher suggested that we include a modern day fear - something that would appeal to modern audiences and that is of the hoodie or working class young people.

This article here explains just why many British Horror films are using British youth as bad guys suggesting it is because British Youth are "a longterm excluded class, simply not needed, who often take control of their communities through aggression or running their alternative economy, based on things like drug-dealing or protection rackets".

This article is about the film Harry Brown and mentions Eden Lake:

Both have British Youth as feral and wild killers.

Just have a look this trailer for the film F which was shot at CRC.
In the film Heartless, the whole world of the Hoodie - the dark inner city, high rise flats - becomes the setting for a tale of demons and the supernatural. Gone is the classic gothic setting for horror - now the streets of the inner city are the scary places.
And now, just to confirm what an established screen representation the hoodie is, whole films can based upon a parody of them such as the new film from Joe Cornish, Attack the Block. Look how the 'hoodie' is described (for comedy purposes) as the 'Deadliest species in the galaxy'.

With this in mind my idea is to take this world of working class Britain as the setting of my film, so moving away from middle-class university types to perhaps inner city competition between couples than uses witchcraft rather than violence to settle differences. Rather than academic achievement the rivalry could be about possession, neighbourhood one up manship.

How to update an old film

One the most best re-imagines around is the BBC series Sherlock that locates the Victorian detective into the modern day. In the above clip Mark Gatiss explains that is was about stripping away the 'trappings' of the period setting and getting to the key parts of the story which was the friendship between Watson and Holmes.

Much of what helps defines the characters can be updated, opium pipe - nicotine patches, 1800s Afghan war to present day Afghan war for Dr Watson - other than that the same themes: friendship, adventure, intrigue, class etc are kept the same.

Another way of remaining can be seen in Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho which was just a shot-for-shot remake.

This was seen as a poor choice in the way of re-imaging as one critic describe it as "Slow, stilted, completely pointless scene-for-scene remake of the Hitchcock classic (with a few awkward new touches to taint its claim as an exact replica.)"

More successful was the 1995 film Clueless that was based on the Jane Austen novel Emma but move the action from 19 Century Britian to a present day (90s) US High School.

Compare this with the 2009 BBC version of Emma.

Both are about a girl who meddles in other people's business in a tight social setting, but the location, language, mise-en-scene have all changed.

Film Choice: Night of the Eagle

The film to be updated is the 1962 Horror Film Night of the Eagle, which is not a Hammer Horror film but was created by Independent Artists.


Directed by: Sidney Hayers

Produced by: Samuel Z. Arkoff, Albert Fennell

Written by: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, George Baxt

Based on the novel: Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

Starring: Peter Wyngarde
Janet Blair
Margaret Johnston
Anthony Nicholls
Colin Gordon

Music by: William Alwyn

Cinematography: Reginald Wyer

Credits of note are Producer Albert Fennell who went on to produce the TV the Avengers and writer Richard Matheson who wrote I am Legend.

Plot Synopsis
The story centres on upon the lives of two college academics - Norman Taylor and Lindsey Carr - have experience contrasting fortunes in terms of their career with Taylor being extremely successful and Carr not so. It soon becomes apparent that it is actually the two academic's wives that are behind the success, using witchcraft to shape the fortunes of their husbands. Norman Taylor doesn't believe in any witchcraft and so forces his wife, Tansy, to destroy all her work. This leads to a sudden downturn in his fortunes, which leads him to suspect the wife of his rival, Flora Carr, as being behind the bad luck.

Supernatural, witchcraft and disbelief - Norman Taylor is a firm disbeliever in voodoo and magic and refutes it in the films opening scene, however, all the events that follow force him to challenge his views.
Role of women - both Flora and Tansy see their role as making sure their husbands are successful and go to any means to do this. The whole film revolves around two competitive couples. One of the first scenes in a game of bridge played between the Carr and Taylor husband and wives. What is interesting is that while the men have the status it is the women who have the power.
Jealousy and status - at the heart of the story is about people competing to be successful in life but in a way that requires other to do worse. This theme could be placed in many different contexts.

The film did moderately well on its release, partly in contrast to the blood red shocks of Hammer, this was more a psychological horror and was much more restrained, partly due to the black and white presentation.
Film critic David Quinlin wrote that it was 'a genuinely frightening witchcraft chiller' and the New York Times described it as 'admirable'.

