Friday, June 04, 2010

Splice does well for Manohla

Around these parts we like our horror films. Yet there has been nary a single scrumptious offering from the genre in the past few years other than totally needless remakes and idiotic slasher films or - even worse - the torture porn of Light Within Lights nemesis numero uno Eli Roth.

I don't know if this picture constitutes porn but it's certainly torture

And even though some of us (read: Reid) are interested in giving a chance to such time-wasting yuck as Human Centipede the more sensible horror aficianado is starting to feel that the situation is fast becoming hopeless. Yet today's New York Times bears some mildly inspiring news with a positive review of Vincenco Natali's film Splice, starring the oddly attractive and quirkily entertaining (or is it the other way around?) Sarah Polley and Adrien Brodey. Not only does Dargis promise scares-a-plenty but insinuates that there might actually be something thought-provoking and reflective about the themes on display. By Zeus, Socrates, can it be?!?

Is that Mr. Brody or Mrs. Polley inside that mask? Those fetching eylashes could belong to either one!

Horror as a genre (be it in film or literature) is fascinating to us exactly because it seems inherently philosophical, raising questions about morality and human nature (a monster, after all, is simply that which is not human - necessarily raising the question of what it means to be a human being). People have been telling horror stories around campfires for centuries not only because there is something perversely enjoyable in a good scare but because things that lurk in the dark and in our nightmares tell us something very interesting (and perhaps, very beautiful) about ourselves. But the representative films of the genre seem to have comletely missed the point of the exercise in the past few years, foregoing the artfulness and visual ingenuity that marked earlier efforts such as the classic Universal monster films of golden age Hollywood or the dripping-in-chianti-red splatterwork of Italian "giallo" directors of the 60's and 70's. In any case, even the possibility of a half-good horror film coming to theaters has me giddy with excitement. I'll have to carefully choose a pillow to take with me to the screening, since I need to cover my eyes at least a half dozen times during such films. But I'm European and secure in my manliness, so it's no big deal... right?


e said...

Iceland isn't part of Europe. It's its very own crazy place that produces its own breed of crazy sexually confused over-drugged wackos.... that is, Iceland is it's own horror story. That's why Reid wants to visit there so bad. Anyway, regarding Splice, I heard an interview with the director and he talked in length about the research they did for the film, about the scientist involved in helping with the film, etc, and it sounds like it will raise some interesting questions.

reid said...

yup yup