Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Goosebump Moment -- Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Okay, so this one is a little bit of a cheat....you've likely never seen a Judy Garland musical showing up on any self-respecting Halloween/Horror movie list.

But Meet Me in St. Louis is important to the genre because one of its pivotal scenes takes place at Halloween. And the way that scene was filmed, with its use of blues and oranges, and long tracking shots that make a suburban street sinister, in turn inspired John Carpenter and Dean Cundey (the director and cinematographer of 1978's Halloween).

The movie takes place in four parts covering each season of a year and follows the everyday dramas of a turn of the (20th) century family -- of course, occasionally they also burst into song.

Here's the set-up: The Halloween segment focuses on youngest sister Tootie, played by Margaret O'Brien. She's being allowed to join in with the older kids for Halloween festivities -- apparently in the good old days this involved building a giant bonfire in the middle of the street and tormenting the neighbors, as opposed to trick-or-treating. Well, the older kids dare Tootie to approach the scary house down the street.

So, even though this really supposed to be charming and funny rather than scary, watch how the framing and the colors are used to evoke the mood -- then the next time you watch Halloween (later this month hopefully) see what they swiped. (And sorry this one doesn't embed...just click the link)

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