Take A Bath!
You gotta watch out for those isolated communities, man, populated by hippie folk that would live on the fringes of civilization and worship the Earth.
Places like Summerisle, Scotland or Hälsingland, Sweden. Hell, even Waco, Texas gets fuckin’ crazy now again. Also, STAY AWAY FROM AUSTIN.
Fortunately for us movie fans, those places, and people lend themselves to some very interesting, if not always good, horror movie scenarios.
I watched Midsommar recently and it reminded me a lot of The Wicker Man (1973), so in the spirit of the season, here are brief reviews of these hippie horror shows.
The Wicker Man
In my estimation, this movie is a macabre classic. It’s not exactly a horror movie in the traditional sense, even though some horrible shit happens.
Corn Rigs And Barley Rigs
From the opening tune, named above, the strange tone of the movie is set. A seaplane piloted by our hero, Police Sergeant Howie, comes in low over stretches of seawater and a few rock outcroppings, which turn to stretches of farmland, all as the strange tune plays. It’s a nice contrast of modern tech giving way to old-world belief.
From the moment that Sgt. Howie establishes contact with the local islanders, it’s clear that they are in on a joke that Howie is playing straight into, but it’s no joke to Howie, because he is there to investigate the disappearance of a young local girl.
Right away, the audience is treated to a sense of sick dread as we watch Howie made a fool of, as he, a staunch Christian, is first embarrassed by raunchy drinking songs, and then stumbles upon couples engaged in an orgy on a park lawn.
None of the islanders are taking him seriously, and even worse, seem to be giving him a big ol’ “fuck you” as they engage in teasing him while denying him information about the young girl.
We Confer Upon You A Rare Gift
Sgt. Howie is played with a stern brilliance by Edward Woodward, who would later star as bad motherfucker Robert McCall in the 80s tv series The Equalizer, upon which the 2014 Denzel Washington movie of the same name was loosely based.
Opposing Sgt. Howie is Lord Summerisle, played with equal brilliance by Christopher Lee, who considered the movie the best he’d ever made.
You bet your ass, Sir Christopher. It’s a horror classic that uses none of the typical tropes to achieve its goals.
I very highly recommend that you see this movie, especially if you’re tired of cheap jump scares and lame gore. This is a perfectly-paced slow-burn descent into deadly madness. The final scene is gut-wrenching.
It’s gotta be incredibly difficult to follow an act like Hereditary. That movie is incredibly good. Not for lack of trying, but writer-director Ari Aster hit a sophomore slump, and he hit it hard.
I Know What You Did Last Sommar
Maybe it’s the collection of characters on display in Midsommar that left me caring fuck-all about what would happen to them, but I couldn’t help but contrast them with the family dynamic in Hereditary.
That movie was such a powerhouse that it might be a bit unfair on my part to compare Midsommar to it, but I sat down for this movie expecting powerful terror.
What I got was a collection of college-age adults making stereotypical millennial decisions and getting pulled deeper into a flower-adorned slaughterhouse.
Keep in mind that this isn’t the fault of the actors. Florence Pugh is excellent in the lead role. She grounds the movie and keeps it from becoming laughable, though that is no easy task. Pugh can be seen next summer alongside Scarlett Johansson in Marvel’s Black Widow.
Jack Reynor portrays Pugh’s boyfriend. He almost portrayed Han Solo. Reynor is believable but he isn’t given much to do except appearing to be long-suffering and, at the climax of the movie, stoned out of his mind.
Will Poulter heads up the rest of the insignificant cast of cult fodder, portraying the typical dude-bro. His role is actually the most fun exactly because he’s the typical horror movie dipshit that is clearly about to get sliced and diced.
I’m not saying that this movie is a complete waste of time. It’s technically very sound and the gore effects are very good. It’s just that the script takes the characters through some unrealistic and even stupid decisions, which only serve to get them to the next gore setup.
Additionally, a horror movie has to be relatable on a gut level, and Midsommar feels like another teen-scream gross-out festival, although one created with loftier intentions.
I appreciate your time, friends. Keep your ear to the ground, your eyes on the horizon, and your heart open.
Until next time,