Tag Archives: motherhood

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Andreas

If you’re like us, then Halloween is your Christmas. And under that analogy, Paracinema Magazine’s Issue #13 is the ultimate stocking stuffer. If you or someone you know loves weird, obscure, or scary movies, this is the film magazine to order. Not 100% convinced? Let me give you some reasons…

1)You get to read our articles. Well, OK, this one’s a little self-serving, but still: you get to reread the same things we’ve published on Pussy Goes Grrr, except more and better. Both Ashley and I took ideas we’d first voiced here (her in a terrific essay on Inside; me in my “Many Faces of Bela Lugosi” and “More Faces” posts), then refined both the ideas and the writing over a few long summer days. The end result? A pair of articles on “Maternal Madness in Horror Cinema” and “Bela Lugosi on Poverty Row” that we’re extremely proud of.

We’d like you to share in the pleasure we received from writing these articles. I.e., buy the magazine.

2) You might learn a thing or two. Paracinema’s articles are informative. Consider one of the issue’s best articles, “Allan Carr and the Making of Where the Boys Are ’84” by Paul Talbot. I never would’ve expected that topic to fascinate me, but fascinate it did! It’s the bizarre, layered tale of extravagant producer Carr and his battle to make a spring break sex comedy. It’s well-researched, well-written, and it’s all true.

Or how about “Censoring the Centipede: How the BBFC Are Sewing Our Eyes Shut” by Liam Underwood? He covers the history of British censorship from the 1980s dispute over “video nasties” to recent problems with A Serbian Film and The Human Centipede II. If you want writers who’ve done their homework, they’re in Paracinema. You can also read the histories of Turkish rip-offs, unmade spoofs, sword-and-sandal films, late-night horror hosts, and more.

3) The graphic design will blow your mind. Dylan knows what he’s doing. Paracinema’s a small-but-growing indie venture, yet it still looks better than most of the giant movie magazines out there. Leave a copy of Issue #13 lying open on your coffee table, and guests will know you’ve got taste.

Look: Issue #13 costs just $7, with free Shipping & Handling within the United States. Buy a copy, and you’ll be supporting a ragtag team of writers and editors who are doing this out of passion. You’ll be feeding our dreams, receiving a magazine that doubles as an objet d’art, and getting dozens of little-known movies to add to your “must-see” list.

This Halloween, you can’t afford not to buy a copy of Paracinema.

Have I convinced you yet?

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Filth, Fame, and Divine

I really really love John Waters’ Pink Flamingos (1972). It’s one of the most infamous cult movies of all time; it’s also hilarious, unrelentingly in-your-face, and endlessly enjoyable in the most tasteless ways. Hell, I love it so much that I wrote a 12-page paper on it a week ago called “Divine, Pink Flamingos, and the Politicized Body.” Therefore, I’d love to share with you what I learned from this paper. The fruits of my intellectual labor, if you will! And better yet, I’ll present them via a bulleted list, as my gift to you.

  • The mother: Within the film, Divine’s body is squeezed into a lot of roles. She’s a loving mother, a sexy starlet, and a mass murderer. The conflation of these gendered identities subverts them all, making for some pretty acrid social commentary. Babs Johnson’s brood is the American family run amok (complete with incest and chicken-fucking), and she’s an exaggerated, parodic portrayal of the ideal suburban homemaker – June Cleaver as a fat, foul-mouthed drag queen.
  • Sexualization: Divine (the character) isn’t just a mother; she’s also a horny gal raring for some action. Or as she puts it: “Why, I’m all dressed up and ready to fall in love!” She embraces a clichéd 1950s image of what attractive women are, and how they act, even if that image is self-evidently ridiculous. Like the film as a whole, she undercuts social norms by claiming as her own the lowest, tackiest, most degraded forms of cultural discourse.
  • The transgressive body: Early in Pink Flamingos, Divine buys a slab of meat and warms it up “in [her] own little oven” by holding it between her legs. Later, she barbecues the meat and serves it to her family for dinner. She’s the homemaking matriarch, but she also rubs food against her genitalia, licks furniture, and eats shit. The actions don’t suit the role, but Divine does them anyway.

