Thursday, October 26, 2023

happy endings and horror


There has been much more pre-Halloween horror on the big screen this week, both favorites in my top horror films that I have seen (and in The Shining's case, many many times.) The other was the Midsommar director's cut, which we initially saw the shorter version in the theaters in 2019, which with covid running amuck since, may as well have been a decade ago. There are things about the two films that seem to make them fair companions, including those glorious creative aerial shots. The scariest part of Midsommar is actually probably the first few minutes, while I would say the last part of The Shining, when Wendy is under attack and sees the hotel's ghosty secrets, is the most horrific part of that movie. In between there is a lot of slow creeping dread on the part of both. 

Midsommar of course feels like a movie with a weird, but kind of happy ending when Florence Pugh's character sheds her douche-bag gaslighting boyfriend, probably in the same way The Shining is a happy ending in that she loses an alcoholic abusive husband trying to drive an ax into her. Of course, I think while most would agree that Jack Torrance is a villain all along, well before the hotel, not as many are willing to say Christian got his karmic resolution in the sacrifice. And yet, he fails spectacularly at being a good boyfriend or friend, or even a good person, long before he does anything as mundane as cheating while under the influence of a sunny Scandinavian cult. The cheating is sort of irrelevant at that point in the movie.

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