As part of our 2018 Guide to Making Horror Movies (available in our new print issue this week and as an eBook), we spoke with nine cinematographers who specialize in frightening fare, each discussing the details of a particular new feature. Below, the same talented DPs offer their overall thoughts on working in the genre, and consistent themes in their filmographies.
Maxime Alexandre (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Maniac, Annabelle: Creation, Pictured Above)
Handling the cinematography in the horror genre is probably the must complete experience any director of photography could have. There is no other genre that gives you the opportunity to flirt with darkness and colors at the same time, to visually trap someone in an empty desert or a closet with the same cinematographic power, or to enhance the beauty of a house and than transform it into a nightmare again at the same time.
On Tackling a Remake or Sequel
The language of cinematography has changed and will keep changing forever, and you don’t do a remake to make something better; you do it to bring a fresh way of telling the story to a new audience. For those people who remember the original, you bring back a great story with a new vision and colors. My first remake was Alexandre Aja’sThe Hills Have Eyes. When we started, I hadn’t seen the original, and Alexandre asked me not to. I still think that was a good choice; the visual aspects of our version are totally different. Moving up to my experience on Annabelle: Creation, I could have done anything I wanted since it was a prequel, but that would have been a mistake. I believe the Conjuring world, while each film has photographic differences, should have an overall approach that makes the audience feel the same sort of entity.