Darwin Ortiz

"Atmosphere is the all-important thing, for the /¿,lQ, . authenticity is not the dovetailing of a plot but the creation l??'1 o/

H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural

Horror mpi

One of the most important elements in making suggestion atmosphere. In a certain atmosphere things may seem posBih!^ ,s would strike us as absurd in a different atmosphere. The . ^ example is ghost stories. Told at the beach on a sunny day ^ about someone seeing a ghostly apparition might seem absurd t*3' by a fireside in a chilly, dimly lit room at night ' ■ ^

thunderstorm, the same tale might seem disturbingly plausible""8 '1 In Carlos Clarens' An Illustrated History of the Horror Film there » great story about Carl Dryer who directed Vampyr, one of the all! time classic horror films:

To his crew, Dreyer described the film-to-be. 'Imagine that we are sitting in an ordinary room. Suddenly we are told that there is a corpse behind the door. In an instant the room we are sitting in is completely altered; everything in it has taken on another look; the light, the atmosphere have changed, though they are physically the same. This is because we have changed and the objects are as we conceive them.' What Dreyer's example makes clear is that atmosphere is, in the final analysis, a state of mind. In trying to create a certain atmosphere you are using externals to produce a mental state that will lead the audience to perceive your magic the way you want them to. It's like the man who prepares for a seduction by dimming the lights, putting on romantic music, preparing a candlelit dinner, and chilling some champagne. He knows this atmosphere might produce a frame of mind that could lead to activities more unlikely in a different atmosphere.

As a magician, you must first determine what kind of atmosphere will best seduce your audience—what kind of atmosphere will make your magic most effective. It may be a fairy-tale atmosphere like the one David Roth generates. Through the use of whimsical props like plastic rainbows, cloth holes, and bagless purses, and fantasy themes like pouring sound into a glass and pulling reflections off a mirror, he creates a fairy-tale world almost like that of the castle in Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. In this enchanted world it's easy to believe that one could drop coins into a two-dimensional hole and find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

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