Suspiria details

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Wall decor based on MC Escher’s Study of Regular Division of the Plane with Fish and Birds (1938).

A few screen grabs from the weekend’s viewing of a German Blu-ray disc of Suspiria (1977). My old DVD didn’t look too bad but this is one film where high-definition is required to do justice to the vivid lighting and to Giuseppe Bassan’s marvellous production design. The Art Nouveau splendour of the cursed ballet school contains some notable art references but elsewhere there’s the Escher decoration on the walls of the apartment at the beginning, not the kind of decor you expect to find in a horror film. All these images are details cropped from widescreen frames.

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Suzy (Jessica Harper) and Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) in the madame’s office. The mural always fascinated me for being a strange confection of Escher motifs, all winding staircases and architecture borrowed from Belvedere (1958).

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The far right of the same shot showing some of the Beardsley figures that fill the panels of Madame Blanc’s screens.

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Weekend links 72

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If Jean Cocteau had made a horror film it might have resembled George Franju’s dreamy and disturbing body-horror masterwork Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960). I’ve not been able to trace the artist for this poster but it’s a good example of the diluted Surrealism which was still prevalent in poster graphics at this time.

If I were asked what’s needed today, I’d say innovation, and greater timbral variety. If you truly want the audience to experience the clammy thrill of the grotesque, the uncanny and the fearful, you have to reach for the unfamilar, the perplexing, even the ugly; there’s an infinite Lovecraftian sound-world out there waiting to be explored. We need new combinations, new textures in film scoring. Horror has a licence to be weird – it’s supposed to mess with our heads. (more)

Stephen Thrower.

Stephen Thrower is an ex-member of Coil, a current member of Cyclobe, was the editor of a great magazine, Eyeball, devoted to horror cinema and what Kim Newman (casting about for a wider, non-generic label) calls “nightmare movies”, and is the author of Nightmare USA and Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci. In other words, he’s more than qualified to write about horror film soundtracks. The reason is an event at the South Bank Centre, London, two weeks from now, Sound of Fear: The Musical Universe of Horror, one of the highlights of which will be a performance by John Carpenter’s soundtrack collaborator Alan Howarth. Related: my post about Italian horror soundtracks from 2008.

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Art by Justin Lovato.

Mind Over Matter: Alan Fletcher’s The Art of Looking Sideways. “The Art of Looking Sideways captures the sensory overload of contemporary visual culture, while also acting as a primer in visual intelligence.” Related: Alan Fletcher profiled at the Design Museum.

• More music and more psychedelia: Past Present Future Space-Time “Wysing Arts Centre explores the legacy of psychedelia in this year’s annual music event”.

The Coilhouse International Silent Auction is GO and ends Sunday night if you want to bid for some rare and special things.

The Garden of Kama and Other Love Lyrics from India (1901), illustrated by John Byam Shaw.

• Chris Marker’s take on the recent London riots: Overnight.

• Bristol’s graffiti artists are redecorating the city’s streets.

• Women and knives: a Dario Argento poster gallery.

Inferno (1993) by Miranda Sex Garden, from their album Suspiria.

The Thorns of Love by Antoni Maiovvi

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The Thorns of Love CD cover.

One of the consequences of having been so productive of late is having less time to update my web pages. The CD design section is now a year out of date so I’ll be trying to amend the situation as time allows.

The Thorns of Love by Antoni Maiovvi was released last month and is another of my designs for the Caravan label. The attention-grabbing photos are by Liz Eve whose work adorned earlier designs for 2562 and Pinch. It’s great to work with quality images like these, and Liz’s gory pictures are an ideal match for Maiovvi’s music, a series of lengthy compositions in a style which might be described as Giorgio Moroder scoring a Dario Argento horror movie. This is a fantastic album and the CD’s fourth track, Class Dagger, is one of the best new electronic pieces I’ve heard this year.

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The Thorns of Love vinyl sleeve.

The Thorns of Love was released on double-12″ vinyl as well as CD so I’ve also posted the vinyl art, something I need to go back and do for previous designs. Vinyl isn’t dead by any means, and it’s a pleasure to work for the larger format.

Antoni Maiovvi interviewed at Electrofreaks

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