  • Violence: As Michael Tinkcom points out in Working Like a Homosexual, John Waters totally anticipated the tabloid glamorization of criminals, and did it better than Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994). Divine and her family are a pack of fugitives, “the filthiest people alive,” and this only compounds her sex appeal. As Pink Flamingos sees it, there’s no difference between pin-up and wanted posters. (Female Trouble delves even deeper into this – “I’m so fucking beautiful I can’t stand it myself!”)
  • Celebrity: Pink Flamingos is really about the cult of celebrity. In Divine, his cinematic muse, John Waters blends Jayne Mansfield with the Manson Family. (The film quotes a scene from the Mansfield vehicle The Girl Can’t Help It [1956], and it’s dedicated to “Sadie, Katie, and Les,” three of the Manson girls.) By mixing sex, violence, and press coverage, Waters is essentially writing a love (or poison pen?) letter to postwar mass culture. (Also, for what it’s worth, I think Divine might be the Lady Gaga of the 1970s.)

So there you have it! It’s my reading of Pink Flamingos in just a few bite-sized pieces. It was a little more complicated than that, but you get the general idea. I talked about Rachel Adams’ Sideshow U.S.A., especially her take on Zoe Leonard’s photographs of bearded lady Jennifer Miller; also, I included this very vital quote from Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble:

The replication of heterosexual constructs in non-heterosexual frames brings into relief the utterly constructed status of the so-called heterosexual original. Thus, gay is to straight not as copy is to original, but, rather, as copy is to copy. The parodic repetition of ‘the original,’… reveals the original to be nothing other than a parody of the idea of the natural and the original.

So remember that the next time you have to write an academic essay about drag! Finally, I noticed a great visual tidbit in the entryway to the Marbles’ house in Pink Flamingos.

Yes, that’s right: next to that poster for Joseph Losey’s campfest Boom! (1968) is an Andy Warhol print of Elizabeth Taylor. Since I had recently written a paper on Sixteen Jackies (1964), I was very cued into Warhol and his ties to celebrity culture, mass production, and drag. Like Pink Flamingos, Warhol’s work frequently links consumer culture with death, albeit in subtler, less over-the-top ways. More importantly, the grids of near-identical faces in his many series of celebrity prints (like those of Liz, Jackie, and Marilyn) resonate with the ways that Divine imperfectly embodies the personas June Cleaver, Jayne Mansfield, and Charlie Manson.

My ideas about Waters vis-à-vis Warhol aren’t fully fleshed out quite yet, but there’s a start. After finishing this project, I adore Pink Flamingos more than ever, from Ms. Edie’s demented, egg-centric babbling to Connie Marble’s intense bitchiness (“my kind of people, and assholes!”) to, of course, the divine Divine. A final note: If you want to learn more about drag, Divine, Warhol, and everything else, I highly recommend Marjorie Garber’s indispensable and entertaining Vested Interests. It’s a fantastic book.

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It’s Alive, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Killer Baby

[The following was written by both of us as part of the Final Girl Film Club; go check them out. Also note that spoilers are abundant, like anxieties over blood ties with a monster baby.]

Ashley:

As I’ve made apparent, I have a fondness for pregnancy/infant/child horror. It’s a kind of horror that is very palpable to me, probably due to my own deeply internalized fears of pregnancy, child birth, and children overall. It’s Alive (1974) is one of the best examples of pregnancy and family anxieties manifesting themselves in a monster child. The film opens up with a happy couple on their way to the hospital; Lenore Davis is pregnant with her second child. They send their son, Chris, to a friend’s to wait the night and head to the hospital for what is supposed to be a beautiful, happy occurrence. The situation quickly devolves into terror when, upon birth, their infant  slaughters the entire room of doctors and nurses before disappearing, causing a city-wide panic. What follows is as much a well-written family drama as it is a horror story.

The movie does an excellent job of presenting motherhood, and even femaleness itself, as a state of Otherness. From the very beginning after the child disappears from the hospital, the doctors and Frank Davis do a great job of continually oppressing Lenore. Frank  makes decisions about the mutant infant’s fate with the doctors without consulting Lenore first; the doctors give her placating drugs and suggest that she not even be downstairs in her own home due to the stress. Their clinically disconnected treatment of Lenore reminds me of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, wherein a woman’s neurosis and depression is deemed a feminine psychosomatic condition and she is ‘fixed’ with fresh air, pills and a refusal to let her work, despite what she wants for herself; she eventually goes bat shit insane. A similar fate awaits Lenore Davis.

