MY FAVOURITE HORROR MOVIE: GUILLERMO AMOEDO
GUILLERMO AMOEDO IS A URUGUAYAN WRITER AND DIRECTOR WHO IS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS COLLABRATIONS WITH ELI ROTH & NICOLAS LOPEZ ON FILMS SUCH AS AFTERSHOCK, THE GREEN INFERNO AND THE STRANGER. HERE HE TALKS ABOUT HIS FAVOURITE HORROR OF ALL TIME, DAVID LYNCH'S LOST HIGHWAY.
I know that it isn't exactly a horror movie, but, in my opinion, David Lynch's "Lost Highway" has some of the most scary scenes I've seen in cinema history and the best part of it is that these scenes don't involve any kind of violence or blood in it. They just scare and haunt you in some weird psychological level that is pretty hard to explain. From the very beginning, "Lost Highway" drags you into this surreal world very slowly and by the hand of the leading character. You start thinking you are watching a story that takes place in the real world (as the main character does), but then things start slowly falling apart and drag Bill Pullman's character -and the audience- into this twisted nightmare that's very scary, but also fascinating at the same time. As with most of David Lynch's films, it's very hard to describe or explain the ways the film works. Lost Highway functions in a subconscious level and the perception of the film probably changes from one viewer to another. I don't plan to analyze the whole movie here, but just to center on one particular and amazing scene: the Mystery Man apparition at the cocktail party. In the middle of the first act of the film, the main character portrayed by Bill Pullman goes with his wife to a Hollywood cocktail party. There, in the middle of the crowd, he sees a weird looking guy, pale white with no eyebrows and dressed in a black suit, who's looks and smiles at him. A couple of seconds later this mysterious man, portrayed by Robert Blake, approaches to him and starts having a very bizarre conversation with Bill Pullman. When they start talking the ambient music of the party suddenly stops making the conversation between them completely intimate and scary. It's amazing the way David Lynch manipulates the ambience and tone of the scene with just little details like this. What started as a completely normal dramatic sequence at a party that's not grim or dark (it's actually very colorful and bright), ends up pulling the viewer into a very nightmarish situation completely by surprise. During this brief conversation the Mystery man tells Bill Pullman that they know each other from before, but Bill Pullman doesn't remember him. So Blake answers him that they met at Pullman's house, where he (Blake) is right now. "That's fucking crazy, man", Pullman answers -exactly what the audience is thinking-, but then Blake gives him his cell phone and invites Pullman to call to his house which he does. And, to everyone's surprise, Blake answers the phone at the other end, at the same time as he's creepily smiling at him at the party.
This kind of sequence where Lynch takes the audience from what appears to be a completely innocuous and safe situation to a complete nightmare in just a blink - it's also greatly done in another of his films: Mullholand Drive, where two friends are talking inside a nice diner at noon and then everything goes to hell. I know David Lynch's movies can sometimes be hard to watch because they are not standard in terms of structure or tend to be uncomfortable for some audiences due to what appears to be an erratic development of the story, but I think horror filmmakers can learn a lot more from some of his movies - especially by the way he employs all the elements in this kind of sequence - than from many other plain horror films that tend to overuse the same resources and formulas over and over again to scare or intimidate the audience.