Day 6: Female-Helmed Horror Movies for OctoberThe Love Witch
Written, Directed, Produced and Edited by Anna Biller
I watched it on iTunes.
Wow, this movie is angry. Biller is constantly working out her frustrations with the minefield that is love between the genders and when she’s firing hard at those themes, it’s fantastic. It’s supposedly a horror comedy but I only found it somewhat funny. But to be fair, I suspect this would’ve been a lot more fun with a crowd. It took a bit to get used to, as it has a very specific tone.
The titular love witch, Elaine (Samantha Robinson) moves to a new town in search of a man to love and who will love her, or so she repeatedly declares. Elaine’s obsession with finding and pleasing a man and then being routinely disappointed when they love her like a stereotypical woman loves a man (going on and on about feelings, crying, calling out for her). The tampon in a urine-filled mason jar was a stand-out moment of insanity that definitely felt like it could have only come from a woman. (And just when I was wondering about periods in horror movies after the last film! I guess ask and ye shall receive.) The film is littered with awesome lines like, “You sound as if you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy.” And “Who do you give that to, the rainbow?” “I give the rainbow to you, right now.”
The color palette and overall production design is a constant, candied delight. With the look of her film, Biller recalls 1960s horror films but still includes a few modern details, like cell phones, to throw you off. The pace and even cadence of the actors is purposefully stilted, like one of those old movies you’d watch at a repertory cinema. But while I appreciated the many clever plays on femininity, the patriarchy, and what constitutes real love, after about halfway through, the approach got old and I got bored. I wonder if this would have been so much stronger as a short or a really tight 70-minuter.