In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Brave Old World

I’d say The Mist had a pretty good reception among genre fans when it came out last year. I liked it. The novella is one of my favourite works of Stephen King and I felt the movie was an almost flawless adaptation. Despite some bad CGI at times and an ending that I’m still conflicted about – though considering the book’s, which was not what I’d consider cinematic, I do understand why it had to be that way – I thought it was a success. The DVD came out a few weeks ago and the two disc edition includes an interesting feature that I wanted to point out. Director Frank Darabont (who has collaborated with King four times now) had originally wanted to film The Mist in black and white. This was met with immediate resistance from the money men. So, realizing the general film audiences disdain for the format, he relented and shot it normally. Fortunately, with current technology as it is, you don’t have to choose one or the other. A black & white version of the film is included on the DVD and I feel it is the superior of the two.

It totally gives The Mist a sense of the old school creature features that inspired King and Darabont growing up. The long shadows provide a heightened air of paranoia and further evoke The Twilight Zone, which also served up its subtext in the guise of science fiction and horror. I was specifically hoping that the lack of colour would help mask some of the weaker visual effects and it does to a certain extent. It’s a very interesting experiment and I’m glad that Darabont was able to indulge in it.

The set is rammed with other cool stuff, as well. There is a lengthy special effects featurette where gore guru Greg Nicotero gets a lot of face time. It’s always a joy to watch this man work. He didn’t seem bothered at all that most of the stuff he and his team designed was being replaced by CGI. Their practical effects were criminally underused in this movie. Another featurette worth mentioning is a profile on Drew Struzan. You may not know him by name, but you sure as hell know his stuff. His artwork is unmistakable, having done countless movie posters over the last few decades. Tom Jane’s character and the opening scene, where he is painting in his studio, are a nod to Struzan and his work.

Regardless of whether or not you caught The Mist in theatres, this DVD offers you a new experience either way.

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