All posts tagged dreams

The Nightmares of Horsehead

Published May 21, 2015 by vfdpixie


Horsehead (2014, 1 hr, 29 mins)

I’ve always been interested in dreams and their meanings.  Oftentimes I have tried to remember my nocturnal subconscious wanderings, and most of the time I can’t, but when I do, it is usually in reoccurring settings and always unsettling.  Horsehead takes you one step further as lucid dreaming becomes a doorway to night terrors and family secrets.

Jessica (Lily-Fleur Pointeaux) is a young woman who suffers from terrible nightmares.  In order to conquer them, she ends up studying the psycho-physiology of dreams.  She is summoned back home because of her grandmother Rose’s death, and is more than uncomfortable when she realizes her grandmother’s body is kept in the bedroom next to hers for the wake.  After a disturbing dream where Rose (Gala Besson) gives her a cryptic message, Jessica is prompted to use lucid dreaming techniques (where one is aware of what occurs in their dreams) to get to the bottom of what becomes a spiraling, surreal discovery of herself and her family secrets.

From the infamous Freddy Krueger and A Nightmare on Elm Street, to Inception and The Cell, dreams have been great fodder for horror and the fantastical, portrayed as both campy and high art, but with Horsehead, it is almost a perfect balance of the absurd and artistic.  I was first drawn in when I saw a film clip and heard the scoring by Benjamin Shielden.  Jarring dub-step/breakbeat buzzing along with the voiceover of Jessica’s professor/boyfriend as he describes detailed instructions to lucid dreaming was something I hadn’t seen before.  It was different for sure, and the skillful editing by Frédéric Pons made Jessica’s dreams all the more compelling.

Director Romain Basset did an amazing job leading the audience down the rabbit hole as Jessica’s dreams became more disturbing and revealing.  His use of symbolism resonated with psychological significance as Jungian references involving animals and religion all came into play without being too overbearing, the most obvious being the ominously creepy Horsehead creature itself-the harbinger of death or perhaps a literal representation of a nightmare.  Charles Perrault’s Red Riding Hood was also a prominent theme with Jessica, her grandmother and a wolf guide; a sinister interpretation of the popular fairy tale.

The sets were quite beautiful and simple, pulling from Henry Fuseli’s famous gothic “The Nightmare” painting.  This eerie piece of art combined with the dark red and pale blue colour palette and stylish cinematography elevated the film’s old-school giallo feel.  And speaking of giallo, Jessica’s mother Catelyn was played by Catriona MacColl, who was also in Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and City of the Living Dead, while her step-father Jim was played by Murray Head, the musician behind the 80’s hit “One Night in Bangkok”.  All the performances were great, especially Pointeaux, who held her own with the veteran cast.  My only issue with the film was Jessica’s grandfather Winston (Fu’ad Aït Aattou), and his role as, from what I can gather, a cult leader of some sort.  There was a whole back story that I wanted to see more of, and perhaps the explanation of the age discrepancy between Jessica and her mother.  I wasn’t sure if all this was meant to be ambiguous because of the dream logic, but don’t let that stop you from seeing it.

Romaine Basset’s first feature-length film was an artistic triumph.  If you enjoy surreal, well-made independent horror, check out Horsehead.

Fangoria’s exclusive clip that drew me in!

And the official trailer:

Face Off: Season 4 Finale!!! So Dreamy..

Published March 27, 2013 by vfdpixie

Wow!!  What a whirlwind of an episode!!  My head is still spinning from all that went on for the Face Off Season 4 finale “Living the Dream“!  The guys were all mentally and physically exhausted, so a sweet surprise was in order.  They all got to have a Skype chat with loved ones.  Tears and words of encouragement fueled the guys and gave them the motivation to get to the finish line.

