Horror Favourites from Final Girls Berlin Film Fest – Orla Smith

The Final Girls Berlin Film Fest runs between February 6 – 9, 2020 at City Kino Wedding offer a sensational line up of horror features, horror shorts and horror talks. We where lucky enough to hear to some of the amazing people taking part including Horror Specialist Orla Smith.

Orla Smith is a freelance film critic and the Executive Editor of Seventh Row, an online publication dedicated to helping you understand how your favourite films make you feel the way you do, through technical analysis and detailed interviews. Orla is based near London.

For the Final Girls Berlin Film Fest Orla Smith presents From Julia Ducournau’s RAW to Joachim Trier’s THELMA, some of modern horror’s greatest monsters aren’t physically tangible — they’re internal demons. These ‘female monsters’ face no antagonist but themselves and their lack of agency over their own minds. It marks a shift in interest between from horror movies interested in the external threats women face, to horror focusing on women’s inner demons. Smith draws from the ideas explored in Seventh Row’s book, Beyond empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency.

Below Horror Specialist Orla Smith discusses her favourite horror film Carrie:

“I didn’t always love horror films. I always knew that I would — I go to the movies to feel things, and what feeling is more visceral than fear? — but I was too much of a scaredy-cat to actually watch them. Then one Halloween, when I was a teenager, I bit the bullet and switched on Brian De Palma’s Carrie. I wept for the poor girl, played so beautifully by Sissy Spacek; then I stared in awed fear at her bloody prom meltdown; and wept again when she broke out of her trance back home in the bathtub and realised what she had done; and screamed when her hand reached out of the ground in the final shot. And then, of course, I didn’t sleep that night.

Funnily enough, in the only writing I’ve ever done on Carrie, I end up comparing it unfavourably to Joachim Trier’s Thelma (that piece is a chapter in the book Beyond Empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency). It’s not that I prefer Thelma, but the way that it centres its heroine’s agency and choices is far more modern than Carrie, which is a story of victimhood. No matter what she did, Carrie couldn’t change her fate. We sympathise with her, but the message of the film is not “Don’t be like Carrie.” It’s “Don’t be like her bullies, otherwise this is the fate that you will deserve.” It’s about their choices, not Carrie’s

But while Thelma is structurally a more feminist film (although the deep, soul-wrenching empathy we feel for Carrie is feminist in its own way), horror is ultimately about feeling for me. And I struggle to think of a film that makes me feel more intensely than Carrie.”

The fifth edition of Final Girls Berlin Film Festival will take place between February 6 – 9, 2020 at City Kino Wedding continuing to raise the bar by showcasing horror written directed, and/or produced by women and non-binary filmmakers. The exciting program features eight curated short blocks and nine feature films, a horror-inspired self-defense workshop, an exhibition, a festival party with multimedia drag performances, and specialist talks.

TWITTER: @finalgirlsfest
INSTAGRAM: @finalgirlsfilmfest
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/finalgirlsberlin
WEBSITE: www.finalsgirlsberlin.com

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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