Archives For French Cinema

Les Diaboliques (1955)

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Les Diaboliques is the morbid story of two teachers at a private in France who share a common bond: the school’s tyrannical headmaster. Married to one and making a mistress of the other, he abuses the poor women until they finally decide to be rid of him. Having killed the man and disposed of his body, it’s understandable the women become somewhat unnerved to hear that he’s been seen walking around town. With a private detective hot on their tail, the duo’s fragile allegiance begins to crack.

Les Diaboliques is as near perfect a movie as you will ever get. Clouzot’s direction is taut and he piles on the tension till it becomes unbearable. The performances by Vera Clouzot and Simone Signoret are impeccable. The finale is one of cinema’s all-time greatest and lingers long in the memory. It will also give you an irrational fear of your bathroom for weeks. Buy it, treasure it, and never let it leave your side.

See No Evil (2006)

A group of ne’er do well twenty-something teenage delinquents are roped in to help renovate a run hotel. Unbeknown to them, its en-suite rooms are stalked by a giant of a serial killer, played by WWE’s Kane, with a penchant for poking out eyeballs. See No Evil is not subtle, nor very original. In terms of today’s social media, it is the BuzzFeed list of horror tropes. Things happen, followed by more things. Some of these things involve screaming. Then, thankfully, it ends.

Black Roses  (1988)

Small town America is about to get its ass kicked by Black Roses, a heavy metal band ready to tear it a new one. Well, all the band members are actually demons in disguise, so it’s the least you can ask of them really. Directed by John Fasano (Rock n’ Roll Nightmare), this is B-movie 101. Kids are becoming corrupted, the mayor refuses to believe there’s a problem and only a teacher and his fabulous knitwear can stop them.

It’s loud, brash and, at one point, a wayward boy’s father is eaten alive by a speaker. Death by stereo indeed. With plot holes you can drive a tour bus through, Black Roses is an incredible amount of fun. Poorly written fun, but fun nonetheless.

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Raw (2016)

September 3, 2017 — Leave a comment

After being force-fed meat during a hazing ritual, veterinarian student and hardcore vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) begins to develop an unhealthy interest in cannibalism in this surprisingly beautiful feature from French director Julie Ducournau. Surprisingly beautiful because when one hears the term ‘cannibal’ they’d be forgiven for conjuring up images from the works of Ruggero Deodato. What they probably won’t imagine is something like Raw, which goes outside the norm of what we would consider body horror.

Justine’s parents expect her to be a vet, and make the lifestyle choice of vegetarianism more akin to an indoctrination. At school, she reluctantly partakes in hazing so that she doesn’t stand out too much and embarrass her older sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who attends the same school. Justine’s growing appetite for flesh may be highly unusual, but it serves as just another thing in her life that has been forced upon her. Yet as Raw progresses, we do see her try to embrace it and from doing so, she begins to develop and grow from a young girl into a grown woman who craves her own mind. When sister dearest admits to having the same predilections and invites her to her own carnivorous world, Justine chooses that moment to be her own person. Raw is as much a coming of age drama as it is a horror.

Read the rest of the review here.