I’ve been Sundancing for 7 years now and while this was a particularly strong year for the festival, it was not a strong year for genre films.
The genre of SciFi in particular has provided us with some of the most creative, arresting images of where the future may take us, whether it’s fantastically removed from our current life (still waiting on those flying cars) or disturbingly relatable to the world as it is today. Both avenues offer fascinating insight into what is possible or even probable.
What’s surprising is that even with some of the usual modern rom-com conventions we’ve come to expect and SciFi elements, the film doesn’t lose focus on its emotionally involving core. Both versions of Todd have hurt people in their orbit in significant ways, and each one will need to travel to another plane of existence to try and set things right.
So what do you get when you take THE FRIGHTENERS, GHOSTBUSTERS, and contemporary irreverent humor and blend it together? You get DEADTECTIVES!
Chi — like many sex robots including Quin in 2050 — are programmed to be exactly how the owner wants them to be and...If that is the case, then how is it really a romance story if it's already in their code? The point of a romance is to see the two come together, to watch them deal with their differences and become two people in love. Where’s the fun in watching a man fall in love with a being that he programs to be perfect for him and follow his every command and wish?
Made in the year 2008, MARTYRS is part of the wave of New French Extremity. The New French Extremity contains extreme depictions of violence and sex - or you could call it torture porn. If you’ve seen the film, you probably turned it off, or went through it with your eyes closed half the time. The film does contain graphic content, but I believe there’s room to appreciate the voice of the filmmakers behind any controversial film.
The premise of the film (spoilers!): Lucie was kidnapped and tortured as a child. She escapes, but left a girl behind in the process. This girl she haunts her throughout the film in the form of a demon or a manifestation of guilt (either one, you decide). Lucie finds the family that tortured them and proceeds to kill them with a shotgun - in the most unjustifiable way, thinking that this would relieve her of the demons or guilt. She then calls Anna to help clean the mess of the home and hide the bodies. What Lucie didn’t realize is that killing the family didn’t relive her of her demons; she kills herself midway through the film, leaving Anna at the home alone. She discovers a passageway to the basement where she finds a lab. Anna frees an experimented-upon patient, taking her upstairs and helping her recover. A day later several people storm the home, kill the patient, trap Anna, and begin to experiment on her as well.
As I watched MARTYRS, full of events so graphic and painful to watch, I began to question the morality and where the film stood. But the 10-15 minutes of the film where Anna finds the woman in the basement of the home is a break from the torture and helps give meaning to the story. All her rescue did was lead to her downfall, as she became a replacement of the woman that she helped. When I watch these films, I try to find the significance of the events. I feel like a important part of the story being told in MARTYRS is that the morality of a single action doesn’t mean there’s always happy ending. The violence in the film has a lucid dream feel, a feeling of being parched, but no water is around. New French Extremity’s biggest influence is Marquis De Sade. In Marquis De Sade’s writing, the situations are bleak, but good and evil tend to balance each other out. And that’s what happens in MARTYRS.
The film shows Anna and Lucie as two completely different people. Anna and Lucie both go through the same suffering, but the outcome is different. Lucie lets her suffering drive her mad, leading to her death by suicide - while Anna accepts her fate and dies at peace on a laboratory lab. You could use this message in real life if you really wanted to.
If you decide to give this movie a watch, try to be opened-minded. In the world of art, mostly everything has a purpose. Or I could be wrong and it could just be for shock value.
We had a chance to chat with Timothy Foia, the co-writer of DOE. The film has its Texas premiere Wednesday October 17 (7:30pm) at Flix Brewhouse.
Outreach Director, Tessa Morrison here reporting my findings from the press party for House of Torment. I attended with fellow horror hounds from Blood Over Texas and we got the behind-the-scenes tour of the new haunts.