1993, 35mm, Colour & BW. 26 mins 24 sec.
1994, Beta-SP, VHS.
2020 4k Digital Reconstruction (in progress)
by Peter Morse, Robert Frith and Glenn Rogers
The Horla is a re-imagining of the classic horror story by Guy de Maupassant (1887), as a metaphor for madness and disease.
The protagonist’s obsession with an invisible vampire, although it is never clear whether this is real or imagined, is explored via the imagery and music as a metaphor for representations of madness and disease, with particular reference to the history of representations of syphilis and AIDS. Maupassant himself suffered from the effects of tertiary syphilis towards the end of his life and these autobiographical details are interwoven into the text as letters and commentary.
Libretto by Peter Morse and Glenn Rogers.
Original music score by Glenn Rogers.
Songs: Andrew Foote and Peta Gourlay.
Voices: Alister Cowie, Elle Deslandes, Deborah Robertson, Peter Morse.
Audio production by Alistair Dudfield.
Production design by Peter Morse and Robert Frith.
Principal Photography by Robert Frith.
Originally made for a 35mm 9-projector computer controlled performance, this has been transferred to video.
1993 ArtRage, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Festival of Perth
1994 Experimenta, Melbourne International Film Festival
1999 Parkhaus Gallery, Berlin
The technology was primitive by todays standards - 9 slide projectors were computer controlled using a Genesis AV system on an IBM XT 386 computer, output to a 4-track reel-to-reel tape deck, playing 2-channel audio, a clock track and a timing track for the projectors. This meant that we achieved something like 35mm projection definition on a ~6m x 3m rear-projection screen, with stereo sound. Several hundred slides were used across 9 carousels, attaining maximum animation speeds of 2 frames per second. Images were composited on top of each other using analogue 35mm masking techniques.
The 35mm originals were transferred to PAL standard BetaSP via live camera, and then VHS.