I’ve seen Lauren Ashley Carter described as the “Audrey Hepburn of indie horror” and I was convinced that’s true by this film alone. She absolutely carries this dark little fever dream of a horror flick, filmed in black and white about a woman acting as caretaker in a large house with a dark past and a forbidden room. It’s beautiful and strange — much more atmosphere than story, and I highly recommend it if that’s your thing (as it is mine).
I had intended to focus on mostly Giallo this week but this movie disturbed me so much that I was reluctant to go further down that route. Although I am generally a fan of Giallo in general and Dario Argento in particular, I just kept thinking about the fact that he was filming his daughter in incredibly sexualized rape scenes, which just feels so creepy to me.
The title is a reference to an actual condition where a person has an extremely intense response to an experience, particularly art — and the movie opens with Asia Argento’s character, police detective Anna Manni, being affected by it while in the midst of pursuing a serial killer/rapist. She’s captured by this killer multiple times and the focus of the movie is really on how this affects her, which was an interesting spin, despite the creepiness.
I’ve decided to watch 31 horror movies this month and then write about it. You can read part 1 here. For this week I decided to watch non-Western horror, which really ended up being just Japanese horror. I had added a few Korean films to my list but I didn’t get around to watching any of them so maybe next week (though I’m also planning to throw in some Giallo — Dario Argento, Mario Bava, etc). I was also struggling with insomnia this week which meant I was tired and didn’t have as much time and energy to watch stuff, so I ended up watching fewer movies and towards the end I switched back to American stuff.
“From Takashi Shimizu, director of The Grudge and Ju-On horror films” — according to Amazon. Takashi Shimizu is one of my favorite horror directors of all time, and I was a bit surprised to find something of his that I hadn’t seen already. When I realized he didn’t direct it, I understood; the actual director is Issei Shibata, someone I’ve never heard of and who has only three directing credits. This is a pretty silly movie, about three models who are doing a fashion shoot with some creepy old men at an abandoned (haunted) school. The special effects are mostly ridiculous video effects, like distorting the characters’ faces when they’re manifesting the evil.
I don’t have anything against direct to video — the original Ju-On (The Grudge) was direct to video as well, and it was one of the first horror movies to scare me in a long time. This is no Ju-On, however. It’s a terrible silly movie.
I’ve decided to watch 31 horror movies this month and then write about it. Here are all of the movies I watched in the first week of October, in chronological order.
1. The Exorcist
Normally I have a “no Christian mythology” rule for my horror, which is why I hadn’t seen The Exorcist before. I didn’t end up finishing it before it left Netflix, but I saw enough to feel like my rule was warranted. We have an “ancient evil” unearthed in Iraq, a beleaguered single mom/actress (played by Ellen Burstyn) who sees her once loving and cheerful daughter literally possessed by demons. I’m sure a lot has been written about the movie as an analogy for the ways mother/daughter relationships can become problematic as puberty approaches but I don’t think that’s particularly interesting.
The thing that surprised me the most about this movie was how much of it ends up being medical/body horror, as they perform various tests on Regan to find out what’s wrong — including a “spinal tap” that looks a lot more like “let’s stick a tube in your jugular.” Following that, there’s a conversation with one of the doctors about whether to consult a psychiatrist or not and he says “let’s explore all of the medical avenues before we start looking at somatic possibilities” which I just found to be a fascinating statement. I would hope that some thirty years later we have a better understanding that there isn’t a sharp bright line between psychiatric issues and so-called medical issues.