SFX's high priest­ess of hor­ror

SFX - - Opinion -

On beauty, and the beasts, as well as an ex­cit­ing new hor­ror la­bel


Crim­son Peak looks beau­ti­ful but it’s not scary – dis­ap­point­ing for me but for some strangely com­fort­ing. There’s some­thing in this. Hor­ror is a sprawl­ing crea­ture, good for all kinds of ills (this is why I don’t be­lieve peo­ple who say they don’t like hor­ror...) and there’s a place for tan­ta­lis­ing gothic gor­geous­ness that’s not go­ing to up­set the horses. For those who wish to feast their eyes with­out jan­gling their nerves, here are three more vis­ually stun­ning non-scary scar­ers. 1) Aca­cia South Korean hor­ror melo­drama about a cou­ple who adopt a boy who be­comes ob­sessed with the flow­er­ing tree in their gar­den – florid with images of na­ture and death (and red wool). 2) The Cell Tarsem Singh di­rects Jen­nifer Lopez as a so­cial worker who en­ters the mind of a psy­chopath – in­side it’s full of the strangest, most sweep­ing set­pieces imag­in­able – men­tal and ex­per­i­men­tal. 3) Les Yeux Sans Vis­age A bit creepy but af­ter its grue­some de­noue­ment de­scends into fairy­tale with a face­less woman wan­der­ing the woods with doves on her arms like a messed-up Snow White. Lovely.


Last month genre over­lords Fright­Fest launched their own la­bel Fright­Fest Presents – be­gin­ning with a col­lec­tion of six films which screened at the fes­ti­val in Au­gust, avail­able to down­load now. The first set in­cludes The Sand (man-eat­ing-beach movie. Re­ally), Es­tranged (messed-up fam­ily shocker), Af­ter Death (afterlife night­mare), Night Of The Liv­ing Deb (zom­rom­com) Some Kind Of Hate (rap­ere­venger) and Aaaaaaaah! (pukey non­sense). The best of the fest? Hardly, but that’s not the point – this marks a new era for FF, open­ing up its crop to those who can’t make the event, giv­ing a new out­let for in­die film­mak­ers and a greater in­cen­tive to seek a place in the fes­ti­val line-up in the first place. The ideal is this: that Fright­Fest Presents be­comes an ab­so­lute seal of qual­ity, mean­ing the ca­sual hor­ror nut doesn’t have to trawl through acres of dross like Tool­box Mur­ders 2 or A Haunt­ing At Pre­ston Cas­tle (guess what I’ve been watch­ing this month…) and can jump straight to the qual­ity cu­rios. Don’t let us down, Fright­Fest!


Com­mis­sioned ex­clu­sively for iPlayer, Fear It­self is a semi-doc­u­men­tary con­sist­ing of clips of clas­sic hor­ror movies ac­com­pa­nied by a fic­tional nar­ra­tive voiceover ex­plor­ing the na­ture of fear. More art-in­stal­la­tion than orig­i­nal fea­ture in its own right, it’s nonethe­less ex­per­i­men­tal and in­ter­est­ing. It’s too long at an hour and a half. The pace and tone of the voiceover barely varies (but then this gives it a cer­tain “lul­laby” qual­ity) and the mix of a vague nar­ra­tive with crit­i­cal dis­cus­sion doesn’t al­ways gel. But there’s un­de­ni­ably some­thing mes­meris­ing and un­set­tling about it, as it picks apart our re­la­tion­ship and com­plic­ity with the movies that scare us, while show­ing us the very scenes – new or fa­mil­iar – that evoke those feel­ings. It’s avail­able on iPlayer for a year.


It’s been an­nounced that fol­low­ing Kong re­boot Skull Is­land and Godzilla 2, the two be­he­moths are due to meet in Godzilla Vs King Kong in 2020. Can’t wait that long? Then watch out for Colos­sal from TimeCrimes di­rec­tor Na­cho Vi­ga­londo. Notwith­stand­ing a law­suit from orig­i­nal ’Zilla mak­ers Toho, Vi­ga­londo’s lat­est will see Anne Hath­away dis­cover a strange con­nec­tion be­tween her and a gi­ant lizard at­tack­ing Tokyo. There may also be a robot. De­scribed as Godzilla meets Lost In Trans­la­tion, we can’t wait for the bit where the Hath and gods do some bond­ing karaoke and the nu­anced end­ing where the scaly ti­tan bends down to whis­per a silent and enigmatic “rah!” in Anne’s ear right at the end….

Some Kind Of Hate means need­ing a good laun­derette.

Les Yeux Sans Vis­age still have it.

Af­ter Death doesn’t mean the end, you know.

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