Horror-Adjacent
August 1, 2019 9:00 PM   Subscribe

On the recent episode of A24's podcast, directors Ari Aster (Midsommar, recently released) and Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse, coming soon) name-dropped 42 movies. We compiled every film mentioned — from Andrei Rublev to Conan the Barbarian to a whopping 18 Bergman films — into an annotated watch list for those of you that have approximately 87 hours to kill.
posted by mannequito (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Note - there is a full transcript if you scroll down on the podcast link)
posted by mannequito at 9:01 PM on August 1, 2019


Top comment on "The Lighthouse" trailer:

"This reminds me of the episode where Mr. Krabs and Spongebob tried to kill the Health inspector."
posted by Brocktoon at 9:10 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


I loved The Witch and Hereditary both (both films really stuck in my head for days), and it's a great talk. It's not surprising to hear their influences go beyond the usual horror touchstones (Carpenter, Craven etc).
posted by misterbee at 9:15 PM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


I've found Kanopy to be a great resource for film, and several of the films on the Aster-Eggers list are available to stream there, and it's also where I was able to watch both The Witch (although I can't help but spell it The VVitch) and Hereditary. There are also many films from A24 available to stream, which I'm slowly working my way through, but now that I've added a couple of classics from this article to my watchlist, that progress will become even slower.

Kanopy partners with public and university libraries, so I suppose accessibility may vary.
posted by vverse23 at 9:31 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


No one needs to watch that much Bergman.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:39 PM on August 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


No one needs to watch that much Bergman.

That one fact, were it publicly known, would lead to the virtual extinction of the undergraduate film studies course.
posted by Optamystic at 1:14 AM on August 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't want to be too glib about the list since I can't listen to the podcast right now and don't want to suggest there's nothing to Bergman or the other movies mentioned, but, man, that list is so tied to a very narrow view of the world, one that carries a particularly strong sense of "emotional masculinity". It's not the traditional idea of masculine, at least as seen in things like Hollywood films emphasizing the strong silent type of self reliance, it does seek to plumb something of the depths of what makes people tick, but does so from a very self certain sense of knowledge that might be better off taken in small doses than looked at as the exceptional works of film history.

Bergman and Tarkovsky are brilliant directors in their ways. Their movies don't look like any others and the intensity of their focus and the powerful visual sense they bring to it are worth study, but not alone as it also carries a deep set male oriented justification to their visions. That Bergman particularly has excellent actresses in his very theatrical works, cuts back against that somewhat as the actresses seek their own truths within the frame Bergman creates, but the frame still exists around what they do to limit how the emotions and ideas of the films are known.

In itself that's not necessarily a bad thing as that is what artists do and Bergman and most of the other directors mentioned are indeed invested in the art in ways most commercial filmmakers aren't for seeking something deeper than surface entertainment alone. But when presented with a list of films so overwhelming tilted to a certain kind of perspective of aggressive male vulnerability that finds its release often in converting that energy to use of women as symbolic markers of meaning, then there needs to be a step back to assess why that is and what it leaves out. I think a number of the movies mentioned, along with The VVitch, are worth seeing and have some interesting things to say, but the list as a whole amplifies that so much that it starts to shake the foundations of its own seeming purpose.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:02 AM on August 2, 2019 [10 favorites]


omg someone else liked The Tulse Luper Suitcases
I'm not sure how I feel about that
posted by phooky at 4:22 AM on August 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


No one needs to watch that much Bergman.

Antithesis: Everyone can watch that much Bergman.

Synthesis: Some people should watch that much Bergman (!?!).
posted by Alex404 at 4:44 AM on August 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


... when presented with a list of films so overwhelming tilted to a certain kind of perspective of aggressive male vulnerability that finds its release often in converting that energy to use of women as symbolic markers of meaning, then there needs to be a step back to assess why that is and what it leaves out.

Aster and Eggers specifically frame it as a discussion of the work of Ingmar Bergman. I don’t know why it’s presented as some kind of “watchlist”. Guess that’s sexier than calling it just a bunch of movies that got brought up either centrally or peripherally as two directors talked about Bergman.
posted by Mothlight at 4:54 AM on August 2, 2019 [14 favorites]


That makes more sense, and now that I have a chance to listen to the podcast, it's a lot of fun to hear the two directors digging in to some of the craft they are drawn to in Bergman and, so far, Tarkovsky, but it's starting to raise more questions about their movies too, which I'm waiting to see if they address more in depth as they go on.

