"MY THRILLERS ARE VERY MUCH ME, AND VERY MUCH MY SENSIBILITY"
Thanks to Antonios for posting the above video onto YouTube. It's a CNN Showbiz clip from 1992 about Brian De Palma's Raising Cain, and it features interviews with De Palma and his wife at the time, Gale Anne Hurd, who produced the film. The pair brought the film in more than one million dollars under its $12 million budget, De Palma having gone extravagant on the film he made at Warner Bros. immediately beforehand, The Bonfire Of The Vanities. In the above video, De Palma tells CNN's Jim Moret, "It's sometimes an artistic challenge to work within limitations, as opposed to having all the money in the world to do anything."
A lot of discussion in the video is about how De Palma mixes satire with horror in Raising Cain, using humor as a set-up for springing a shock on the viewer. De Palma also attempts to separate his movies from those of Alfred Hitchcock. "Even my thrillers, I mean, most people want to compare me to him. They're very much me, and very much my sensibility. And what I find similar in Hitchcock is his incredible visual sense in telling stories. And that's something anybody can learn from."
Indeed, you can see De Palma's sensibility from movie to movie. Look at the scene in The Bonfire Of The Vanities, how he highlights the ridiculous rationale behind Sherman taking his dog out for a walk in the rain (so that he can call his mistress on a payphone away from his wife), underlining the humor with the shot of the dog being dragged along the floor by his leash. That scene has a correlative in Raising Cain, when Jenny tells herself that she can't let Jack open Carter's gift, and sneaks out of the house underneath her husband's nose in the middle of the night to sneak into Jack's hotel room. That ridiculous notion (what really would be the harm in Jack opening that gift?) is simply a rationale for disaster, and although it happens in a dream this time (Jenny's dream logic?), you get the sense that an equally ridiculous notion would happen with Jenny when it comes to Jack either way, as long as it ultimately gets her into his bed. Although the Bonfire scene (and in particular the shot of the dog mentioned above) is played a bit more broadly for a definite laugh, the scene in Raising Cain might not seem so funny until the second time you watch it, after you know everything that has and hasn't happened-- it's one of those scenes CNN's Moret might have been thinking of when he tells De Palma he may have felt uncomfortable laughing, not knowing whether or not something was meant to be funny. De Palma assures him it was-- that's the De Palma sensibility.