Personal Cinema; Ghostly


Personal Cinema is a way for me to look back on the images and tell the story behind some of the ones that have moved me and that have some insight to offer into how it came to be. These images really have become my personal cinema, frames from my life living here in Poland, stories that move me. I hope you enjoy this series.

I will freely admit that I am deeply inspired of a deep love for Horror, Thriller, Mystery and the Fantastique both in fiction literature and in cinema. From my earliest years I was infatuated with monsters and creatures of the imagination. I would sneak out any chance I could get to catch the Late Night Movie or watch my favorite reporter Carl Kolchak unravel the latest monster mystery that would charge my imagination. I fell in love with writings of Lovecraft , Poe, Matheson, Bradbury, Stoker and from there finding a love for the writing of Stephen King, reading everything that I could get my hands on late into the night with rapt attention to every detail.

The same was for cinema. I couldn’t get enough of anything that would go bump in the night stirring the cauldron of my vivid imagination allowing a love for the obscure to flourish. I watched anythign that I could, often going to great lengths to convince my parents to allow me to stay up or to take me to the movies to see one.  I loved the Hammer Horror movies and the schlocky goodness that Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing would often provide as they battled evil. The other kids in my neighborhood and I would often have slumber parties where the treat was a double creature feature that had us all at the edge of our seats and awake through the night. We bonded through the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman and all of their sordid pals long before the likes of Jason, Freddy or Michael had taken over (and I love them all too) exploring the storylines with our own versions and outcomes. The brilliant Sci-Fi/Horror film ALIEN remains my absolute favorite. Today, it pleases me so much to see new work like Stranger Things take off and remind me of those times in the 80’s…of course without the actual monsters and evil madmen.

I tell you all this as a way to convey the image we see here and the resaon I love the atmospheric fog so much and how it brings that kid from many years ago right back into today.  As an adult, its easy to forget o rput aside those feelings and so I am grateful for every second chance I get to feel them again.

This scene captured in Autumn 2012, was something that resembled in my mind, exactly like a real life Hammer film might have. The fog that day was thick and cool, hardly letting the light in, reminiscent of  a scene from the moors in the Hound of the Baskervilles and when I looked from our window in Jezyce, I knew I had to go out and explore this moody landscape, finding my own little cinematic vision. I loved how the mist would obscure the ladscape, allowing an etheral quality to take over and taunt my imagination. Nothing was really moving around since on this day it was early on a Sunday morning and as Agnieszka and I explored the streets, heading to Park Solacki, we barely saw anyone…just hints as they crossed the road before us.

Once in the park, the mood was like a set piece from every film that I lovedlovd as a kid and half expected some kind of creature to come through the mist. (If you have ever read the short novella, The Mist by Stephen King (and not the TV show..) or anything from Lovecraft, then you know what I speak of.). We spent quite a while enjoying the peace of the park, catching all kinds of wonderful autumn, foggy moments, but saw no or few people…which in my opinion was strange and if I were 12 again I might tell you that some kind of invasion had taken place. But no, it was Sunday, foggy and people were at home enjoying their morning with a hot cup of coffee or the like.

As we were getting ready to go back and get ourselves some hot coffee, I could hear the heels of shoes approaching and turning back to look, I saw this figure in the disance beginning to emerge from the shroud of fog that you see in the image. A ghostly figure and silhouette of an older woman slowly approaching, the shuffling of her feet crunching leaves under them. This was too good! Finally A real piece of cinema for me to catch! As she moved towards us, the dense fog swirling around and away from her, I took the shot..well, a few but this is the one that works perfectly for me and calls to mind ghosts and the stories they haunted. When she was close enough to tell, I could then tell she was on her way to Sunday Service, perfectly dressed, pleasant and even said hello as she passed becoming nothing more than a “freindly ghost” as she again disappeared into the fog. But, I had the shot that would remind me of this little sliver of cinema and captured it in a way that certainly pleases my 12-year-old self and the drawings I would often make.

I have written about fog and the moods it provokes in me and I recenly came across this image striking me by how much I love it and reminding me of all of those years growing up that I spent cultivating an appreciaiton for the darker mysteries that captured my imagination. This image really changed my way of how I would then approach those foggy monring as I would look for that figure that would again help me in my vision appealing to my love of macabre. Often my protagonist would be crossing the street and sometimes I would again be surprised upon hearing the sound of heels and boots before seeing anyone emerge. I can’t tell you how much I love those moments and the mood they imbue. And here people thought I loved the fog because it hides the ugliness of the city. HA!

It is currently early fall and soon there will be fog and mist rolling through the city once more, obscuring the streets and lending to the moody landscape. For sure, I will look from my window on these mornings with excitement knowing that I can let that little kid out to play again and explore the cinema in my mind and from my lens.

I still continue to love and be inspired by the works of these authors along with so many more maintaining that love by seeing these types of movies every chance I get. As a matter of fact, I watched Hereditary last night that had me considering this infatuation all over again while contemplating the thought of  leaving the light up for a little longer. Great flick if you have a strong heart. I am happy to put a list together of titles for anyone who wishes, all you have to do is ask. I can not possibly be alone in my appreciaton for this genre, can I? I hardly think so.

We all have reason for seeng the way we see, these are some of mine.

Thank you for entertaining my little cinema with me. I do hope you enjoyed it.

Here is the moody black and white of the same image. Both effective and draw different feelings for me. Enjoy!

Update: I decided to inlcude a small list of some of my favorite horror films over the years. I have soooo many but these are among the top. I hope you find something to keep you up at night.  Favorite Horrror Films