Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Film Series: Straight Jacket

The latest installment of my ongoing film project is from the movie Straight Jacket, starring Joan Crawford. It is a famous example of the little remembered Psycho-Biddy film genre of the 1960s which  revolves around older, often menacing women in psychological of physical peril (or the women are the perpetrators of said terror) other examples are Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and Sunset Blvd. (an earlier example as it is from 1950) In the film Joans character Lucy Harbin finds her husband in bed with another women and hacks them both to pieces (described in gruesome silhouettes). She spends twenty years in an asylum.  When she gets out Lucy reunites with her daughter, but soon the two find themselves in an intergenerational sexual rivalry, and soon the bodies start to pile up.
The film uses the exaggerated language of film noir and German expressionism to build up the visual psychology, which sets the film apart from other in the same genre and puts it ahead of its time aesthetically (ironically). It has the feeling of a film that Tarentino has stolen from more than once.
The idea for the illustration was simple, take the iconic image of Joan and her axe, and somehow turn it on its head solely through the use of the medium. I cycled through several variations, which I talk more about in the previous post. What I settled on was the idea of inversion.  giving the image the effect of a negative, blue for the skin, dark flowers on a light wall, light hair instead of black. This is not a true negative, I thought that would be to simple and explicit. Instead I favored suggesting the negative, as a way of implying the inversion of Joans character from a loving mother and wife, into a psychopathic monster.


  1. The blue skin gives this drawing an awesome quality, really like it!

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