Father Gore’s been a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn since seeing Pusher and Bleeder about 15 years ago during a stint at film school. The Danish director went from someone making gritty crime movies like Martin Scorsese, to making engaging, cryptic films like certain works by the likes of Stanley Kubrick, to becoming a wholly unique auteur in his own right with a style that specifically screams “REFN.”
He continues to wear his influences on his sleeve while carving out a distinct space in modern cinema for himself. Ever since Drive came out other filmmakers have been biting off Refn’s style – some successfully, others not so much – and the ’80s-sounding score/soundtrack has only gotten more prevalent in horror and sci-fi movies (and it helped the already amazing Cliff Martinez become a household name outside of Steven Soderbergh fans). Without doubt, Refn has made his mark on the contemporary film landscape, and Father Gore would argue he’s changed it to a degree.
In the name of love for Refn’s work, this edition of Twisted Parallels is looking solely at his fascinating, hypnotic, and horrific 2016 film, The Neon Demon. Not only is the story itself great – the screenplay co-written with Refn by Mary Laws and Polly Stenham – all the imagery is incredibly effective. The director takes all of his admiration for the horror genre, mixes it with his singular cinematic language, and creates scenes featuring perfect callbacks to films by Wes Craven, Don Coscarelli, Alfred Hitchcock, and Walerian Borowczyk, as well as references to modern art and newer films such as Beyond the Black Rainbow from director Panos Cosmatos (and even a throwback to his father George’s 1986 flick Cobra, too).
Because this edition is totally about The Neon Demon, the info (director + cinematographer) will only appear under the first image. Subsequent images will only feature the info for the other movie frames side-by-side with those from Refn’s film.
Let’s tuck into Refn’s extensive (horror) movie knowledge with Edition #8 in the Twisted Parallels of Cinema. #7 is available here.
Freddy Krueger’s hands reach out of Nancy’s dreams
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Directed by Wes Craven
Cinematography by Jacques Haitkin
Dream hands reach from a motel wall
The Neon Demon
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Cinematography by Natasha Braier
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Directed by Panos Cosmatos
Cinematography by Norm Li
Arched female bodies
“The Arch of Hysteria”
Long shots of mausoleum corridors
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Cinematography by Don Coscarelli
Norman Bates attacks as Mother
Jesse wields a knife
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Cinematography by John L. Russell
Images of Elizabeth Bathory
Directed by Walerian Borowczyk
Cinematography by Bernard Daillencourt, Guy Durban, Noël Véry, & Michel Zolat
Reflections in aviator sunglasses