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Monday, 31 January 2011

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KWK

Appreciated this analysis...one thing you assume, though, is that the audience should be identifying with the camera-wielder, and therefore you try to discover what the camera is asking the audience to think about Rick based on that perspective. But horror genre conventions also quite often dictate shots establishing the perspective of the "monster", though we as an audience are still supposed to identify with the protagonist (not that the two distinct perspectives are necessarily mutually exclusive). So in the case where Rick is the prey, not the predator, would the formal elements be conveying something significantly different? For example, I think the suspicion and uncertainty would still be there in the walking-down-the-hill-backwards shot, but probably on behalf of Rick (eliciting more of a "Don't go down in the basement!" feeling) rather than on behalf of what/whoever is "holding" the camera.
To me then, this alternate reading moves the question from "Can I trust this Rick character?" toward "What is Rick getting himself into?"

SEK

I hope my students don't read this comment before they attend class. Yes, that's exactly the dynamic I wanted to create: is the camera the perspective of a kicked puppy or a puppy-kicker. So:

So in the case where Rick is the prey, not the predator, would the formal elements be conveying something significantly different? For example, I think the suspicion and uncertainty would still be there in the walking-down-the-hill-backwards shot, but probably on behalf of Rick

Now, instead of an off-balance, attentive and frightened perspective, you'd have an otherworldly, moves too gracefully, Predator-esque-can't-be-seen perspective. The formal elements don't change, but our appreciation of them does. The point being, these conflicting interpretations are held in suspension, as it were, at the beginning of the series because the audience just doesn't know any better.

SEK

(Note to self: That's an extreme long shot at the beginning and Rick's car "walks into" a close-up, so that dynamic's operative from the get go. Now, get yourself to class.)

KWK

Thanks.
And maybe next time I'll hold off for a while on my comments/questions, so that my being in Central Time doesn't screw with the big reveal you have planned for your class.

SEK

No worries. They don't read the blog unless they miss class and want to find out what we did.

happyfeet

I thought it was important that they opened the show in broad daylight and Mr. Rick still doesn't immediately discern that the little girl is actually a for reals live evil horrible infectious zombie... there's a lag, and what that communicates is that Mr. Rick is hoping hoping hoping and he really wants the little girl to be a little girl. But she's not she's a dangerous slavering insatiably hungry thing and that's just too damn bad for her.

SEK

Happy: you're not wrong, not in the least. The decision to open a horror series in broad daylight signals that the things that are seen are more important than those that aren't ... which works against the typical horror convention. More later, though, as you're on to things I'm trying to draw out of my students tomorrow.

Emily

Thanks to your post, I woke up this morning from nightmares about a TV show I've never seen/comic I've never read.

Congratulations/damn you?

Mosaic Hyde

One thing I can offer as trivia is that the "little girl" isn't the only threat to Rick. The scene was extended beyond what we saw and the extra was left out in editing. After Rick puts down the little girl zombie the shot stirs the dormant but not really dead undead in the cars and a horde of them come out to chase Rick back up the hill and to his car. He barely has time to drive away and does not take the time to close his trunk lid.

My thought on the first sequence of the approaching car is to juxtapose it with a similar scene in the first part of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Thus it seems to be an homage to the earlier work.

I really liked your analysis and attention to detail.

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