Sunday, October 17, 2010
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
I will give you a better preparation for this movie than I did.
It's not just "scary". It's holy-shit-this-is-my-childhood-fairy-tale-horror-come-to-life- scary. The type of scary where your grabbing the nearest stuffed teddy bear.
It is definitely a movie that everyone must see. After watching this movie, there are usually two extreme reactions : those who absolutely loved it and those who are terrified of ever seeing the DVD cover again.
Why? Simply put, this movie is incredibly hard to watch. Several reasons:
1. alot of darkness
2. very, very, effin' violent
3. alot of blood
4. the Pale Man. Oh,dear fluffy clouds THE PALE MAN
5. Unless you understand Spanish, you have to break the trance by reading the subtitles
(Can be a bit distracting but can also be a relief at focusing somewhere else.)
1. don't eat while watching this movie.
2. keep the lights on
3. don't look under the bed/closet
4. don't look too hard into the trees
5. don't watch this alone
It's really easy to stay in my comfort zone of fantasy and romantic comedy movies and just relax. Except that it can just get so freaking boring. You can predict the story line for most of these movies. There's only so much shrugs and goofy grins a person can take before it can become incredibly superficial. To a point where it stops being enjoyable. That's when I venture into movies that shake me out complacency.
Plus the adrenaline thrill that your alive is a good jump start to living.
I can pretty much force myself to sit through a gruesome movie (admist wiggling and covering my eyes) once and then my brain goes into complete shock. An overload of cruelty and violence triggers the automatic mental metal door to slam shut (cue in the "Get Smart" theme song). I'm limited to only one or two of these kinds of movies a year. I'm that much of a pansy.
After I spend a few months breathing and recapturing my thoughts from where it has scattered, I start to analyze. I try to understand my fear and coax it into submission. Slowly and steady I will started to analyze the movie itself. If I'm brave enough, I will force myself to watch it a second time to let the reluctant appreciation set in.
I have to admit appreciation for the dark and the scary. It either takes an incredibly unhinged person to release their inner demons or a person who just understands Fear. It goes back to the whole balance of yin and yang. Light and evil. In order for me appreciate the light I need to look back and recognize the evil. It won't do anygood if I don't understand that it's there.
Although the movie is fictional it's still realistic in it's proportions of human cruelty. That exists. Worse acts exist. I just hope that I will be lucky enough not to experience it.
Guillermo Del Toro (director and creator) is one who understands inner fear. Just watch the "The Power of Myth" featurette on the DVD.You can tell that he understand what was triggering the inner fear in his audience.
"Pan's Labyrinth" is a modern fairy tale/ horror. A young girl on the edge of adolescence along with her pregnant mother is forced to stay with the stepdad in the country. The stepdad is a fascist leader hell-bent on killing the rebels hiding in the woods and all who aid them. To escape the torture and oppresion, the young girl runs off to discover an ancient faun. The faun informs the girl that she is the long lost princess of the fantasy world. In order to claim the throne, she must go through several tests.
Through the fantasy there is a lot of violence tucked in every possible corner. I know the movie is set a few years after the Spanish civil war. Of course there's going to violence. I just hate watching it. I always flinch when someone get's slapped or punched. I'm squealing at the moment a knife heads towards the body.I'm just completely overburdened by the sadness and horror of it all.
It's been a year or so since I've seen this movie. It still terrifies me. I had to force myself to listen to what other people had to say about the movie before I could even begin to analyze. I just remember not registering that this movie was a fairy tale. My mind just started going into shock once all the crazy stuff started happening. My mind was refusing to focus on the movie. It was frantically focusing on anything on the screen that was visually pleasing. Anything. There was nothing. It's all scary. Even the little girl kinda makes me nervous.
This is the way fairy tales were described originally and Del Toro really nailed that. It is an amazing movie in it's layers of meanings. I only caught on to the "girl on the verge of adulthood" part. But there's also the grouping of threes and facial mutilation. Wow. Alot of stuff.
I'm pretty much gearing myself for a second viewing of the movie. Slowly gearing up.