We’ve been anxiously awaiting the official premiere of Dior‘s latest film, Requiem For A Dream, which brings the Gothic legend of The Wolfman into the futuristic realm of CGI and special effects. And now that the movie is finally here, we can discuss how it holds up compared to the original 1930s horror classic. Is the new movie faithful to its source material? How does it hold up as a standalone work, and can we still consider it as a worthwhile tribute to the man most likely to be known as Mr. Romantic? Let’s take a look.
A Viable Replica
One of the most significant changes that Requiem For A Dream brings to the original story are the upgraded visual effects. While the special effects in the original were obviously intended to evoke a more classic horror film version of the Wolfman, they were pretty low-tech for the time. Today, with much more sophisticated tools at our disposal, it’s quite clear that they were far from state-of-the-art. Take a gander at some of the prosthetic makeup that Wolfman uses in the film:
- A fullface prosthetic that covers his nose and mouth
- A pair of sunglasses to match
- An eyeshadow to enhance his blue eyes
- A bandana around his neck
- Dior’s signature red lipstick
All of these elements combine to give the impression that Frank Langella is wearing an old-school Cosby sweater, which is pretty cool. And these are just some of the prosthetic effects—we’re sure to see more as the credits roll. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into capturing the essence of the original Wolfman, and we must give Dior props for going that extra mile to make sure that their cinematic homage is as realistic as possible.
A Face For All Ages
With more emphasis than ever placed on authenticity and technical accuracy, it’s no surprise that filmmakers would want to channel the vintage feel of classic films. And what’s more authentic than going back in time and re-enacting the original stories and costumes? Director Marc Forster takes great care in recreating the atmosphere of the original through the use of lighting and make-up, as well as paying attention to the smallest details. For example, make sure you notice how the camera angles reflect that of a classic horror film:
- The framing is tight
- There’s a high contrast between light and dark
- The camera mostly focuses on the characters’ faces
- And there’s a very organic feel to the lighting
These are all clear odes to the glory days of classic film, and we must admit that it feels glorious to experience this throwback vibe on the big screen. Especially since Requiem For A Dream also features the kind of eclectic, unique, and influential cinema iconoclasm that you might find in a Marc Forster film. This type of sensibility could only come from the director of Fight Club and The Matador—two films that we consider to be pillars of the 21st century independent film movement.
A Film Inconceivable Without Sculptor Sergio Salvato
The special effects and makeup that Dior and Marc Forster throw at us in Requiem For A Dream wouldn’t be possible without the help of a talented prosthetic and make-up artist named Sergio Salvato. A self-taught artisan, Salvato spent over a decade crafting the gruesome looks that we see in the film. And what is prosthetics and make-up if not grotesque caricatures of human beings? It goes without saying that Salvato helped give the film a more authentic old-school horror film vibe.
An Important Film In The History Of Horror
While CGI has done wonders for the film industry, it hasn’t taken over all areas of special effects. There are still times when it’s important to employ practical special effects, such as the ones that Sergio Salvato creates. And what’s more, when CGI is used improperly, it often ends up looking cheap and tawdry. It would be a disservice to categorize Requiem For A Dream as just another movie, because although it may be inspired by a Grimm’s fairy tale, it’s so much more. It’s a truly important film in the history of horror, and we must give it the respect that it deserves for sticking to its guns and never being swayed by the latest fad or trend. Forster and Dior should be commended for producing something that is both unique and highly memorable.