It is his found footage masterpiece, Home Stories, that will forever bond Müller with fans of that often abused genre; collecting the most kitschy and colourful images of disturbed housewifes in evening gowns from 1950s Hollywood melodramas, Müller re-cut them into a film that both comments on gender entrapment in classic-era Hollywood while exhibiting the sheer joy of image mutilation.
It often takes an outsider to present a fresh view of American culture, and Home Stories is one such film. Nothing is said in the film, which illuminates stereotypes of American womanhood along with cinematic conventions; we simply watch a string of leading ladies in despair and in danger, an in a foreboding luxury home setting. Typical Hollywood-ish suspense music fills the soundtrack and immediately creates a tension that builds unrelentingly to a teasing anticlimax.
She screams. She falls silent. The expectation is terrifying. But what she faces is nothing but the observer´s view. She is the observed. Clichés of a melodrama unite into a drama of stereotypes. The brilliant montage of cases in point reveals the mechanism of voyeurism in Home Stories by Matthias Müller.
(Association of German Film Critics, 1991)
A collage of Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s and 1960s, filmed directly from the television set. The constantly recurring motifs of suspense and clichés of plot make it possible to move seamlessly among scenes from different films with different protagonists: uneasy sleep, getting up, listening at the door, turning on the lights, being startled, etc.
In the montage, the movements and gestures of the actresses – stars like Lana Turner, Tippi Hedren, and Grace Kelly– seem choreographed and planned for each other. The sound track (Dirk Schäfer) supports this effect with connecting passages of sound that imitate the stereotypes of the genre. The treatment concentrates the dramatic shift from the familiar to the eerie and shows how women become the victims of the voyeuristic glance of film.
In Home Stories Müller transforms linear, syntagmatic events into a world of purified emotion expressed in closely related, paradigmatic elements, condensing them into a grand poem of fear.
(Peter Tscherkassky, In: Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema, Pesaro, cat., 2000)