Sundae Monday's Ready for it's Close-Up
It's Tuesday, I know, but I think that alone can prove to you that my life has become extremely busy of late. My screen capture software isn't exactly doing it's job, so I may need to do my actual entry into the Close-Up Blog-A-Thon over at The House Next Door without the proper screen shot. But this is a start.
The function of a close-up often depends on the genre. If in a comedy, it is there for a punchline. In a horror film, it is there to scare us. But what about in a horror-comedy? Surely there is no better example to look at than Evil Dead II. This is a scene which consists almost entirely of close-ups, and its effect is immediate. We begin with a deer's head, a hunting trophy. Suddenly, it turns toward the camera with possessed eyes and laughs at us. The laughter is unsettling, and the look of the deer adds immensely to the sense of fear and unease. Most important is the fact that the angle is from Ash's position, and the deer ir practically looking into the camera as he laughs at us. The lamp laughs at us. If the bookshelves could look in a certain direction, they'd probably be laughing at us. All of this is cut with close-ups of Ash slowly losing his mind. Finally, we cut back to Ash.
He looks straight into the camera and laughs at us too. We are suddenly completely alone in a house full of what appears to be demonic beings, and they finally have control over our protagonist. The demented look is frightening, yet has hints of hilarity in them. As Ash moves away from the camera, his laughing becomes more goofy, and he interacts with the lamp. Comedy is restored once the close-ups have ended. But the scene isn't over.
We return to Ash in close-up one last time in the scene. As the camera moves closer, his hysterical laughs turn into screams of anguish. Our hero is back on our side, and he's scared. The humor has evaporated from the situation, and the horror is fully reinstated with the return of the close-up.
In this scene, the close-up is a scary thing. Everyone is laughing at us, and there is no escape from it. Enjoy.