The latest episode of our little podcast delves into true crime – but don’t worry we’re not sick of horror movies just yet.
Hitchcock’s 1948 classic ‘Rope’ might not be one of his most celebrated films, but it is definitely his most queer. Starring John Dall and Farley Granger, the movie is based on a play of the same name, which in turn is based on the grisly true story of Leopold and Loeb. Rich privileged Jewish boys in the 20s, Leopold and Loeb were also a couple. Spoiled, arrogant and becoming increasingly obsessed with Nietszche’s philosopy of the Ubermensch (the superior man, who justifies the existence of the human race), they decided they were too rich clever and beautiful to adhere to the law of the common man. Obsessed with finding the next thrill and the perfect crime, they murdered a young boy just to see if they could get away with it.
They didn’t. And the rest of the story is on our podcast so listen at the link below! We talk through Rope and the 1992 avant garde queer movie ‘Swoon’ which told a more explicitly homoerotic version of the story. Picture a Bruce Weber Pet Shop Boys video with added child murder and you’re half way there.
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SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Having been privy to articles from Ladbible and the likes declaring the latest Spanish horror on Netflix to be the most terrifying thing to hit our screens since Katie Hopkins, the Screaming Queenz were wondering if palms had been greased for such OTT superlatives to be thrown around. So with my eyebrow arched in its favourite cynical position I sat down to watch Verónica to find out for myself.
Set in Madrid in 1991, the films follows its titular heroine as she struggles to help her work-all-night-sleep-all-day mum to raise 3 kids, whilst navigating the horrors of adolescence and awaiting her first period. Deciding life isn’t already grim enough Verónica takes to the school basement with her gal pals and plays around with a Ouija board during – you guessed it – a solar eclipse. Grieving the loss of her father, Veró wants to make contact. It won’t be the mother of all spoilers to tell you she doesn’t get hold of her dad – there’s someone or something much more dark and sinister on the line. And once she’s made contact, her demonic new friend isn’t going to leave without a fight…
So is the film indeed a shit-your-pants frightfest unlike anything we’ve ever seen before? Well… no. But for the rest of us out there once bitten twice shy after Netflix gave us the Cloverfield shitpile, I can reassure you… it’s actually not bad. In fact it’s quite good. Every demonic Ouija board haunting trope is thrown into Verónica. Troubled family life, recent bereavement, creepy kids drawing shadowy figures, there’s even a creepy old blind nun, not to mention nods to everything from Nosferatu to Paranormal Activity. But such clichés can be forgiven in a film that cranks up the emotional punch with sweet and quirky performances from its cast, primarily children who are neither terribly wooden or precocious.
Veró’s battle with her burgeoning womanhood, high school politics and a largely absent mother are obvious but well-played. The horror of a girl’s first period is driven home with a surprisingly gruesome scene involving cannibal children that stands out like a blood-stained mattress. The film falls down with its use of dodgy CGI but then regains its scare factor with glimpses of the demon in the shadows, reflected in the TV screen (hello Signs) and leering through plate glass doors. And a decidedly downbeat ending draws the film back from the sentimental edge it teeters on just at the last minute.
So despite it being overhyped, Verónica is still worth your time. A few good scares, not to mention a synth soundtrack with more than a few nods to the original Nightmare on Elm Street score, and solid performances, mean it won’t disappoint.
While you’re here, have you heard our new podcast looking at Silence of the Lambs? If you like jizz jokes, bad Jodie Foster impressions and want to hear our opinion on whether the film is transphobic or not, click the link below: