The Taking of Deborah Logan is a very impressive horror film that snuck its way onto Netflix this October. If you haven’t seen it, please do. It’s a terrifying tale of a woman with dimensia haunted by something unworldly. The film has almost gained instant cult status as I haven’t heard this much buzz about a film on Netflix since Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. The film deserved a full theatrical release, but, alas…we get what we get, right?
If you look closely in certain scenes, however, you may notice something. Take, for example, the scene where Deborah (Jill Larson) is found upstairs in the attic. For a brief moment…there’s something. Pause the film at 37:51 and you will see this:
Later on (during a pivotal scene involving the fireplace), this appears:
Both images strongly foreshadow one of the final (and most memorable) scenes of the film. They’re unnerving, and may be responsible for the success the film has had. After all, horror is not being haunted by what we see and know…It’s what we see out of the corner of our eye.
Director Adam Robitel is not the first to include subliminal images onto film – if he really did. The film may be haunted. I caught up with co-writer Gavin Heffernan and his official stance is “Probably best if we don’t comment”. It’s actually been very popular in film throughout the years, and is very effective in creating atmosphere.
In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock agreed to do the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents in return for Paramount Studios funding a little film called Psycho. Psycho became a classic, and has many iconic scenes…and two of those scenes include subliminal images. The shower scene stabbing is the most iconic, and it contains 3 frames of the knife stabbing in an upward motion. According to reports, Marion’s shower was a baptism and at that moment she “forgiven for her sins” and “pure”…almost virgin-like. The upward stabbing motion makes her death even more tragic as (not only is she being murdered) but her “virginity” is being taken as well. In the final scene of the film, Norman’s face is superimposed with both Marion’s car and his mother’s face.
In 1973, The Exorcist terrified horror fans all over the world…and it did it with the help of “Captain Howdy”. Captain Howdy is the name that young Regan gave to Pazuzu (the demon that eventually possesses her). Captain Howdy flashes across the screen quite a few times in the film unprovoked. The director has claimed these images did not exist, but home video has proved otherwise.
While The Blair Witch Project managed to scare its audiences with a horrifying finale, its sequel never seemed to capture the magic that the first one had. But, it had quite an interesting “game” to it. Throughout the film, hidden words can be found for split seconds. When placed in the right order and entered onto the official Blair Witch web page, it played an additional scene of the film and entered the user onto a special list (denoting that one had solved the puzzle).
The teaser trailer for 1-18-08 (later known as Cloverfield) premiered before Transformers in theaters and ignited many imaginations. Hell, I had never even heard of an ARG before that film, and now I just wish films would do more. In Cloverfield, a giant deep sea monster attacks New York City. Throughout the film, clips of various Paramount films depicting monsters showed briefly.
If you’re looking for some interesting reading (and some more examples regarding both subliminal images and marketing), just Google the term. I tried to focus on horror films, but Disney films are ripe with images like these. So are many classics that we don’t even realize.