Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bloody Mommy Dearest, or Thoughts on XX

The horror anthology film holds a special place in my heart; much like a collection of short stories you get a lot of scares and different perspectives for the price of admission.  While most anthology films frame the stories between a connecting story arc; a haunted antique store or a box of old videotapes, XX (2017) simply presents their four female-centric tales sandwiched between charming stop motion vignettes by Mexican artist Sofia Carrillo featuring antique dolls and walking dollhouses.  Three of the stories are variations on motherhood, while the entire series is focused on a deliberately feminine perspective with 4 female directors.
The Box, from director Jovanka Vukovic, features a son who stops eating after he sees the contents of a stranger’s Christmas present on the subway.  The Birthday Party from director Annie Clark is a variation on Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry (1955) as a frazzled mother frantically hides her dead husband’s body while preparing for her daughter’s birthday party.  Don’t Fall, from director Roxanne Benjamin is the most traditional horror story and follows four friends on a camping trip who discover a petroglyph and awaken an ancient vengeful spirit.  Her Only Living Son by Karyn Kusama of Aeon Flux  (2005) and Jennifer’s Body (2009) is a variation on Rosemary’s Baby (1968) with a dash of Skinwalkers (2006). 
Short films always leave the audience wanting more, it’s the nature of the beast.  The stories can seem fragmented and lacking a certain sense of resolution that audiences have come to expect in a feature film.  Pay special attention to the atmospheric and surreal stop motion dollies between the films; they tell a quirky story of reanimation that is just as strong as the short films they introduce.  



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).