despite the fact that sometimes they’re not that well made, or they’re pretty thin plot-wise, i love good horror films. i’ve seen some awful ones, and there’s a whole genre out there right now that doesn’t really float my boat (the saws, hostels etc), but when they’re good, they’re great. and it’s not because of the gore – that’s purely incidental. one of my favourites is the texas chainsaw massacre, in which very little visceral horror is shown. another is the wicker man, which is a completely different kind of terror.
a few years ago i watched dario argento‘s suspiria for class, and i hated it. part of that may be down to the fact that i had just been hit with tonsilitis, but either way, i really hated it. the music was, of course, bizarre and haunting, but the film was, in my opinion, a big opulent and indulgent mess. i came across the theme tune a few times in 2007, in justine d‘s incredible rvng cd, and then again as smashing pumpkins graced the stage at pukkelpop. goblin also caught my attention that year as their theme tune for tenebrae, another of argento’s films, was used by french act justice in phantom and phantom pt ii. it was probably my favourite track of 07, so it’s some surprise that i’ve left it this long before watching the film.
well, there’s so much to say. i loved it. the wildly panning camera. the pages of the eponymous novel shoved in the first victim’s mouth. the fake blood. the fact that an axe flies through a window and chops off someone’s arm. it’s completely ridiculous, but all the better for it. watching a film made nearly 30 years ago one can easily slip into a frame of mind that thinks “this is dated, it looks crap” etc, but watching the film on its own terms makes for rewarding viewing.
on the subject of horror films, i have to mention the farm, irish director dáire mcnab’s debut feature the farm. it was recently shown in the ifi, and it really does what i think all horror films should do – it looks great. the overexposed exteriors as the lead characters drive around at the film’s opening. the subtle but swift shift from day to night. the potentially grating but ultimately thrilling use of night vision footage. all of these aspects lend to this film a level of artistry that sets it apart from other more mundane examples of the genre. check out the trailer here, and watch some of the opening minutes of the film here.
and for more irish horror, have a look at this video.