SFX's high priestess of horror
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.
BEYOND THE FEST
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.
MONSTER, INC InC
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.