The men around her- doctors, officers, and even (or most especially) her husband-do not experience the emotional investment that Lenore does in giving birth to an abnormal child who then immediately goes missing and therefore do not take it into account. They do not consider the psychological implications of carrying a pregnancy to term only to have it end with something arguably worse than the worst case scenarios of miscarriage or still-birth. Her increasingly deluded behavior is set on the back-burner in light of the threat facing the innocent citizens and her husband doesn’t have the patience or emotional capacity to deal with his family. He keeps his son, Chris, at a constant distance, refusing to bring him home or tell him what’s actually going on (which leads to deadly disaster later) and he refuses to listen to Lenore, whether she’s ruminating on how their infant came to be or falling quietly into madness.

Frank spends most of the movie struggling with the idea that the blood flowing through the killer infant’s veins links him irrevocably to Frank and his family. He lashes out at the police officers, unprovoked, demanding to know why they look at him as if it’s his child, before desperately denying any feelings for it;  after shooting at the baby, he tells Chris ‘it’s of no relation to us’. He further denounces any relation to the baby by implying to Lenore that Chris is ‘my son’ and asking her ‘see what your baby did…’ after the child kills a family friend.  This attitude reflects societal ideas about family ties; your family and how they act and what they are reflects on you as a person. Many people want to sever some family ties or disown certain members of their families for not living or acting or being a way that they find acceptable (of course, in the case of rampant murdering, the desire to obliterate ties makes sense). In Frank’s case, making Lenore responsible for the feral infant helps alleviate some of his guilt and stress. Frank, as the patriarch, can claim the normal child as his own, whereas Lenore is the bearer of a rotten fruit.

Despite the clear danger the Davis baby presents, Lenore, in her mentally unstable state, attempts to mother the infant; as was the case with Rosemary, blood is thicker than fear and maternal instincts override very real, dangerous realities. It’s Alive presents us with a foreign femininity that is misunderstood and ignored by male professionals; an image of hysterical motherhood that is both stereotype and reality. What mother wouldn’t defend her baby, her child, her flesh? Besides, he’s not ugly….

Alice:

“I always think that things that are small are more frightening than things that are large.” – Larry Cohen

Babies are supposed to be defenseless. They’re not supposed to attack. But in the world of Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive, modernity is toxic. So when the Davis family’s second child (the titular “it”) emerges from its mother’s womb, it can already defend itself, and leaves the delivery room a bloody mess. At its core, though, this isn’t a movie about nurses and joggers being cut down by the infant’s fangs. It’s about one family’s disintegration, and society’s complete failure to put them back together again. It’s about a house whose offspring has been corrupted by forces both inside and outside.

But yes, the starting point for that disintegration is a feral baby on a killing spree. The Davis baby’s unusual physiology gives new meaning to the words “family emergency,” and its parents are totally unable to cope. Frank is a white-collar PR man with a bad temper, and he can’t keep up with the onslaught of pressure from every angle: the unscrupulous media; his smarmy, two-faced boss (“He won’t be coming back”); academics anxious to dissect the monstrosity; and the police, who lack his personal interest in the crisis. Everyone’s eager to personally profit from Frank’s situation, forcing him to isolate himself from all of them, his wife included. “Should’ve known better than to trust anybody,” he mutters after a nurse turns out to be a journalist in disguise. With the Davis family marked as different, the scavengers descend.

Lenore doesn’t fare any better. While Frank runs around, fending off attacks on himself and his family, she’s cooped up in her room as a consequence of medical advice. From her initial protests at the hospital to her screams as she’s being carted away – “What does my baby look like?” – she’s systematically ignored and excluded from the entire medical process. The doctors, supposed experts on matters of the human body, use any excuse to discount her opinion, and what choice does she have? First she’s a hysterical mother giving birth, then she’s drugged, then she’s post-partum, then she’s the mother of a mutant child. Her own experience of her own body is discredited because it’s colored by maternal emotion.

Her only outlet is to go crazy, which she does with aplomb. One moment she’s theorizing out loud that untested pharmaceuticals (foisted on her by the medical establishment) could’ve caused the birth defects; the next, she’s laughing like mad at Looney Tunes. Later, she frantically cleans house as if trying to make her family normal again. It’s Alive is about the horror of a family attempting to survive 20th century industrial society. The baby’s existence tears it parents apart along gendered lines, leading the father out into the public domain (gun in hand) while the mother manages what’s left of the home. The mother reacts by shielding her child; the father flatly denies his parentage… until overcome by the infant’s sobs.

