Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Woman

This month Lucky McKee and brave actress Pollyanna McIntosh will be at Melbourne's Cinema Nova and Sydney's Chauvel to do Q&A's for their new shocker The Woman. The dates are August 9th and 10th respectively.

I was dying to see The Woman earlier this year, so I caved in to temptation a while ago and watched the screener rip that's been kicking around... but now I'm freshly psyched to be seeing it again in a theatre (and hopefully with an appreciative audience). The Woman is a small film, but the striking sound design and beautifully lensed rural locations and interiors should make for an atmospheric theatre experience. It's quite a unique little horror trip, radically at odds with my expectations for it (partially fueled by the hilarious reaction of that jackass at Sundance). What appeared to me at first to be a riff on Martyrs is actually a very different animal indeed, and I have a hard time thinking of another movie to compare it to.

I'm a fan of McKee's, having enjoyed everything he's done so far, including the much maligned The Woods and his unfairly criticised Masters Of Horror episode Sick Girl. May remains a riveting horror character study, and Red is an excellent Jack Ketchum adaptation (although I'm still unsure how much of McKee's work made it to the final cut there). I actually consider the man to be one of the most consistently original voices in contemporary American horror.

On another note, I imagine Ketchum must be fairly pleased with the progress of his cinematic career thus far. Chris Sivertson's The Lost was excellent (thanks in part to Marc Senter's show-stopping portrayal of height-challenged sociopath Ray Pye); Red is an effective slow-burn revenger that again benefits from a killer performance by Brian Cox; and I've yet to see (or read) The Girl Next Door, but there seems to be plenty of good will towards it amongst horror fans online. The general consensus seems to be that the last Ketchum adaptation - Offspring - was a bad misfire (can't comment)... but four out of five ain't bad! I should point out that Pollyanna McIntosh's impressive performance in The Woman is a reprisal of her portrayal of the same character in Offspring, both films having their origins in Ketchum's nauseatingly boundary-pushing splatterpunk novel Off Season.

I'll be at the screening at the Chauvel on the 10th, and I hope you can make it too. In case you haven't seen it yet, I'll leave you with this priceless gem taken from the film's inaugural screening at this year's Sundance film fest. In it you will see an apparently grown man (who seems to have stepped right out of the South Park Sundance episode) lose his shit and freak the fuck out about some sexualised violence in a fictional movie. I'd love to see his reaction to A Serbian Film!


  1. This is one of my most anticipated horror releases this year and I'm not sure why. I haven't read much of Ketchum's work (including THE WOMAN) and I don't outright LOVE anything Lucky McKee has every done (I like MAY a lot but I'm not in love with it). I guess the word of mouth has piqued my interest.

    As far as GIRL NEXT DOOR, I've both read and the book and watched the film, in that order, and disliked both. Not because they're bad, but because the content is very frustrating.

    Also, I actually liked OFFSPRING!

  2. "This is one of my most anticipated horror releases this year and I'm not sure why."

    Perhaps because it's original, and that's something of a rarity in US horror at the moment?

    Been digging your shark coverage recently BTW. One of my fave sub-genres...

  3. Hi Aylmer! Missed you!

    Yup yup, super excited for The Woman. But I have to ask, if we're all so excited for it and there's all this hype, does that mean it's not going to be that great? Such is my experience thus far with other movies. We'll have to see!

    Haha, yeah I've seen that video of the guy freaking out - very funny and makes me want to see the movie all the more.

  4. I'm also really looking forward to seeing this. I love Lucky McKee's work thus far - especially May and his rather striking love letter to Suspiria, The Woods.

    I'd be lying if I said the 'controversy' surrounding this (i.e. that twat from Sundance) didn't go some way to heightening my interest - that, and I know anything from McKee will more than likely be original and thought-provoking.

    Enjoy the screening! :)

  5. TGWLH: you don't need to lower your expectations for this one much, just be prepared to be caught off guard.

    James: I always describe The Woods as a "loveletter to Suspiria" as well, exact same words!

  6. cool blog! could you add me to your blog roll? your'e on mine!

  7. Watched this a while back, thought it was okay. I agree originality seems to be at a low in American horror, but as far as this film being original,it seems very much a violent and kinky variation Shaw's Pygmalion. Not such a new premise.

  8. I have to say Girl Next Door is the ONLY film that disturbed me.

  9. Definitely the best of all the Jack Ketchum adaptations.

    @CJG: If you liked The Girl Next Door... this one is rather similar... and a real gem...

  10. ok...i've read the girl next door but have not seen the film...the book was disturbing enough. and i have both read and seen the film version of Offspring, and am i the only person who thinks the movie wasn't bad? sure, it was short, but it seemed pretty faithful to the book, it had some good splatter, and jack ketchum himself got to say "he had his heart ripped out george!"...so it wasn;t too bad...

  11. Unfortunately, OFFSPRING is the misfire of the bunch.

    I've enjoyed all the others, too.

    I'm nervous about what will happen to OFF SEASON. I read it when it first came out and it felt very new -- although 'The Hills Have Eyes' was already a fixture at that time.

  12. Phantom: It really was just a riff on HILLS and TCM but it stuck with me because it's just so unrelentingly brutal and mean. Even among splatterpunk fiction it stands out as being particularly nasty.