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The Sound behind the Image III: Real Horrorshow

Forbidden Planet Lobby Card
Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera
Heather Donahue in The Blair Witch Project
Forbidden Planet lobby card (top); Lon Chaney in the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera (middle); Heather Donahue in The Blair Witch Project (bottom)

"The Sound behind the Image III: Real Horrorshow!" sounds like an ideal pre-Halloween night out for horror movie fans. An Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presentation, "The Sound behind the Image III" will explore the art and technology of sound in movies, especially in horror films, on Thursday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Organized by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, the event will be hosted by Oscar-winning supervising sound editor David E. Stone, and will feature film clips tracing the evolution of sound in horror films from the pre-sound days of The Phantom of the Opera (1925) through films of the digital age such as The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Cloverfield (2008). (Without all the loud sound effects, for instance, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds is less scary than The Sound of Music. Trust me, I know — I kept my index fingers planted firmly in my ears throughout the whole film.)

Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Cartwright - The Birds
Veronica Cartwright, Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Alfred Hitchcock, and lots of winged extras on the set of The Birds (1963)

Mark Mangini, a three-time Oscar nominee for Sound Effects Editing, and Richard L. Anderson, a two-time Oscar nominee for Sound Effects Editing and the recipient of a Special Achievement Award, will demonstrate how sound effects were created for Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist (1982), which, as per the Academy’s release, "elevated horror sound from B-movie quality to full-scale, multichannel modernism."

Vanessa Theme Ament, foley artist, teacher and author (The Foley Grail) will also take the stage to present the work of master foley artist John Post. In his work on such films as John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and as a trainer/mentor to other foley artists, Post has "influenced the way sound effects are created for horror films today and helped make foley a respected and necessary part of every horror soundtrack."

Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff in Frankenstein
Bela Lugosi in Dracula

Additionally, Oscar-winning production sound mixer Gene Cantamessa and supervising sound editor Don Hall will discuss their work behind the scenes of Mel BrooksYoung Frankenstein (1974). (Above, James Whale’s 1931 Frankenstein with Boris Karloff and Mae Clarke [upper photo]; Bela Lugosi [right] in Tod Browning’s 1931 Dracula [lower photo].)

And finally, sound effects editor and foley artist Louis Kleinman, sound rerecording mixer Christian Minkler, and sound effects wrangler Steve Lee will also take part in onstage discussions.

Tickets to "The Sound behind the Image III: Real Horrorshow!," are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID.

Tickets are available for purchase by mail, at the Academy box office (8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or online at www.oscars.org. Doors open one hour prior to the event. All seating is unreserved.

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at the 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library

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