Irish Film Studies: Irish Horror and The Hallow

This semester, I’m attending a course on Irish cinema. Each week, we are expected to write a blog-like journal about the film we watched in class and/or our class discussion about the film. I’ve decided to include those entries to my blog, so it would be more agreeable to read than a Word document. This is my journal entry for Iris horror cinema and The Hallow (week 13).

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I’m not really a fan of horror films, because I don’t like that much being scared, but, as a subject of discussion, I’ve always found it fascinating. Our last class was about Irish horror cinema and the film The Hallow (a quite recent one as it was released in 2015). It allowed me to have a view of the genre in a more analytical way than simply watch a scary movie and hide behind my pillows.

This semester, we’ve explored the way many different genres were expressed through the Irish nationalism: war movie with The Wind the Shakes the Barkley, biopic with Nora, Western with The Quiet Man, Noir with Odd Man Out (although Noir is not a genre, but more an aesthetic), teen movie with Disco Pigs, etc. It is always interesting to see the approach that is taken by different movie industries in order to develop a genre with their own signature. Sure,  The Quiet Man is an American film, but it takes place in Ireland and the idea of Irish nationalism is present enough.

But let’s get back to our main subject.

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In the 2000s, Ireland began to witness a new wave or Irish horror movies such as Winter’s Head, Eclipse or, of course, The Hallow. Ian Cornish says of contemporary horror that it “provides a transcultural experience, one that demonstrates the striking presence of the genre globally and the levels of influence and crossover between different national forms and identities ” (1). Indeed, it seems that the different symbols of this nationalism have to be expressed in a horrific form. The thing is to find what the various elements of the film have anything to do with Irish culture and try to find their meaning, importance.

Sure, The Hallow is set in an Irish forest, but, except for this obvious element of “Irishness”, there’s more to it. Indeed, for example, in one of the two film reviews we read in class, it was indicated that the film was inspired by Irish mythology. The idea of folklore certainly has an important place in this film where the characters isolate themselves in a forest in a context of economic crisis.

Finally, I found interesting the observation that horror films are often very conservatives (fear of the unknown, the change, the madness, etc.). This goes in the same line of our week on Hush-a-Bye Baby where we learn about the Irish conservatism toward sexuality. Of course, this is something different, but the idea of traditional values is still here.

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Words: 417

Source:

(1) Conrich, Ian. ‘Introduction: Horror Zone.’ Horror Zone: the Cultural Experience of Contemporary Horror Cinema. IB Tauris, 2009.

Images sources

“Film Review: The Hallow (2015).” Horror News, Sept. 2, 2016, http://horrornews.net/105577/film-review-the-hallow-2015/.

“The Hallow: la critique.” Films- Horreur.com, Mar. 10, 2016, http://www.films-horreur.com/2016/03/the-hallow/.

Top of the World: 20 Favourite Movies to Watch for Halloween

It’s Halloween! Ouuuuu! Well, that seems to be the perfect occasion to do a top list of my 20 most favourite movies to watch for Halloween. As I don’t watch a lot of “traditional” Halloween movies, this top also contains thrillers, science-fiction, and dark comedies. I warn you, you won’t see anything such as The Exorcist or The Ring because I don’t like movies that are too scary and prevent me to sleep for weeks.

Of course, I could have included all Hitchcock movies… but I’ve limited myself to 4, those I thought were the most suitable for Halloween.

These are, obviously, my personal choices, so I’ll ask you to respect them. If a movie is not on the list, there are three reasons why: I don’t like it enough to put it on the list, I personally don’t really think it’s a Halloween movie or, I just haven’t seen it.

Well, here we go!

20. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975)

Especially for the music

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19. Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932) 

I’m not comparing those people to monsters, but there’s something a bit creepy in all this! “One of us!”

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18. Hush…Hush…Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich, 1964)

Aldrich was good at making disturbing movies…

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17. The Invisible Man (James Whale, 1933)

I just watched it for Halloween!

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16. Se7en  (David Fincher)

A film I once swore I’ll never saw until I had to watch it for school… I don’t regret I did and I didn’t find it so scary (disgusting, but not scary).

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15. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Of course, this one should be on everyone’s list of the best horror movies ever made.

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14. The Trouble with Harry (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955)

A delightful dark comedy. And it takes place during autumn!

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13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)

THE sci-fi film of the list.

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12. Harry Potter (all of them except the 5th and the 6th)

Well, just because it’s Harry Potter ❤ And there’s a ton of monsters in there!

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Here is the first Voldemort, the creepiest one (IMHO)

11. Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990)

Anything by Stephen King is suitable for Halloween. I bet you forgot Lauren Bacall was in this film. 😉

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10. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

tatatatatatatatatata (You know what I mean…)

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9. Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991)

Same story as Se7en… The film itself never really scared me, but my! It’s creepy and quite perfect for Halloween. Bon appétit…

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“I’m going to eat you.” 🙂

8. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)

You know, when you’re afraid of pigeons, movies like that come to be quite scary (although there are no pigeons in The Birds…). You can read my review here.

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7. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Robert Aldrich, 1962)

Well, another creepy Aldrich’s movie. Similar to Misery. You can read my review here.

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6. Duel (Steven Spielberg, 1971)

When a truck becomes a monster… Very stressful film. You can read my review here.

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5. Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra, 1944)

A very funny dark comedy! “He looks like Boris Karloff!”

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4. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laugthon, 1955)

Ah! That Harry Powell… You can read my review here.

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3. Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

Hum, I think the film belongs on the list for the atmosphere that is created by Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca’s spirit. Plus, it’s one I love.

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2. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

In the genre of horror movies, this one has to be my favourite.You can read my review here.

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And

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Suspense…

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BIG SUSPENSE….

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Rear Window! (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

Certainly not a “horror” movie, but what that strange neighbour does is enough to terrify us. I remembered being at the edge of my seat the first time I watched it.

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Honourable mention to The Shining. I’ve only seen the movie twice, and, the second time, it was only some excerpt so I don’t really remember it, explaining why I don’t really know where to put it in the list. But it deserves an honourable mention for Jack Nicholson’s performance alone.

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Well, I hope you enjoyed the top, and don’t hesitate to share your choices with me!

Happy Halloween to all!

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