There’s Something In The Woods, Jennifer Tilly’s Bored In The House And MORE!
In this Issue:
- Horror History: There’s Something In The Woods
- Halfway To Halloween: We’re Halfway There
- Image of the Week: Bored In The House
- Tiny Bites – This Week’s Best Horror Headlines
- Things We Love: OBEY. CONSUME. BUY.
- Hey, That’s Us! – Shudder in the News
There’s Something In The Woods
By Michael Pementel*
Being in nature is proven to have a wealth of restorative benefits for the mind and body, making places like the woods a sanctuary for some that nurtures the soul. However, for as peaceful as nature can be, there is a darkness that lingers in its depths. By subverting the psychological effects of nature, while also weaving in folklore and history, the great outdoors are used by horror filmmakers to present nightmarish experiences in otherwise peaceful places.
For She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in Antichrist, nature is hell. Her trip into the woods is meant to be cathartic, an effort to purge her of her trauma and confront her fears. But rather than provide solace, nature makes her more vulnerable. She becomes terrified of her surroundings, aggressive, and mistrustful of her partner (Willem Dafoe). As the film progresses, we witness Gainsbourg’s declining sanity; the wilderness facilitates her agony, provoking her fragile psyche towards violent actions. In Antichrist’s case, nature is not a means of relieving tension but is instead an existential prison where our characters become ravaged by their trauma.
When it comes to tortured characters trapped in the wilderness, The Ritual takes an intriguing approach in its handling of Luke (Rafe Spall). As he and his friends find themselves lost in the woods of Sweden, Luke drifts in and out of trance-like states, witnessing abstract images of his own past trauma; he is haunted by his own inaction that cost a friend their life and is now consumed with guilt. On this trip gone wrong, Luke stumbles upon a cult that worships a Jötunn, a creature from Norse mythology that rules over the land, the cult providing it sacrifices to avoid unfathomable suffering. Where Luke’s time in the woods functions as a journey through purgatory, his confronting the Jötunn represents his acceptance of his past.
In each of these films, the calm of the woods is turned on its head, transforming the wilderness into a land of uncaring cruelty, chipping away at both She and Luke’s sanity.
The Witch pulls from New England folklore to stir suspense, building tension around what threats may live within the woods. Though the woods themselves are not the main threat, they amplify the film’s creepy atmosphere, representing a realm outside the familiarity of our main cast. The flipside to this is the inexplicable contemporary phenomenon, which is where The Forest comes in.
Set in the suicide forest of Japan, Aokigahara, The Forest is based on a very real location known for tragedy. Despite the reports of people heading into Aokigahara to commit suicide, there is no understanding as to why this land attracts people looking to end their lives. Creepy visuals aside, what makes The Forest so unnerving is how it engages with the reality behind the suicide forest.
These films take concepts familiar to us and warps them through supernatural horrors, allowing our imagination to run wild with grim possibilities. In nature, there is no law; it does as it pleases, begging the question — what haunts the woods?
HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN
We’re Halfway There
The Halfway To Halloween Horror Hotline was up and running last Friday with tons of killer recommendations from Amsterdamned to Terrified. But the best treat is coming to Shudder this week with the season 2 premiere of The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs, co-hosted by Chris Jericho.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
Bored In The House
NEW MEMBERS CAN TRY SHUDDER FREE FOR 30 DAYS WHEN THEY SIGN UP ONLINE WITH PROMO CODE: SHUTIN!
AMERICAN PSYCHO, THE DARK PICTURES ANTHOLOGY AND MORE
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the cast of American Psycho to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary.
The great debate about horror remakes continues as IndieWire weighs in on the recently announced Hellraiser, The Others, and Night Of The Hunter remakes.
From Salo to Climax, here are The Manual’s 11 best arthouse horror films if you’re looking for something a little … different.
Jordan Peele spoke with Empire Magazine about why Nia DaCosta was the perfect fit to co-write and direct the highly anticipated Candyman “spiritual sequel”.
This fascinating piece looks at horror’s history of being influenced by current events and how this pandemic will leave its mark on the genre in the years to come.
Rue Morgue executive editor Andrea Subissati and Exmortus founding member Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez joined BangerTV’s Sam Dunn to discuss the connection between heavy metal and horror.
BuzzFeed’s list of 22 deeply scarring scenes from horror movies reads like a top 40 of terror featuring such hits as Gage’s Achilles heel slice in Pet Semetary and the lawnmower from Sinister.
Elle analyses Beetlejuice as a quarantine of a more haunting nature.
Fans of the Dark Pictures Anthology games can look forward to the next entry, Little Hope, with a new trailer that promises major Silent Hill and Blair Witch vibes with a witchy backstory.
Insider analyses what made A Quiet Place’s mostly silent opening sequence so terrifying.
THINGS WE LOVE
OBEY. CONSUME. BUY.
Help dismantle the sleeping middle-class in Iconiq Studios’ They Live The Game: Assault On Cable 54. Visit their Kickstarter to pre-order your copy.