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What does neon lighting mean?

From the Italian horror ‘Suspiria’ (1977) to the psychological thriller ‘The Neon Demon’ (2016). Neon lighting typically implies something sinister, maybe something otherworldly. It’s most frequently associated with horror genres or sub-genres and something perhaps set in the past. There’s a certain nostalgia that comes to mind with the combination of dramatic synth music and a high contrast monotone, a la ‘The Guest’ (2014). It’s gritty in ‘Springbreakers’ (2012) and uncomfortable in ‘Enter the Void’ (2009). No matter the colour, the scene or the themes one thing’s for certain. Throw a high-key neon light in a film and your audience is bound to feel uneasy. Any thoughts?

  • I've always felt that neon is the new black. It is good reflection of modern society too, we love bright lit skylines and surrounded in art/culture. However, we like to eventually escape to darkness, look up at the sky and see the stars. Darkness is almost a comfort these days as if it is the only form of privacy. Seeing that neon is comfortable for most of us, throw it in a horror film and it would mess with the audience mentally and emotionally. If I ever get to make a horror movie, neon will be something I use. – MoonKat 3 years ago
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  • Another recent example would be Riverdale. Neon lighting seems vital to the mystery of the show. – Indigo 3 years ago
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