Saturday, September 3, 2011

True Blood

I am well into the third season of True Blood, Alan Ball's American TV series for HBO. And while its not as taut, romantic or thrilling as the previous 2 seasons, I like my hit of 'vampire porn' enough to wear the massive overdue fines I accumulate each week from slack habits I am now too old to break. The pleasure always begins with the title sequence that first chord of Bad Things, plunges us straight into the murky, grungy swamplands of the deep South before moving to its poor streets, and mixing it up with a snake, fangs bared mid-strike, archival footage of the KuKlux Clan, race riots, and religious fervour. I haven't mentioned the sexy ladies? Every time I watch it I say a silent prayer of thanks to the Americans. No culture can do a title sequence with as much intuition and flair as this nation. I guess it should come as no surprise. After all photographers from Lee Friedlander to Ed Ruscha have been documenting its billboard bearing urban and suburban spaces for over a century. True Blood's titles tap into this rich history. The sequence is wonderful for a number of reasons, not least its sense of texture – colour and black and white footage, different kinds of film stock that in sections appears damaged – and its jarring, hallucinatory shift in speed from slow to frenetic that seemed designed to freak you out. Finally, I can't think of another title sequence that harks back to the mid 1990s, a dirty decade saturated in artificial hues. True Blood returns me to my youthful self to me in many countless ways. True.

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