The baby, after all, wants nothing more than to be with its family. It visits its brother Chris’s school, then journeys to the Davis homestead, where it symbolically drains several jars of (its mother’s) milk. It mutilates the family cat, but Chris accepts it as kin. “Don’t worry… don’t be scared,” he reassures the baby. “I’ll protect you.” It’s Alive interrogates the very concept of a “normal family,” especially in such an abnormal, unreliable society. Ultimately, for each member of the family, the most “normal” value is the protection of the newborn son. As Carol J. Clover says in Men, Women, and Chain Saws, Frank is “maternalized” (86), but it’s not just that he accepts a shift in gender role. He also comes to prioritize the unity of his family above external forces of law and order. This decision arrives too late, however, and the film’s bleak conclusion renders its hard-earned exchange of values totally moot.

While last month’s entry in the Final Girl Film Club, City of the Living Dead, worked mostly because it had oodles and oodles of gore, It’s Alive carefully rations out its graphic violence. The baby is only shown in shadows and quick close-ups, easily disappearing into the corners of the school or Chris’s room – environments where a child is more welcome than the police. The film methodically builds up its oppressive atmosphere so that even the act of opening of a fridge is imbued with terror. In another movie, our attention might’ve been fixed on the baby’s bloodied victims, like the milkman or the family friend Charlie. Here, they’re collateral damage to the central tragedy, practically relegated to afterthoughts. The motif of flashing lights, which fill the screen at the beginning and the sewers at the end, configures the outside world as hostile and intrusive, a massive entity that persecutes the Davis family (including its second child).

In its mood and style, It’s Alive barely resembles a “typical” horror movie; it feels more like a tense family drama. It could even be a cousin to John Cassavetes’s A Woman Under the Influence, another 1974 film about motherhood under assault. Other scenes look more like a Dirty Harry-style cop thriller. One of the keys to It’s Alive’s greatness is its refusal to be pinned down by genre or formula. It even works some dark comedy into its warped approach to childrearing. (For example, the camera lingers momentarily on a glittery sign on the back of a school bus which reads “STOP CHILDREN.”) In this aspect, it’s somewhat like Splice, another parenthood parable I recently reviewed. However, while that movie buried itself in its mad scientist clichés and its yen to go over the top, It’s Alive’s versatile director Larry Cohen keeps the action solidly rooted in the traumas of the Davis family.

Also like Splice, It’s Alive turns to Frankenstein as a metaphor for its conflict. (And as a source for its title, which is no longer Dr. Frankenstein’s “eureka,” but instead a pulpy announcement of impending horror.) During a conversation with a pair of university doctors, Frank ruminates on seeing the Karloff film version as a child, then reading the Shelley novel in high school. “I realized that Frankenstein was the doctor who created him. Somehow the identities get all mixed up, don’t they?” By the end of the film, Frank realizes that maybe being a father isn’t so far removed from being a mad scientist after all. The film’s beautifully menacing final line – “Another one’s been born in Seattle” – furthers indicts all American families as potentially hazardous laboratories. So who knows? Maybe right now there’s a couple at work in a bedroom, accidentally breeding a monster.

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Inside: Women, Pregnancy and the Penetrable Female Body

Yesterday, I received the third issue of Ax Wound Zine, a homegrown feminist horror zine, in the mail. One of the articles, Mother Blood: A Look Inside by M. Brianna Stallings, discussed some of the themes of a 2007 French horror film, À l’intérieu or Inside. The article piqued my interest so much that I found and watched the film. (Warning: spoilers ahead). The film’s plot concerns itself with Sarah, a young pregnant woman who’s husband is killed in a car crash in the first scene of the film. She and her unborn child survive but Sarah is left despondent and isolates herself from everyone, her mother, her employer and even her cat. On the night before her induced birth (Christmas Eve), she is assaulted by a menacing woman. What at first seems like a frightening but ultimately harmless altercation explodes into a brutal, bloody and violent night of unrelenting horror. I was absolutely enthralled by the film; I found it terrifying and evocative on multiple levels and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since I watched it. After watching it, as I read the IMDb page for the film, I made the mistake of reading some of the comment threads about the movie. Several people talked about how stupid and pointless the movie was and how it, “like most all horror movies”, was merely a vehicle for gore and violence. And some of the defense for the film wasn’t much better; it consisted mostly of ‘horror isn’t supposed to have a point! That’s why it’s enjoyable!”.

