Ginger Nuts of Horror
Now don't get me wrong – I love doing Film Gutter. It's kind of the most awesome hobby ever – watch great films that push boundaries, say my two pennies worth about them, and get some really cool interviews to boot. But...
But there are times I wonder why I do this to myself. And watching Contracted was one of those occasions. It's probably not the most disturbing film we've watched here, or the most graphic. But it has driven home to me that – since enduring the filmic nightmare that was Thanatomorphose – I've become very sensitive to the whole idea and area of body horror. It's never a patch of the genre I've been terribly keen on – the idea of the body rebelling against you and you being helpless against it is pretty scary stuff. But Contracted has more than a little in common with Thanatomorphose, my most disturbing movie of 2015, so that didn't help a jot. That's not to say this is a bad movie at all – but there's a lot I saw I could have lived without.
So... yeah. That was a film. Or at least, I think it was. It was certainly film-shaped. But where to begin actually describing it?
Tabloid Vivant is certainly unlike anything I've ever seen before, and bearing in mind we have a little corner of the website here specialising in the weird that's no mean feat in and of itself. It's, in a sense, a rumination on the power of art and the strong statement it can make about the human condition. It's also a completely out there psycho-thriller shot with a knowing and wry style that does little to take away from the darker undertones it presents. It's uncomfortable to watch in many places, for all manner of reasons, but equally it's kind of hard to look away....
One of the things that has been fascinating about Film Gutter is the number of movies it has enabled me to come back to. Some of these – such as A Serbian Film – don't quite do themselves justice a second time around. Others – like Excision – are as much of a pleasure to rewatch as they were to watch initially. And on that I had certainly been looking forward to coming back to was The Woman, which I remember making a distinct impact on me first time around. So let's dive back into this one, shall we?...
If there was ever a movie we were going to review at some stage, particularly one from recent years, then this was going to be it. Eli Roth's homage to the Italian cannibal movie was remarkably made as far back as 2013, but financial difficulties for the distributors delayed a wider release until 2015, with the DVD only hitting this year. But what did happen in this time was a great deal of controversy and notoriety around the movie, developing what might have been a beneficial buzz as hardcore horror fans waited and waited for Roth's latest offering. I became aware of the film long before it came out – with a trailer that I thought was pretty effective – and finally got to watch the movie on demand. I must admit, I was pretty excited – to see something this extreme eventually land a mainstream release I took as an encouraging sign for my chosen subgenre of horror. Roth is a director whose work has never completely won me over, in all honesty, but I was more than willing to put that behind me given what I hoped this movie would be.