During the mid-1910s, filmmakers experimented with effects lighting, that is, selective lighting over only part of the scene, motivated as coming from a specific source (Thompson 58). Such techniques were clearly demonstrated in horror-genre movie to create a unique perception to viewer. In the “unmasking” scene of The Phantom of the Opera (Julian, 1925), when the female character was trying to take off the mask of the “phantom”, the light focused on her face by creating an “iris-out” effect that follows her motions simultaneously and captures her facial expressions. This special lighting pattern creates a visual frame that emphasizes the female character’s motion in responding to her psychological motivation. We could easily see through this shot that she was curious and a little bit scary to the man in front of her. The light, in addition, was flashing during this shot, evoking “fear” upon audiences. Hollywood plots consist of clear chains of causes and effects, and most of these involve character psychology (Thompson 59). As mentioned earlier, except for the lighting, th...
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...pical happy ending. The ending of The Phantom of the Opera (Julian, 1925) is more memorable to the audiences and is proposing a criticism towards the preexisting social inequality and injustice.
In summary, as a horror-gene movie under the Hollywood studio system, The Phantom of the Opera (Julian, 1925) exemplifies the classical Hollywood style in the use of effective cinematic techniques to create a clear and straightforward storyline. This movies also emphasizes the social class different represented by the characters. The famous “unmasking” scene serves as a turning point for the whole story of the movie, and it further not only evokes the fear feeling but also the in-depth thinking to the audiences. The Phantom of the Opera (Julian, 1925) is a representative horror-genre movie during 1920s and it brings up a criticism in responds to the social inequality as well.
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