Thursday, June 19, 2008

French Couture 101, How to Dye Gowns BLOOD RED

I am a HUGE fan of foreign horror movies, as in, ones in another language than English. Lately, I have developed a genre-crush on the French. Their horror films, while not always perfect, certainly smack me upside the head a lot harder than anything made in the U.S. I could go into great academic detail about the creeping uncertainty and disconnect that happens when you get thrown into a different cultural world, especially one where the natives don't like you and YOUR culture all that much, and would not be averse to carving you up and eating your flesh for dinner, but the bottom line for me is that French films are awesome because

1. they have better acting,
2. they have better costumes,
3. they are willing to SOAK both actors and costumes with a blood and gore tidal wave.

Well, there are other reasons, but you get the idea.

Last night I watched Frontier(s). I rather liked it. Basic story: group of French thieves take advantage of riots after a new rightwing government is instated to do some looting. They take refuge in a hostel near the Luxembourg border, which just happens to be run by neo-Nazi cannibal freakazoids. Mayhem, wholesale slaughter, and a LOT of bloodshed ensue.

This movie is absolutely cobbled together from several parts Texas Chainsaw Massacre, several parts American Gothic (I could go on for days about the similarities to that one, complete with screencap evidence, but I'll spare you), a large dollop of Haute Tension and a small one of Hostel, and they seem to have found the brother of Anton Diffring's "Nazi sentimentalist" doctor from Faceless to play the family patriarch.

There are some who might sneer at such a wholesale looting of plot points from other films, but for me, it works, because I actually LIKE all those films. (Except Hostel).

Obviously, this movie is not about the costumes - too bad, because if Udo Kier was playing Papa Nazi he would totally have broken out the full uniform.

But there is some fairly impressive spatter-soak dyeing of a couple white party dresses -

I must use this technique on my next design gig. Instructions:

1. Put white vintage dress on attractive French girl.
2. Hand her various sharp objects, power tools, and rifles.
3. Provide her with creepy cannibal targets.
4. After the splash and spatter method is completed, pour approximately two-three buckets of blood over her head.

Voila! Instant couture-dyeing, Costuminatrix-style.

The "blood facial" also seems to be rather a thing with the French. We also saw this in Haute Tension: the wearing of a gore mud mask by the end of the film.

The new French spa treatment: guaranteed to keep you youthful and insane for years.

Hey, it worked for the Countess Báthory, didn't it? They obviously borrowed the technique from the Hungarian nobility, so it MUST be fabulous.


Tenebrous Kate said...

Awww see...! You lost me at "no uniforms." :*(

My exposure to the current crop of French horror has been very limited. In fact, I think it begins and ends with "Haute Tension," which I quite liked.

Your couture-dyeing technique is extremely sound. No wonder I recruited you for a crucial role in my eeeevil plans.

flightless said...

This post is hilarious and I love the screen caps.

Also, it is an improvement - at least cathartically - over my own form of DIY dyeing, which involves spilling coffee and/or managing to get ink on everything.

The Costuminatrix said...

Kate: I endorse the watching of French horror cinema! They all seem to be sort of cut from the same cloth as Haute Tension thus far, but they seem to have a knack for placing fairly normal characters in really horrific (and somewhat plausible, if extreme) situations.

Flightless: You are too kind with your words of praise! Re: DIY dyeing, I suggest enhancing those coffee and ink stains with the blood treatment. It's cathartic as well as fashionable!

Kitty LeClaw said...

Your blog is like KY Jelly... for my braaaaiiinnnn!!!

(This is where I *really* meant to post this comment. However, the application of gin caused me to commit a slight link-clicking blunder.)