"Rapture" ~ Antony
So you’re just settling into this prison drama with some top notch acting, and a terrible backdrop of decay, barely suppressed violence and rape, when suddenly there’s Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, crooning in his otherworldy quaver to a bunch of hardened convicts. Tony Trejo’s reaction is priceless. It’s a wonderful, almost surreal lull in an otherwise realist and straightforward character drama. Later, another band does a straightforward rock number, but it isn’t the same at all. One can only wonder what Anthony did to end up in that hellhole.
"In Dreams" & "Crying" ~ Roy Orbison
Lynch uses another Orbison classic to send "Mulholland Drive" into otherworldly bliss. This time, Rebekah Del Rio steps onto a stage, unaccompanied, to sing "Crying". In Spanish. With a showstopping voice and a little reverb, this acapella version brings time to a standstill and acts like a black hole for all the sadness in the world.
WEST BEIRUT / West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants)
~ Ziad Doueiri, France/Norway/lebanon/Belgiun
"Wise Up" ~ Aimee Mann
I love "Magonolia": it has one of my favourite opening sequences; lots of clever camerawork (he is good at long, mobile takes) and I dug it as overstuffed drama with some nice acting. It’s okay to like Tom Cruise in this one, honest, because he is good. And then… and then the whole thing to stops to become a Aimie Mann music video for "Wise Up" (as featured in "Jerry Maguire"??). One character sings. So does another. They all sing, telling themselves to wise up. A corpse sings. What the hell? And as if someone has turned over from American Masterpiece channel to MTV, the artifice is made clear, suspension of belief and engagement are batted out the window. A bold move? An incalculable error? I am sure PT Anderson thinks it is the emotional crux of the film, but it’s an aesthetic faux pas that shines the drama into light of self-regarding angst affectation. No… I can’t go with it. I just wait until the film starts properly again. Thankfully, it is almost redeemed by the outrageousness of the frogs.
~ Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza, Spain, 2007
"Vudú (Extended Version)" ~ Vudu
The sound of the horror film is, apparently, rock music. If you are Oriental horror, it is often slightly creepy pop, but mostly it’s rock. Frequently metal of the old or new school kind. And more often than not, it is not of the atmospheric kind. In those crap teen horrors, you expect it. The use of rock seems to say "HELL YEH!! FUCKIN’ SCARY! FUCKIN’ GORY!! LET’S KICK IT!" A kind of crude egging on from your peers.
That ".Rec" ends with the most inappropriate rock song is nearly an act of total sabotage. It's "Vudú (Extended Version)" by Vudu. Carefully and consummately, the film has cultivated a spiralling into the claustrophobia of horror. It starts with freely walking in airy hallways and ends with scrambling through the dark in corners with no way out… rarely has the finale of a film been so nerve-wracking. It doesn’t have many options available and it doesn’t manage the bluff and odd emotional pay-off of "The Descent", but it ends in real horror. And then the rock song comes and all the atmosphere, mood and horror is dumped as if they really didn’t care after all. A stunning final misstep for an otherwise excellent little horror.
8-10...AND REALLY, THEY ARE MUSICALS….
~ Jacques Demy, 1961, France
… there are no actual musical dance numbers, but the lightness of touch, and all those sailors, p-leeeessee…
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
~ Stanley Kubrick, 1968, UK/USA
The Universe is classical.
THE WICKER MAN
~ Robin Hardy, 1973, UK
The sound of horror is folk music. Who knew?