Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002, Guy Maddin)


This movie has Asian Dracula (the very graceful and elegant Zhang Wei-Qiang), is in black and white and is literally a silent movie. Yet Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary oddly works, even though this is a ballet horror movie filming of a stage ballet adaption of Dracula. That title is pretty cool, and I liked this movie despite it being mostly style rather than substance. I’ve never seen Dracula this graceful before, and the ending ballet is really neat.

If anything the ballet and silent film style filmmaking makes this more interesting than the average vampire flick. Guy Maddin seems to be a unique director, and I would like to see more of his work. Particularly if it is anything like this flick. Ballet vampire movie could be a regular thing, maybe.

Top 20 Horror Films of the 2000s Presents: Black Swan (2010)


7.    Black Swan (2010, Darren Aronofsky)

This is one of those entries on my list where people say “Well is this really a horror movie?” I think it fits the basic criteria, which is  disturbing, nightmarish, completely insane by all means, and haunting to the max. Featuring a powerhouse acting job by the lovely Natalie Portman, Arnonofsky takes a rather ordinary plot-a ballet company doing Swan Lake-and turns into a frightening experience combing fantasy with reality, and featuring body horror that would be right at home in a David Cronenberg film. Having Mila Kunis act as Portman’s more outgoing, adventurous counterpart/rival was a great touch, and I loved how expertly creepy and slimy Vincent Cassel was in the role of her director. A man who gets way too close to his dancers, commanding high respect and demanding extreme perfection to the point of causing his performers to be exhausted. This literal balancing act is what causes Portman’s Nina to slowly and then rapidly become unbalanced, giving the movie its bleak center: the pressure causing what little sanity the poor girl had to begin with to ebb away.

Something I truly love about this film is how the darkness builds up to a fevered pitch, as Nina goes from being only able to portray the White Swan to embracing the Black Swan of the title, going inwards into herself and uncovering the madness necessary to let go. Perhaps this is a bloody and sad tale of method acting gone utterly wrong, or simply just another fine psychological driven movie from Arnonofsky, who with Black Swan, The Wrestler, Pi and others is one of the best of the modern directors. Whatever the case the transformation is something I still brood upon from time to time, pondering whether art attracts insane people. Maybe people are driven insane by art. Something in the middle, perhaps.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