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Top 5 Macabre Party Scene

Saturday 12 July 2014, by TBrown

And... we kick off this new section to mydy by revisiting some old favourites and lazily copying and pasting bits of old reviews

1. Nicholas Winding Refn’s Bronson

The colourful and surreal portrait of notoriously violent British prisoner Charles Bronson.

Lest we forget, Bronson the film features one of the best “macabre party scene”, which involves half a dozen patients gyrating to It’s a sin in a cordoned-off bit of a room during the local asylum’s disco night. I realise I am basically applauding possibly lobotomised patients being ridiculed but it does constitute one of the few moments which hint more explicitly at the ways in which the authorities were complicit in Bronson’s cycle of violent behaviour (sort of).

2. Steven Sheil’s Mum and Dad

In Sheil’s dark but over the top gore-fest, the eponymous Panto-like weirdos Mum and Dad kidnap and abuse and children and assorted low paid migrant workers.

The film’s highlight is a Christmas party scene. The viewer is presented with a dullish, bloated, run of the mill Christmas evening in front of the telly, Christmas cracker hats askew, celebrations strewn across the floor with the odd body, human decoration and torture victim dotting the scene heavy with tinsel draped over their limbs like grotesque Christmas trees, all enhanced by excellent acting and genuine Christmas spirit on the part of the parents. This scene could become a reference and handy illustration of the Christmas Eve from hell.

3. Peter Weir’s The Cars That Ate Paris

A gem from Weir’s Peter Weir’s ozploitation days. This decidedly bizarre film is a satirical depiction of a small town in Australia (Paris) whose inhabitants cause car accidents to use salvaged valuables and bits of scrap metal as currency.

The highlight is probably the Paris masquerade ball or dress-up disco night or whatever celebration it is, during which the asylum interns are wheeled out wearing cereal boxes as masks. Worth a watch.

4. Denis Villeneuve’s Next Floor

French director Villeneuve is mostly known for his 2013 thriller Prisoners starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman and, at least in France, for Incendies, his excellent film adaptation of the equally excellent play Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad.

But before hitting the big time, Villeneuve directed Next Floor, a short screened at practically every film fest across the globe and that won the best short prize at Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2008.

Not much needs to be written about it, as it is available to watch online. See for yourselves:


5. Francesco Barilli’s The Perfume of the Lady in Black

The Perfume is a particularly creepy psychological horror film, often categorised as a Giallo yet eschewing most of the clichés of the genre. Silvia, an industrial scientist, with a troubled childhood, starts experiencing chilling hallucinations and reliving traumatic events from her past to the extent that she starts to lost touch with reality.

Early on in the film, Silvia attends a party with her boyfriend Roberto. Among the slightly strange guests is an African professor who tells Silvia that witchcraft and human sacrifice are still commonplace in Africa, before laughing and admitting he was telling a joke, in what could well have been Barilli mocking the usual depictions of at the time in Italian films. It isn’t so much what does take place at the party that allows it to find its way on this list, but the heavy, ominous atmosphere of impending doom. Everything about it is slightly off and disconcerting. A beautifully crafted and sadly underrated film.

Feel free to send in your suggestions...

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