Now, I just want to say that I did not try to recreate the original screenplay but what I did try to create, and what I felt Rob Zombie's movie were lacking, was a story that made you care about Heidi Hawthorne; a girl despite her troubled past tries to make ends meet only to see it all spiral out of control.
It is now told as a silent film, in black&white. The story is quite different. And with that more interesting.
The Downward Spiral "A Warm Place"
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack by Trent Reznor
- for helping me with something I ultimately ended up not using
-Whitey and Heidi are lovers
-no Francis Matthias
Ingenious reworking of Rob Zombie’s misbegotten Lords Of Salem into a moody silent movie. Zombie’s attempt was laughably pretentious, but steFAN has crafted something between arthouse and indie. A serious blood curse that takes generations to flower.
Video - Black n white, rather soft focused. Editing solid throughout. Most of the transitions are iris wipes and more consistency would be preferred. Closures are too swift, then there is a lag between opening the next scene. Not a major problem, but this could be smoothed. Also, once or twice only one half of the iris wipe is used.
Audio - Fine 2.0 stereo, well thought out musical track. Most of the ambiant cues deftly channel the unsettling tone. No subs, of course, but there are inter-titles. As mentioned by That One Guy, and in the forum thread, there are several misspelled words and grammar errors. These could easily be corrected. Very imaginative fonts are used, a script font as well as a blocky type. The script could be a little bit larger. Neither font is especially difficult to read, yet both require a second or two additional time to visually “decode.” Consequently, most of the inter-titles ought to remain visible on screen a beat or two longer.
One title card in particular goes on far too long, however. The apartment sequence with Heidi and the “three witches” seems to go on and on and on. This really needs to be cut into three edited cards, broken up with facial closeups or hands or clock ... The classic rule - show, don’t tell applies.
Narrative - Cohesive storyline, though the ending was utterly baffling. I had to reread the forum thread to see what steFAN’s intention was. Perhaps a touch of colour during the finale would have clarified Heidi’s fate.
Enjoyment - For me, absolutely! Know your limitations, however. Black n white - Silent - a measured pace. This edit is rich in imagery, the tempo is best described as lingering. Passing familiarity with the works of L'Herbier, Duvivier, or especially Dreyer (though Mr Zombie is NOT among that group) will help navigate steFAN’s conception and execution. This is an excellent edit, and I believe with modifications could be truly outstanding.
Before I get into my review, I should say that I quite enjoyed Lords Of Salem - it has a weak denoument, but most of the film is about building tension and dread, and the film does so very effectively even if it never quite pays it off.
In saying that, steFANedit has done something remarkable here in his recontextualisation of the film - he's stripped the narrative and characters right down and rebuilt the story into something different so that the available material can provide a payoff. Considering how much this involves using titlecards for dialogue, I think it's a remarkable success and one I will happily watch again in future.
The video editing was very strong; the silent cinema homage was nicely done with simple transitions and scene framings that felt authentic. There are a few spelling and grammar mistakes in some of the intertitles, but nothing really problematic - the only issue I'd have with these is that there is one which is a lengthy monologue; I would have preferred to see it split into several discrete intertitles instead of using scrolling, as this seemed to slow the film's pace somewhat.
The audio was mostly musical in nature - the track choices were great and neatly completemented the events on screen, with a recurring theme that adds wonderfully to the unsettling tone that permeates the film. Unfortunately, I did notice several audio transitions that were quite abrupt when it felt that they would have been better served with crossfades. It's not a major problem, though.
Narratively, it's pretty great. The story and character arc are very deftly handled, although the ending is very abrupt - as in, cut to black, no credits abrupt. Given the available material I can understand this, though closing credits or even a closing intertitle would have been a nice touch.
All in all, it's a different enough experience to the original film that I don't think it can really be compared to the original or treated as a "preferred version". In saying that, it's a great edit and if you like your horror oozing tension and dread and nightmarish visions, you'll find a lot to like here.
A very creative edit. I have never been a fan of Rob Zombie's on your face approach, but steFANedit has transformed this film into a surreal Lynchian nightmare that kept me fascinated from start to finish. The silent film approach was the only way to fix this film. Only comment is that some of the title cards were a bit too long and a few of them had typos. Also, I think that the aspect ratio conversion was a bit off. Anyway just a few minor things that can be overlooked. Overall, this is was a beautiful approach to salvaging this film. I never thought that I would describe anything from Rob Zombie as beautiful. Kudos to steFANedit for a job well done!