Week 2’s Mise en scène – Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Sometimes what we think can become a life of its own.  Sometimes what we write can become a life of its own.  Sometimes life can imitate even our dreams.  One of the most recent modern human creations that have become a window into other worlds of lives, even into the depths of our very own souls, is that of the motion pictures that have captivated our mind’s attention for well over a century now.  One such important key that helps unlock the door to a world of imagination is that of how a camera is used to capture a film’s mood with its lighting, or in some cases, lack thereof.

For this second week’s blog post, one such film that uses the low-key approach to its lighting is that of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Originally released in 1992, this film uses the low-light approach throughout the majority of its scenes as to create a realistic atmosphere of dread and corruption so as to have the audience feel as though they were witnesses first-hand to what was unfolding before their eyes.

 If, for some reason, the choice of using another lighting method was used rather than that of low-key, the mood for the film would have been altered and the affects in which the creators were seeking would have made this film less effective and quite possibly a movie made to be forgotten.  This is but reason why so many horror movies use this style of technique, so as to install a mood of dread and what lurks around the next corner.

To understand what Mise en scène truly  means is to simply see with more than your natural eyes on how every scene is laid out or setup for the screen’s magic before them.  As this class’s textbook authors mildly explained, Mise en scène is a way in which the storytellers of a film tells the tale without having to explain how certain scenes should actually feel simply by setting up various elements to let the moviegoer’s imagination roam free (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014).  After all, if the right mood for a particular movie is not set up the intended way, then the outcome could seriously be perceived as something entirely different!


Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/

Movie clips. (2009). Bram Stoker’s Official Trailer HQ– (1992) [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlDbxogHPao

Movie clips. (2013). Dracula: Dead and Loving It: Children of the Night – (1995) [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OafrvCNOow


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