Now let me take this chance to discuss my own views on horror as a genre. I love horror. Absolutely love it. I would even go so far as to say it’s my favorite genre of film. It’s very difficult to discuss the hows and whys of what horror is and can be and what it does as a genre, just like with any other genre of film; any branch of film is going to be so multi-faceted and rich with subgenres that it takes awhile to wade through it all. But one of my favorite aspects of the horror genre is the way it explores themes of sex, gender, societal views on men and women and sexuality, etc. And in regards to these specific comments about the film being pointless: I’ve been reading Carol Clover’s Men Women and Chainsaws and if there’s one thing (among many) I’ve taken away from it so far is that even the most low-brow, unconscious of  films can be analyzed. Because we as a people do not create art in a vacuum; our art is always in some way influenced by the environment and society that we live in. Whether or not a piece of art chooses to recognize that and make some kind of comment on it is really here nor there; the influences inherent to any given society are still recognizable within a piece of work. And, furthermore, just because one person doesn’t recognize something in or read into a piece of art the same way another person does, doesn’t mean that those factors don’t exist within the film. For example: just because hundreds of people don’t think or recognize that privilege and white guilt plays a huge part in the narrative of Avatar doesn’t mean that those ideas are still not inherent to the narrative and easily recognizable to other people.

Getting back on track: Inside is about as far from a pointless film as you can get. Pregnancy and the fears and anxieties surrounding it have been fodder for horror and SciFi for a very long time. The very idea of an entity that is itself a separate being existing within another body or host is an unsettling premise and one that hasn’t escaped the horror genre. Inside plays with these ideas of anxiety before the attacker even shows up via a very graphic dream sequence in which Sarah projectile vomits a milky looking substance (breast milk perhaps?) all over the floor before the fetus expels itself upwards and out of her mouth. This idea of the body rejecting all things to do with the pregnancy-the milk that nurtures baby, the baby itself-is a reflection of very real anxieties experienced by pregnant women: what if something happens to the baby? What if my body doesn’t take care of it right? What if something goes wrong? What if my body can’t house this life properly?

Beyond just themes of the horrors of pregnancy, Inside also explores relationships between women in three ways: the interactions between Sarah and her mother, Sarah and the attacker and Sarah and a female police officer. Sarah’s depression over the death of her husband has caused her to push away her mother, whom she refers to by name and is increasingly frustrated and curt with. Sarah refuses the offer of Christmas dinner with her mother, insisting more than once that she’s “…full. [She’s] really full.” The choice of words very clearly has multiple meanings other than her not being hungry: Sarah is literally and figuratively full. Physically, she is very heavy with child (the implication being that she may be overdue, hence the impending induction); her belly protrudes far out from her small frame and she is often seen walking with her hand bracing her back.  Emotionally, she is full to the brim with anxieties and depression as a result of her husband’s death. And yet, despite all of this burden, she continually refuses help from her mother. She doesn’t even want her mother to drive her to or be present at the birth of the child.

After Sarah’s first encounter with the film’s unnamed antagonist, during which she tries to harass Sarah into letting her in by calling out her lie about her husband sleeping  and thereby revealing that she knows just a bit too much about Sarah, the police arrive. A female officer makes the immediate assumption that Sarah is being harassed by the father of her child and then later gently insists that perhaps Sarah is mistaken in thinking the assailant is a woman. The ideas inherent in the officer’s immediate assumptions are 1. that pregnant women are more likely to be harassed by the men who have impregnated them (which isn’t a completely unfounded idea) and 2. that women in general are not of such a brutal nature to harass one another violently. These assumptions are completely undermined by the narrative but betray persistent ideas about pregnant women (as very vulnerable and oftentimes hysterical, unreliable sources of information) and women in general. And it’s very interesting that the ideas are put forth by a woman who is cast in a profession that is traditionally coded masculine; it may possibly represent a barrier that is sometimes constructed between women who are, in some way, coded differently from one another in terms of gender (in this case pregnancy is coded feminine whereas the rough and tough life of a cop is coded masculine).