Their final spotlight challenge was pretty amazing.  They had to create 2 characters for the Las Vegas show La Reve-The Dream at the Wynn Resort.  The stage for this one of a kind show was a 1 million gallon tank, where over 90 acrobats, artists and olympic athletes performed daring feats in and out of the water.  Artistic Director for the show, James Santos introduced the characters:  a dream thief who is an adrenaline junkie looking for danger and the quarry of their victim.  The thief and victim makeups had to be, of course, completely waterproof, and since they existed in the subconscious, the gang was presented with dream themes.  Anthony chose sinister, Wayne picked supernatural, and Kris took on ethereal.  They were also presented with assistants:  their former competitors!  Wayne’s team included Eric F. and Meagan; Kris worked with House and Alam, and Anthony picked Eric Z. and Autumn.  After the selection, they got to work with energy and team spirit.  Kris loved his team, but hated the challenge as he worried his idea might not be enough.  Anthony seemed to have a few hiccups as Autumn’s mold got locked, and his face appliance had to be re-sculpted due to bubbling.  Wayne was concerned with- you guessed it- time.  Michael Westmore came in for his last mentor visit.  It was really nice to see how much the gang was going to miss him.  They all appreciated beyond words his guidance and they basically wanted to take him with them when they left, especially Wayne, who was sorry that Westmore would not longer warn him about time management.  Love it!  I also loved how some team members became guinea pigs with paint and hair pieces.  They definitely got marks for team work.

And then they were in Las Vegas.  Ah, Vegas!  Where you can walk down the street with a giant bottle of beer at 10 a.m.  Where I celebrated a birthday that ended in a zero in maximum overdrive!  I miss you, Frankie’s Tiki Room!  Ahem, but I digress…so the guys checked in to the Wynn Resort and took in their lavish surroundings.  Popping some bubbly, the boys toasted to a good competition and geared up for the final day.

Last 4 hours and last looks were pretty hairy.  Everyone was worried about the staying power of the makeups in water, and diligently sealed their appliances.  And Wayne?  Seriously???  He was so short on time, again.  Once out in the theatre, the tension mounted.  McKenzie Westmore looked glamorous for the final show, and presented the makeups and the performance.  And what a performance it was!  Total disclosure here:  there are 2 things this pixie does not like:  heights and (cess) pools.  This show had both, but these performers were so talented, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.  And the makeups looked incredible!  I especially liked Kris’s silver dream thief.  After, the contestants were proud and pumped, and the judges thought the makeups looked just as good in and out of the water.  Glenn thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen.

Kris created his ethereal “water celestial” duo with beautiful colour, sculpting and originality.  The judges loved the paint on the male character because it worked with the lighting, and all the detail in the sculpting.  They did find the female a bit disconnected because of her bright colouring but the sculpting was very clean.  They were “delighted” that he went out of the box.

Anthony used sinister for his characters, and they definitely were.  His idea came from a thief who wanted the soul of a princess because his own had been ripped from him.  Neville loved the profile of the female character and thought it was perfect.  The male character had a gargoyle-like appearance and the paint job was admired as well.  Glenn thought the female was beautiful in an alien way, especially since she had no hair.  You could immediately tell there was harmony with the characters, as they looked similar, but it looked natural.  The judges loved that Anthony took their guidance as the competition went on.

Wayne got praised for his sculpting with the supernatural duo.  He had created a demon who wanted the new wings of an angel.  He had great detail and they felt it was a great team of characters.  The male had unique horns that blended back into the base of the skull, and the back sculpture on the angel was also unique.  They thought it was truly unique design and they were clearly from the same world.

The judges had a hard time choosing a winner.  Glenn mentioned how blown away he was because they all created something the judges had never seen before which is extremely difficult.  In the end, Anthony ruled supreme!  He was the proud winner of a Fiat 500, $100,000, and a spot as a guest lecturer for Makeup Forever in NYC and Paris.  I thought his characters were truly sinister, beautiful, and very clean-looking.  He definitely earned the prize as a fairly consistent artist with beautiful designs, and was humbly grateful.  He was also honoured to be among his peers.  Good job, Anthony!  The best man won!

I enjoyed this season, and all the competitors were worthy of making it to the finale.  I’m glad we got to see some of the other artists come back, and I wish every one of them great success and satisfaction in the future!   I think Face Off is a brilliant show, and I’ve watched it from the start.  I love, love, love Ve Neill, Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick as judges.  They are truly forerunners of the industry.  I’m so glad there is a show like this on t.v to spotlight how a SFX makeup artist creates their vision.    Hats off to another successful season!

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