For Reel

Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy (2005)
November 1, 2015, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Constantine Nasr
3 Stars
Shadows in the Dark The Val Lewton LegacyTypical of a Warner Brothers documentary, Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy deftly finds the appropriate balance between a biographical overview of the subject and articulating an appreciation of his body of work. The talking heads (including Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, John Landis, and others) speak much about what Lewton brought to the genre, namely the film noir aesthetic that grounds the horror elements in the everyday (whereas in the 1940s, Universal was churning out films that simply brought their famed cast of monsters together for sheer spectacle). Furthermore, Lewton’s famed mastery of suggestion is discussed, with a clip of the brutal first killing in The Leopard Man demonstrating the horrors that Lewton would insist one’s mind to conjure. One wishes the documentary involved more of an aesthetic appreciation–while there is an insistence that Lewton was a master of assembling the right team for his films, little is said about his relationship with someone like Nicolas Musuraca, who undoubtedly brought his own contributions to the overall atmosphere of these productions.

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