“Chromosomes XX” spotlights 10 films that illustrate women’s creativity in genre. Nuanced performances and fine-tuned directing instil life into the perturbing themes of vampirism, metamorphism and mental disintegration, to name but a few. So get braced for toxic beauties and carnage-strewing ladies; they eclipse many a classic masculine horror-antagonist.
A psychotic Deneuve bludgeons and slices in Polanski’s Repulsion, as does a mad Adjani, crazed with insatiable desire in Zulawski’s Possession. Simone Simon may be sweet, but when angry she morphs into a killer leopard in Tourneur’s classic Cat People. But not to be outdone is De Palma’s brutal Sisters, a shrine to female destructiveness.
Trashy nomad bloodsuckers abound in Katherine Bigelow’s Near Dark, but they clash socially with Kümel’s elegant, blood-fed countess in Daughters of Darkness. And mayhem knows no age limit in Séria’s Don’t Deliver Us from Evil: his heedless neophytes give it a try on school holiday.
On a (slighty) lighter note, try the crime-free Carnival of Souls, whose heroine’s only sin is to illuminate the screen (and haunt Lynch’s dreams) with her eerie strangeness. Then The Witches of Eastwick, whose upstanding ladies get hooked on demonic sex with Jack Nicholson, will further brighten things up. But above all, savour these xx-spiked treasures; many more of them await (re)discovery.
See the conference Women and Fantastic Cinema on 15 Sept. at 4 p.m.
Carnival of Souls
Daughters of Darkness
Don't Deliver Us from Evil
Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde
The Witches of Eastwick
An American Werewolf in London
The Blues Brothers
Into the Night
Studiocanal and film director and critic Jean-Baptiste Thoret have teamed up to revive unjustifiably forgotten films. Italian crime, gialli, comedies, exploitation movies, and so forth – all genres and nationalities will have a place in the new collection put together by Jean-Baptiste Thoret.
Death Laid an Egg
Incompetent continuity editing, cheap decor, dull scripts, ludicrous dialogues made worse by painfully awful French dubbing – welcome to the world of films so bad they’re terrifically good.
The prestigious Cinémathèque française is pleased to offer you (in 35mm copies if you please!) Hong Kong ninjas, mutants and Indians in a post-apocalyptic spaghetti western and an American beefcaked super hero in tights in an adaptation of 1970s comics, with everything interspersed with hilarious trailers. For those who believe there is artistic expression to be found in botched flops, then this evening is for you.