Western Credits

In lesson we experiment using titles to create a credit sequence using Western themed brushes from Photoshop, matte colours, the theme tune to Good, Bad and Ugly and some sound effects. The trick was to create motion out of 2D images using key framing.
The spinning of the head on the wanted sign was probably the best bit but the gun recoil and bullets need work. The idea was to create the idea of depth using different objects in different depths of field, this wasn't really achieved but it did help think about how to move and make the credits look interesting.

Production Ident

Untitled from cmdiploma on Vimeo.

My idea for my ident was some one to be standing under an umbrella how ever it changed when I found a brush which looked a lot better.

I used a brush tool to create the person on the bench which I got off a free site. Then I changed the colour of the umbrella to green to give my own twist. I then got the idea for making the water fall down like rain so I choose it the font to be a very curvey and delacuite style, I also made the writing blue to follow the rain theme.
I found the Photoshop part of the task quite easy and idea worked well.

When using Finalcut, I got veru confused. My idea was to make it look like rain fall from the sky and some of the letters to bounce off the umbrella. I did not get the hang of moving the letters to drop down as I had the problem of the letters rising up. It took a while to get the hang of the motion button. In the end it came out as I wanted. I then added a sound of Garage band which was the sound of a rainy day.

Overall I was quite pleased with the end project. It was slightyl different from how I wanted it but it all works together

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Key Film: The Curse of Frankenstein 1957

Hammer made the bold decision to return to the classic Gothic horror that was the inspiration for the 1930s Universal Studios horror boom. The advantage was that the stories was in the 'public domain' so could be adapted without copyright, however, Universal Studios was poised to sue if Hammer's version of the Mary Shelley book bore any resemblance to their 1931 version. To avoid this, writer Jimmy Sangster quickened the pace of the story and focused more on the Dr Frankenstein character - making him more sinister than before.

The Curse of Frankenstein was a huge success and set the template for Hammer Horror in the following ways.

This was the first film that paired popular TV actor Peter Cushing with newcomer Christopher Lee. Lee was cast in the role of Frankenstein mainly for his 6ft 4in height but proved to the have the screen presence and menace to turn him into genuine star.
Cushing gained fame in BBC's adaption of Nineteen Eighty Four, before beginning work with Hammer. The relationship lasted over 20 years turning Cushing in to an internationally renown horror actor. Lee has signed a contract with Rank as an actor, but it was only after his work with Hammer did he become a favourite choice for directors looking for bad guys and he has since gone on to appear as a Bond Villain, Saramon in Lord of the Rings and Count Dooku in Star Wars.

Christopher Lee

Peter Cushing

Gothic Setting
The leafy stately homes of Berkshire proved to be the ideal setting for traditional horror settings, all in line with the Gothic literary traditional of Stoker (Dracula) and Shelley (Frankenstein). This meant much of Hammer's film were period pieces rather than modern day.

The glory days of the Universal horror films were in times of black and white, now with technicolor, Hammer were keen to splash the screen with as much blood as possible. It may seem tame by todays standards but was seen as shocking in the 50s.

Again all sex was only suggested and very tame by today's standards but Hammer were breaking new ground in combing the horror and sex. In the Curse of Frankenstein, the Doctors locks a servant girl in with the monsters.

Mark Gatiss in his History Horror documentary suggests that tension was always broken with light touches of humour, often disguised as the politeness of British society and etiquette.

The origins and early success of Hammer

The company was founded in 1934 when cinema owner and distributor Enrique Carreras and vaudeville actor William Hind teamed up together, the Hammer coming from Hind's stage name. The decision was to create a film studio that could create content for Carreras' distribution company Exclusive which before then had been distributing British Lion pictures.
The first film Hammer Studios created was The Public Life of Henry the Ninth, a comedy, but it was in the crime genre that the studio was most prolific and spin-offs from BBC Radio Dramas. Films such as Dick Barton and Crime Reporter were 'quota-quickies', low budget productions, churned out to feel gaps in the cinema schedules and as supporting features.
As the studio grew and became more established they moved to Down Place, later named Bray Studios near Windsor in Berkshire. It was here that they began to move into different, specifically sci-fi, the genre that many believed ousted horror in Hollywood cinema as the choice for consumers wanting a scare. In 1955 Hammer created a version of the BBC TV series The Quartermass Experiment, twisting the spelling of theirs slightly to read The Quartermass Xperiment to exploit the new X Certificate rating which were purely for 18 year olds or over.

This is the trailer for The Quatermass Xperiment, with its US release title - The Creeping Unkown.

