Anthony Balch Characteristics

With an unquestionable love for the unusual, which he noticeably expresses in his earlier films and throughout his career for the most part, Anthony Balch's unique use of symbols, repetition, and abstract narrative created a different type of horror than that which we are accustomed to. In the majority of Anthony Balch's films voices and sounds play an instrumental role in creating this desired illusion in his films. As seen in the film Towers Open Fire, Balch was able to entrance the minds of viewers by oddly/uniquely applying a type of radio transmission to his voice to force a sense of urgency or alarm, which in itself can implicate a feeling of horror as if some militant force was taking over. This technique is also used in the film Bill and Tony, where Balch plays around with the actors' voices and lip speaking.

As was shown in both, The Cut-ups and Towers Open Fire, Balch displays a series of foreign symbols on the clothing of actors used in the films, as well as on multiple surfaces. In one of the scenes, prints of these symbols are stamped onto a reflective surface several times and then written/translated over, into English or some legible language. Symbols have the ability to express the unknown or give a feel of uncertainty due to the fact that the intent of these symbols, when collaborated with abstract filming, leaves the audience in dismay or disoriented.

In addition the majority of his films, in one way or the other, have repetition of scene, words, style, or all of these elements. Anthony Balch was more inclined to shoot with 16mm film; using color very rarely. He primarily shot his films in black and white, particularly his longer films. In these films words and/or phrase were repetitively spoken along with the replication of frames in a particular order to possibly confer the theme of the film.

All these elements performed to provide this "mono/polymorphic structure, which is defined as a single, simple form exhibiting essentially one structural pattern. (Bridgett 2003)

--Greg Lewis, 2006.

Bridgett, R. (2003). Those crazy "cut-ups" Burroughs, Gysin, and Balch restored to their rightful place in avant-garde film history. Retreived November 27, 2006 from

Anthony Balch