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