The Trinity of Terror: Lee, Cushing, and Price

It seems fated that horror legends Peter Cushing, Sir Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price share near the same birthdays: Cushing on May 26, and Lee and Price on May 27, even if not the same year. In the hearts and minds of most horror fans, they are three of the most important actors of the genre. All three had acting careers spanning from the 40’s to present, even after their deaths.

THE NEON DEMON (2016): Nicholas Winding Refn’s Golden Buddha

The metaphor of the Golden Buddha is a humorous bit of Hollywood lore. Lew Hunter passes it along in his classic Screenwriting 434 (Revised ed., 2004). In a nutshell, it teaches the lesson that every screenplay is, in essence, a pile of crap. It’s how the writer molds, crafts, and adorns that lump that matters. Artistry determines whether s/he can transform it into a thing of beauty like a golden statue of the Buddha.

Applied to The Neon Demon, Nicholas Winding Refn’s 2016 slow-burn horror-thriller, the Golden Buddha metaphor is apt. From the standpoint of form and style, it is a well-made film, beautiful to watch. In other words, Refn has applied the golden paint to his Buddha with skill. As a story, the movie is a rather thin and clichéd tale. In other words, the statue’s gilding does not hide the material from which its maker has created it.