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Fearful Visions: Horror Cinematographers Reveal Their Secrets

Fearful Visions: Horror Cinematographers Reveal Their Secrets


Jarin Blaschke (Blood Night, The Witch)

I take films one at a time, and don’t think of them in terms of genre and expectations. I feel this way about “comedy” or “romance” or “drama” too. Just look at how bright Stanley Kubrick’s most horrific moments can be, and how dark Woody Allen’s classics can be. Kubrick’s bright becomes “stark” and Allen’s dark becomes “romantic.” That the creator is fully in the work is what’s important. To find each film, early on, I just play the movie in my head over and over and wait for images to come to me that convey the most effective feelings, timing and energy.

On Shooting in Period

I love period films; I love to be transported. As a cinematographer, one of the best side benefits is that you have fewer choices as far as lighting motivation. I create by process of elimination. The modern world, in color, is horribly messy, noisy and disjointed. It takes a lot of work to distill that into something to watch—not only a harmonious picture and but also an effective representation of what human life really is. It can be a rewarding process, but the fewer colors, materials and light sources of the past let you move on quickly to the more essential questions. You can probably convey every human emotion, and create a very rich film, just by utilizing the kind of light that through windows. The size and position of the window, the weather, the season, the time of day, the geographical location—you have so many options.

Anya Taylor-Joy in a scene from The Witch, shot by Jarin Blaschke. Image courtesy of A24

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