Essay, Research Paper: Parallel Editing


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Parallel editing, or the ability to make two separate actions happen at the same
time, was innovated by D.W. Griffith and is exclusive to films. Action films are
a good source for these, as they give the impression of tensely reaching a
climax in the film. In Vampires, by John Carpenter (1998), there are two
sequences which include parallel editing. The first example happens rather early
in the movie. At this point, a team of vampire slayers commissioned by the
Catholic Church are having a party at a motel. this occurs after they slayed all
the vampires in a nearby nest, losing the head vampire, Valek. The parallel
action begins when the three survivors come back to the motel during daylight in
order to bury the The sequence goes as follows: The jeep Montoya and Katrina are
in drives onto the road. you see Montoya snaking on some food Jack is putting
decapitated heads in a blood-stained white sheet. The jeep continues driving
down a small road. Jack sets the motel on fire, and buries the bag of heads in a
shallow grave. Shot of Jack in a truck. Some rosary beads with a crucifix are
violently swinging from the rearview mirror of Jack’s truck. He stares at it.
It gives the sense that Jack has done something that he should be disturbed by,
but he is successful at blocking out his emotions. Montoya and the dazed Katrina
check into a hotel room. Montoya is made to be very impatient and unnecessarily
vulgar. Jack is at a payphone talking to someone. He says that his team was
killed. In the background across the street is a large brick wall with a very
colorful mural of the Virgin Mary. It cuts to Montoya watching the news in the
hotel room, and he is watching the news coverage of the burning motel room. It
gives the effect that although there is a definite supernatural element, the
incident was very real and many innocent people were brutally killed. Jack is at
a church being treated for his wounds at a church or somewhere religious. This
creates the feeling that Jack turns to religion when he needs it, and he feels
burdened by it at other times. The sequence ends with a shot of Valek on top of
a moving train. The whole sequence lasted only a few minutes. The second
sequence is towards the end of the movie. Katrina has been infected by the Valek,
and she maintains a psychic link with him. Just before every shot of the
vampires, there is a shot of Katrina’s face, signaling that it is being viewed
by her. The sequence goes as follows: Jack, in the bathroom of the hotel, is
asking Father Adam what the vampires are looking for. Shot of Valek and his team
of vampires awakening from the ground and walking to a monastery in a desertous
area. Jack argues with Father Adam because he does not want to tell Jack. He
violently convinces Father Adam to comply.
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