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March 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Simon Haines <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 15 Mar 1994 18:39:35 EST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Continuing Sterling's comments on stylised violence:
One of the most interesting cases of stylised violence I have seen
occurred in _Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer_, particularly in
the earlier scenes of the movie when Henry is sitting, having coffee
in a diner. As Henry walks back to the car, the soundtrack of the murders
of the people in the diner he has just left is imposed over the image.
This technique forced the viewer to reconstruct the images of the murders -
having to fit the pictures with the sound, bringing the act of murder into
the private realm. In this case, the victims were totally anonymous but
the horror was in the way that the viewer was *forced* (I use this term
guardedly) into contributing to the crime.
Similarly, in _Reservoir Dogs_, the strong, emotive aspects of the violence
there was not the TYPE of violence (gunshot) but the MANNER in which that
violence occured. The sheer quantity of the killings that took place
on that day, coupled with the motif of pace and motion, gives the effect
of ceaseless, open-ended destruction as did Henry's random,
spontaneous acts of brutal violence. In _Henry_, the locus of the
horror became the mundane, further bringing his brutality into the
realm of 'us'.