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Here’s a male-only horror anthology: a collection of eight shorts fresh off the festival circuit, none of which is directed by a woman. The films are a mixed bag of tricks and (significantly fewer) treats. If there is a common thread linking them it’s that most are stories of women being tortured or terrified – trembling in the male gaze. They have been chosen by film-making brothers Luciano and Nicolás Onetti, who also shot the framing story: a late-night radio DJ with a mellow stoner vibe spins spooky yarns to his listeners.
Wisely, the producers open with one of the best of the bunch: Post Mortem Mary, a story of macabre pleasures. It’s set in 19th-century Australia where squeamish eight-year-old Mary (Stella Charrington) is being trained up in the family business – photographing portraits of the dead. “The most important thing is that they look alive,” instructs her mother, handing Mary a teaspoon. (What she has to do with that spoon is unspeakable.) Less original is A Little Off the Top, the tale of an unhinged male hairdresser with a female victim in the chair. Like most of the films in the collection it’s violent and crudely shocking but not exactly unsettling. It might empty the contents of your stomach but won’t grab you by the soul.
The Disappearance of Willie Bingham, a film with a political dystopian force, is the anomaly here: an almost satirical story of a murderer and rapist (Kevin Dee) who is punished by state-sanctioned amputation of his limbs, one by one. Nul points goes to Into the Mud, a textbook sexist horror in which a naked blonde wakes up in a forest and is stalked by a male hunter with a rifle; though it surely has the dubious honour of giving us cinema’s first ever demonic killer mermaid.
Source: The Guardian
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