I only stopped podcast for a moment to note the "transcript" provided weirdly cuts out a lot of their conversation about Bergman, which is bizarre because that's what they're sort of organizing their discussion around. So if you want to get the whole thing I guess you'll have to listen instead of read it.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:47 AM on August 2, 2019


It's such a shame that a 'canonical' list like this contains so few - 1! - non-male directors, and there are definitely other discussions to be had about other forms of diversity too. It makes me less inclined to take this list as something 'valuable'. It just feels like well-trodden ground (and yes, I know it is meant to be related to Bergman, a male white director, but still...)

Maybe an idea for another - non-male, non-white - film podcaster and director team: what would a more diverse, non-canonical version of this list look like?

Having seen both of Aster's main releases, one thing I can definitely say is that he has some interesting/odd ideas about women/mothers and mental health. Regarding some of the comments above about Bergman and women, this gives me pause.
posted by 0bvious at 9:02 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Glad to see the frozen horror of The Snowman was mentioned ( wtf? ).
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:18 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, now I'm looking forward to seeing both Hereditary and Midsommar... trailers look amazing. I had a great time watching The Witch at midnight in a tent in the woods a few weeks back.

(I also had a. uh, bad year once, where I hung out alone for two weeks over christmas watching all of the bergman I could get my hands on. It was a time.)
posted by kaibutsu at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't think the intent is to provide a canonical list so much as a list based on a discussion between 2 young, white and male filmmaker friends. To me the list is very "American film school auteur theory art house", which is a pretty narrow genre without much diversity. Gus above, I think, has Bergman and Tarkovsky summed up well. They are both important filmmakers with an incredible body of work but as a novice viewer of those films you need to keep your wits about you.

Folk Horror is a particular interest of mine so the part of the conversation about that was interesting. One thing I found curious in that part of the discussion, are there people who actually don't think of those films as horror films? Mind you I haven't read a lot of critical material on the Witch or Hereditary but it is pretty clear that is what the intention of the filmmakers was in their direction & scripts. As filmmakers they are bringing a level of craft to the genre that you don't always see in commercial horror which I guess does make them feel less like "generic genre horror".

The mention of the Snowman is interesting. It strikes me as a weirdly American response to something like that, labelling it "maudlin" and "grotesque". I'd call the Snowman "wistful" and "nostalgic" with elements of mourning and loss which I think are important parts of Christmas and midwinter celebrations which is easy to miss if you're just familiar with its consumer & forced joyfulness aspects. But the thing that stands out the most for me though is that Ari Aster definitely seems to have had an overheated response to cinema as a child.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:06 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


"It's such a shame that a 'canonical' list like this contains so few - 1! - non-male directors, and there are definitely other discussions to be had about other forms of diversity too."

What are some movies y'all think belong on such a list or in this discussion that are not?
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:34 AM on August 2, 2019


An Angel at My Table, Jane Campion
My Brilliant Career, Gillian Armstrong
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins
Ganja & Hess, Bill Gunn
A Dry White Season, Euhzan Palcy
Losing Ground, Kathleen Collins
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Ana Lily Amanpour

This is just a start.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:15 PM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


[If you have a problem, Bwentman, please take it to the contact form or metatalk.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:20 PM on August 2, 2019


Jeeze, maybe we should compile a list of movies and email these guys why our choices didn't make it?

The "list" is a list. It's a list of movies they mention in the podcast. It's not really a list of movies they officially compiled. But even if it is, it would be their list, compiled for reasons that belong to them. I see no reason to get axe-grindy about it all.

I thought it was enjoyable to hear them geek out about things that interest them, the influences, the craft, the business. They're a couple interesting, fresh and young film makers who like each other. Their conversation drew me in enough to wish it had been longer.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:46 PM on August 2, 2019


I’d add Trouble Every Day from Claire Denis to that list above, thematically if nothing else.
posted by zinful at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


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