Luz: The Flower of Evil (2019) is a bold, striking movie. A visceral feast of the senses, somewhere between dream and parable. The movie deals with themes of good and evil, god and the devil and the blurred lines that exist between the imagined purity of our intentions and the concrete consequences of our actions. Filled with abuse, violence and rape, as well as biblical verse and poetry, this is not a film for everyone (not to mention the Spanish subtitles). Part fantasy, part cult horror, part western epic, think of this film as a pagan handfasting ceremony between Pan’s Labyrinth and The Witch.
Staying on a Western theme, Bone Tomahawk (2015) is a Tarentino-esque Wild West Walking Dead. I quickly realised this is a film I’d watched before but I can’t remember when or where or what happened. Obviously the film is not so memorable, or else alcohol really does kill brain cells. Who knows? Either way I found the film elusively familiar and vaguely unsurprising. Go figure.
Despite my own failures as a viewer/drunk this is a decent Western with a gruesome twist. I just wish I could remember what I thought of it the first time I watched it.
I’ve avoided several recent Shudder exclusives due to poor reviews, but Violation (2021) had a 89% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes so I thought I’d take a punt on it not knowing anything about it (audience review wasn’t available when I watched it but is currently 44%. Lesson? Trust the audience reviews, not the critics). I could sum this movie up as “something awful happens to someone. She does something awful in retaliation. She feels awful about what she did.” Basically a very uncomfortable film to watch and a massive waste of time, with few redeeming features. I feel violated by this movie.
I decided to cleanse my palette by taking in some high brow, classic black and white cinema. Nosferatu (1922) is apparently a film every horror fan should watch once a year. This is my first time to see it and I found it refreshing after the previous movie. Based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this silent movie is dramatic and enchanting, with the right mix of story, shock and cinematography. A hundred years old and still head and shoulders (and neck) above a lot of modern attempts to terrify.
A film I remember watching several years ago and remember thinking was awesome, I decided to revisit The House of The Devil (2010). On second viewing, this film is even better than I remember. In fact it’s almost perfect. Paying homage to late 70s/early 80s horror (it reminds me of classics such as Halloween and The Omen), a young woman in need of cash takes on a babysitting job at a house on top of a hill. Horror ensues. If you’re into old school horror with occult leanings you may well enjoy this movie as much as I did.
Simon Alderwick is a poet and songwriter from the UK. His work is featured or forthcoming in Whatever Keeps The Light On, Re-side and the Squiffy Gnu anthology, among others. Follow him on Twitter @SimonAlderwick.