But the real meat of the film lies in the relationship between Sarah and her assailant. It is initially unclear why this woman is hassling Sarah, insisting that she let her in. Our sense of safety is shaken as we see her, lurking in the background unbeknownst to the vulnerable Sarah. Tension builds as the woman walks about the house as Sarah sleeps, searching for the proper tools to set her work in motion. The weapon she chooses, a pair of shears, is used persistently throughout the film as is a knitting needle (in Stallings article, she noted that these are feminine crafting tools being put to use in sinister, deadly ways). As I watched the unnamed woman poise her weapon against Sarah’s distended tummy and actually penetrate the flesh I began to think about the purpose of pregnant women in horror and the female body as a completely penetrable object.

The presence of a pregnant woman in a horror movie immediately creates a sense of tension or dread; the character is clearly pregnant for a reason, even if it’s not a driving plot element as in this film. I recently watched Cheap, a very low-budget exploitation film directed by Brad Jones (aka The Cinema Snob). One of the peripheral characters is heavily pregnant and the instant she walks on-screen, if you’re aware of the film’s premise, you know that something bad is going to happen to this character otherwise the screenwriter wouldn’t have made her pregnant. And something bad does happen to her and it’s all the more unpleasant because of her pregnancy. In this sense, pregnant characters create a state of fear; we are afraid for these characters much the way we’re afraid for a small child or an animal because in the context of horror films they are more vulnerable than a full-grown, able-bodied person.

A pregnant woman in a horror film has already demonstrated in the most literal sense that she is penetrable. She has, in most cases, had sex with a man and it has resulted in a life inside her body. Beyond that, a pregnant woman is extremely vulnerable to external penetrative forces that threaten the life of her and her unborn child. Sarah is an extreme example of this: she is one day shy of giving birth and every brutal act in this movie is all the more gutting because the viewer knows this. We know that the child inside her is experiencing the physical repercussions of the violence (and not just because of the intermittent CGI shots of the child being physically distressed in utero) and it fosters a sense of constant tension. Even as Sarah sits in the increasingly bloodier bathroom, which she does for over half of the movie (more penetrability; she locks herself inside and her attacker continually tries to penetrate the door), she is experiencing non-stop emotional and mental terror that threatens the well-being of her unborn child.

The relationship between Sarah and her attacker is the most developed of the film. Her assailant shifts back and forth from quiet threat to raving madwoman to maternal caregiver (in the darkest senses possible). She is simultaneously maternal and murderous towards Sarah while fetishizing her pregnancy. Her obsession with Sarah’s child, the driving force behind her madness, exemplifies the darkest side of maternal instincts. We learn that Sarah and her assailant have more in common than is initially thought (spoilerspoilerspoilerspoiler) when it is revealed that this woman was in the other car involved in the accident that killed Sarah’s husband and that the crash resulted in her miscarriage. Both women lost something in this accident and neither are to blame but both react in different ways. Where Sarah sinks into isolation and depression, the other woman descends into madness, deciding that she will take from Sarah what she believes Sarah has taken from her. “Will you kill me again, Sarah?” she asks as Sarah is about to deliver the killing blow, giving her pause, “You’ve already killed me once.” This sense of distorted kinship, of dark intimacy unsettles the viewer by forcing us to sympathize with our mad killer. She is older than Sarah, clearly in at least her mid-forties; it’s not outside the realm of reality to believe that the child she lost was her last chance to conceive. And for someone who may already be mentally unstable, that kind of deep, traumatizing loss could push them to horrific limits.

In terms of thematic elements, this film is not lacking. To claim that this is a ‘pointless gore flick’ betrays a complete ignorance of the fundamental elements of the story itself. This is one of the most visceral films I’ve ever seen. It is unrelenting and potentially traumatizing or triggering. There is much bloodshed; while watching I lost track of where all this blood came from and found myself several times shocked by the amount of blood-spray on the walls and floor and covering the characters. But the gore itself is not, in my opinion, just pointless blood. Pregnancy, and more specifically birth, is bloody. It is gory. It is visceral and tender and red and unbearable to watch at times. Inside is a haunting story, that is loaded with ideas and themes of the horror of pregnancy, of living in a penetrable female body, and the sometimes dark and twisted kinship between women. In the world of the horror film, the female body is one of the most vulnerable places to live in; you are open to penetration of all kinds. I recommend this film to fans of the genre or to anyone curious enough to seek it out but, as I said, it is a very emotional film to watch. If seeing the delicacy of pregnancy continually brutalized is something that could potentially upset or trigger you, take caution. But the film was a satisfying cinematic experience for me. It is a layered and purposeful film that evokes critical thought about motherhood, pregnancy and the female body.

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