Sometimes fairy tales make excellent (or at least interesting) horror films. Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) [aka El Laberinto del Fauno] is something of an epitomé of the approach, of course; but others, such as Michael Cohn’s Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997) and Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm (2005), do a good job of translating the imagery and sensibilities of Faerie into a horror genre context. Another recent film that springs to mind is M. Night Shyamalan’s rather awkward Lady in the Water (2006) — but the less said about that, the better, I suspect.
A new independent horror film that purports to use fairy-tale elements to weave its dark magic recently premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, taking the award for “Best of the Fest”.
Spike (US-2008; dir. Robert Beaucage)
A young woman finds herself trapped in a nightmarish fairy tale come true, and must rescue her friends from a strange creature who idolizes her and will have her at any cost.
“There is always some madness in love….”
Director Robert Beaucage readily lists the influences that have driven his interest in fantasy tropes as a means of examining the undercurrents of our ordinary lives. He says:
“Dreams, fantasy, and mythology have fascinated me since my early childhood. From the exploits of Theseus, Perseus, and Odysseus to the works of C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll; from my own vivid childhood dreams rife with werewolves, witches, and dragons to the writings of Joseph Campbell and James Frazer, I have viewed fantasy and fairy tales as vital tools to understanding life.”
These cultural influences form the basis of his film’s thematic core.
“With Spike,” he commented, “I have set out to tell a fantasy story exploring dark and dangerous possibilities of a condition we have all experienced in one way or another: romantic love. Why do we love? What causes us to love particular individuals? What is love? Can we control it, or does it control us?”
Given my usual obsessions, I’m intrigued to know what form the romantically inclined titular creature might take, and the following image from the film suggests something both unique and literally described by its name.
Creature creator Jordu Schell’s design background speaks well for the possibilities. His resumé includes Men In Black, Planet of the Apes (2001), Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, X-Files: The Movie, Predator II, Galaxy Quest, Evolution, My Favorite Martian, Alien: Resurrection, The Guyver and Bedazzled.
Check out the website for more pictures, bios, storyboard images, behind-the-scenes stuff and clips from the film.
I note the following statement from the director’s bio with even greater excitement: “His plans for a second feature will not include a monster, but may involve ghosts, time travel, and clockwork dinosaurs.” Clockwork dinosaurs? Very cool indeed!
- Source: the website via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery