Breaking Glass In Your Room Again

[I]n the title sequence of The Glass Web, the glass web is projected in 3-D and is associated with the shattering of the two-dimensional screen of TV, which is associated in turn with mimesis understood as a glass or mirror. The complexity of this cinematic figure is reflected in the film’s multidimensional relation to classic noir, since if 3-D can be seen as a superior form of mimesis that trumps the “flat” technology of TV, it can also be viewed [. . .] as a form of spectacular expressionism. Put another way, just as the true crime narrative of The Glass Web is indebted to classic noir, so much so that the film appears to be a parody of Double Indemnity, [Jack] Arnold’s expressive recourse to 3-D pulverizes TV’s pretense to realism, simultaneously negating and sublating its documentary thesis.

—Robert Miklitsch, The Red and the Black: American Film Noir in the 1950s (2016)

As the second counselor dies, the movie’s slow motion freezes to a still image that blanches out, like the end of a film reel. It then fades to black and a title card rises from the lower-right corner of the frame. As Friday the 13th approaches the middle of the screen, an exaggerated perspectival effect gives the block letters physical force. As they rush toward the viewer, they appear to break through a sheet of clear glass—or rather a glass monitor. This shot, like all title sequences, establishes the discursive frame of the motion picture. It is remarkable precisely for that reason, because the shape of its discourse marks a transition from cinema to video, from tearing a screen to shattering a TV. In fact, the idea for the title sequence preceded the movie’s production. Cunningham ran an ad featuring the title card’s “big block letters and broken glass” as early as 1979, and although he never explained why he wanted Friday the 13th to burst through a glass screen, the rapid increase in video distributors pouring money into independent movie production may have had something to do with it. Classic horror movies had been in syndication for decades, but Friday the 13th was the result of a new era in filmmaking: it was too bloody and sexually explicit for TV, yet it addressed itself to a home viewer.

—Caetlin Benson-Allott, Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship from VHS to File Sharing (2013)

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