In Stephen King’s book Danse Macabre, he talks about horror in books and movies and why we are so drawn to these themes and stories. It’s a great book by a master of the genre. He talks about many movies in the course of the book and there’s a big appendix at the back with some recomended viewing. This Hallowe’en I picked some movies from this list to watch and share with you.
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
Director: Roman Polanski
Catherine Deneuve is Carol, a beautiful young woman who lives with her sister and who displays some strange behaviour around men and seems to resent her sisters boyfriend. When her sister decides to go away on a holiday with her man, Carol is left alone, and her inner demons surface in a paranoid nightmare. It seems that Carol is a virgin who hates men or is afraid of them, and as the film descends into murder, violence and rape, it’s hard to tell what is in Carol’s mind and what is real.
This was Roman Polanski’s second feature, his first in English, and shows his mastery of psychological horror. Carol is so unusual in that she’s a beautiful female lead and yet she’s not the innocent victim the way a slasher herione is, and she’s not willing to be the sexual object of others in the way that pretty female leads often are. While she may or may not be in danger, she is certainly dangerous to others. I like that Polanski leaves her a mystery in many ways, for example we never learn much about her past or backstory, though it feels like there is some damage there. But perhaps that damage could be imagined? What is real and what is madness?
A bit of a trippy film, this is considered part of a loose trilogy including Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant, in which events take place largely inside of apartments. I think Rosemary’s Baby is a much better film and gets under your skin more, but it’s certainly an interesting watch. I feel like this film might not be for everyone, I found it kind of slow and enigmatic, which works well for the psychological horror genre, but might be a bit too out there and not juicy enough for some.
Scale Of Scary: 6/10 This film is strange and has scenes of horror, violence and sexual assault. Certainly dark, but not gorey like some slasher horrors.