Thursday, April 07, 2016

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (2006) vs. ALISON (2015): Visual Tropes and Motifs

The single biggest influence, both thematically and aesthetically, on my now recut and freshly completed Alison was its 2006 predecessor Little Red Riding Hood. Really Alison is both a sequel of sorts and a remake. The only reason I didn't outright remake the film was because I felt Little Red Riding Hood wasn't a juicy enough story and I'd have more fun doing an Alice in Wonderland movie in the same style with more sophistication. What amazes me the most is how many visual similarities there are between both films that I didn't even intend. Here are examples of all the thematic and visual parallels that Red and Alison share: some intentionally done to invoke my acclaimed little short, others done completely subconsciously.

Both films open with a close up of the sky shot through a telephoto lens. 

The next shot is also almost identical: the shot dissolves out to a shot of the camera, with a wide lens, panning down a landscape until reaching the film's opening setting.

The female protagonist is introduced in a close up. She is shown doing something child-like (reading a children's magazine, swinging on a swing) to establish a meek, naive and innocent quality.

Intimidating, domineering mother character. Both have masculine qualities as Red's mother is played by myself in drag and Brina, the actress who played Alison's mother, is transgender.

Before the female protagonist makes her first steps on her mock Joseph Campbell "Hero's Journey" of sorts, she flashes a nervous, apprehensive look at the camera. 

The "mouth shot" is a long standing favorite of mine. In this case, both are imposing male figures.
A panoramic shot of the forest to establish location is another favorite of mine.

The shots in both films that follow are almost identical: wide angle tracking shots from behind Red and Alison as they trek through the wilderness. This was somewhat intentional on my part.

Two characters that Red/Alison meet early on in their journey in a forested setting (the Lumberjack and the Cheshire Cat) both impart information upon the female protagonists and warn them of the movies' antagonist(s). They also later show up to rescue the heroine in her darkest hour.
Similar close ups of the female protagonist as they demand to know more information. 

Both characters played by David Luce are first seen smoking. 

The Wolf and the Mad Hatter both kidnap the heroine by knocking her unconscious, though their methods are different (Wolfie uses strangulation, Hats uses drugged tea). As the protagonist blacks out, the audience sees a trippy double to triple exposed shot that fades out.
After a fade out, the protagonist wakes up tied to a chair in a grotesque and filthy shack/dungeon. The same location was used.

The shot that follows, a close up of the protagonist waking up to realize where she is, is almost identical.

The protagonist both scream bloody murder upon seeing the antagonist. 

 These shots of the antagonist taunting the tied up protagonist are very similarly angled.
This close up of the female protagonist pleading with the antagonist are almost identical. 

The protagonist spits at the antagonist.


The Wolf and the Mad Hatter have very similar taste in macabre and grotesque decorations with a pedophilic, child-like air. They also have many torture devices and the bones and remains of their victims everywhere.
"Mouth shot" of the antagonist as he taunts the female protagonist in a rather sexual manner.

 The antagonist is taken down by a secondary character wielding a shotgun, albeit in different ways.
I seem to like fishnets on my actresses. No comment. 

Swords at the seashore. Both scenes were shot on overcast days and color graded similarly (this was intentional on my part). 

Food-based grotesquery, served up, in both cases, by characters played by David Luce.

This shot is nearly identical in both its content and intent: as the protagonist challenges an antagonist to a duel, the camera closes in on her face with a wide angle lens close up.

 The protagonist and an antagonist engage in a show stopping sword fight.

Some of the shots during the final duel are nearly identical. 

The protagonist dispatches the antagonist with an identical "sword swing" shot.