Off-screen wolf calls and eerie silhouetted palm trees assault us right-off-the-bat, usher us into a cemetery bathed in spookhouse shadow. A hideous, dead doll-faced monster comes to life and so do we, sit straight up in our seats until, presto, change-o, the great Brian De Palma fools us by revealing it’s only a horror movie set. Indeed! Then again, De Palma is known for throwing ice cold water in our unsuspecting faces. In movies like CARRIE, THE FURY, BLOW OUT, SCARFACE, the first MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and (my personal favorite), DRESSED TO KILL, his key signature—rapturous violence—hypnotizes with its ability to lure us down a sunlit street before hitting us over the head with the dark unknown waiting around every corner. Light aside dark, this is De Palma’s stock-in-trade for he, more than probably any other director I can think of, except maybe his hero, Alfred Hitchcock, poses the question, “How can we recognize the light unless there is something dark beside which it can shine”?
Tag: Brian De Palma
Almost forty years after the release of Phantom of the Paradise, the music of Paul Williams is experiencing a bit of a revival. His most famous song, “The Rainbow Connection”, appeared in the latest Muppet Movie, and up-and-coming artists like the Alkaline Trio and Rachel Yamagata covered his tunes on The Green Album, a tribute to the Muppets. Fans of the visionary French robotic duo Daft Punk have heard his disembodied voice on their latest album, Random Access Memories. Even one-man corn syrup factory Jason Mraz paid tribute to the songsmith in an event hosted by ASCAP. Still Alive, a highly personal documentary about Williams’ showbiz career and his work as a substance abuse counselor, opened to great acclaim in NYC and LA earlier this year.