The film was a big hit in relative terms for Hammer and spawned a sequel two years later and from it Hammer learned that success could found in terrifying an audience with a mix of inventive marketing and censor worrying gore. The next move to work specifically in the horror genre with the Curse of Frankenstein.

Much of this information I got from the following sites:

And the Mark Gatiss BBC Documentary on the History of Horror:

Research on shot types

Extreme Close Up
Focusing on detail
Can make an every day
Object look abstract

Close Up
On face, Body part, Object often
used to show emotion and detail

Point of view
Provides Perspective from a particular characters point of view
The audience experiences the action throught that character

Low Angle
Camera points up from below eyeline
can indicate power or inntimidation

High Angle
 Camera points down on to some one from above a person
can indicate power or inntimidation

Canted Shot
This is when the angle of camera is not portait nor landscape and is put on an angle

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Understanding the Brief

The brief set (see the post below) require me to do the following things during the course of this project:

1) Create a sequence that will appeal to a modern horror audience.

2) Understand the themes and ideas explore in the original film in order to translate to to a modern setting/location/audience.

3) Research other remakes and 're-imaginings' to see what can be learned from that particular approach.

4) Analyse the balance between horror-comedy and what works best.

5) Look at interesting credits sequences to see what is effective and appropriate.

The Brief - Back from the Dead

Back From the Dead, an independent film Production Company based in Cambridge, have bought the rights to 10 classic British horror movies from the ‘60s and ‘70s. They now plan to produce their own modern remakes hoping to capitalize on the current youth market for horror-comedies. You are members of a local Design Studio that have been tasked with creating original title sequences for the 10 forthcoming remakes: Circus of Horrors (1960) Night of the Eagle, (1962) Dr Terrors House of Horrors (1965), The Plague of Zombies (1966), The Reptile (1966), The Sorcerers (1967), Torture Garden (1967),  I, Monster (1971), The Abominable Doctor Phibes, (1971) The Beast Must Die (1972)

Back From the Dead want their comedies to be witty, contemporary “reimaginings” with a sparky feel that will appeal to young and knowing fans of the genre. They are not to be spoofs or parodies of the originals and the title sequence must reflect this. Working in pairs you will research the origins of British horror and report back on the history of your chosen film and its original critical and commercial reception.

You will then formulate a synopsis for your own “re-imagined” version, updating the original in terms of Settings, Characters, Iconography, Narrative and Themes. You will create character profiles and potential cast Wish Lists as well as carrying out research into the Genre Conventions of classic horror films, their remakes and contemporary trends and developments in the art of title sequence design. As part of the Pre-Visualisation process for Back From the Dead’s new project you will create mood-boards for both the original film and your proposed remake using only Creative Commons images as well as your own “minimalist” Film Posters, Photo-Storyboards and key-frame Contact Sheets. You will carry out Market Research analyzing your target audience as well producing Case Studies looking at the work of Film Title Designers you admire.

Whilst you will work through the design brief process in pairs you will present your findings and pitch your ideas back to the whole group for feedback during regular Studio Meetings, and your work will demonstrate awareness of Health & Safety issues, Professional working practices, legal & ethical constraints and Intellectual Property and Copyright considerations.

In addition to producing the titles, which must be a self-contained sequence, you will also have to remake the opening scene of the movie, for which you should draw upon the original and decide how to re-work it. This will be submitted to support the title sequence and the combined duration of the total work should be no more than 2 minutes in length.


This is our Preliminary project which is to demonstrate that we are capable of continuity editing, the primary purpose of which is to 'smooth over the inherent discontinuity of the editing process and to establish a logical coherence between shots'. The idea is to make the editing invisible to the viewer allowing them to focus on the narrative and action.

We were asked to include the following shots.


This was the first shot of the clip and also acts of as an establishing shot, informing the viewer of the location and the general appearance of the first character.


Here we begin with a close-up on the door handle that follows the motion of the door in to the second shot creating a flow of action that's easy to follow despite the change of angle


A reaction shot, as the title suggests, shows the viewer a characters reaction to an event. Here it is just the realisation that the first character has entered the room, but it can be used to add dramatic effect to sequences. In this case we are also introduced to the second character in the clip.


The 180 degree rule decrees that when capturing shot counter shots in conversations, the camera must be on the same side of the imagine 180 line going down the middle of the two characters. This is to avoid disorientating the viewer when switching between two sides of the conversation.


This describes a shot when the camera is at a short distance from the object in the frame. Here it is to draw attention to the money in that has been used to buy the drugs, informing the audience of just what has been exchange and some idea of what has been spent.