HAGAZUSSA: A HEATHEN’S CURSE is a dark tale of a woman’s struggle with her own sanity. In a time when pagan beliefs of witches spread fear into the minds of the rural folk, the film aims to explore the thin line between ancient beliefs, magic and delusional psychosis. To celebrate its release on the 11th May we got a chance to hear all about director Lukas Feigelfeld’s favourite horror film.
Debut filmmaker Lukas Feigelfeld has crafted one of the most celebrated horror debuts in recent years, playing prestigious festivals worldwide it is one of the most original takes on the subject of witchcraft which echoes Robert Eggers The Witch but draws on broader influences including the creeping dread and hallucinogenic imagery of David Lynch and Panos Cosmatos.
Ranked 3rd in Rotten Tomatoes “Best Horror Movies of 2019”, Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse is a journey into the madness prevalent both in our minds and in the world around us, and whether the difference between the two is always as clear as we hope for it to be.
In an isolated Alpine hut at the turn of the 15th Century, Albrun is a young girl growing up alone. As an adult, she is a single mother and a marked woman, outcast by a society twisted in deep-rooted superstitions and misogyny. Still haunted by the death of her own mother and increasingly abused by the community around her, Albrun starts to defy the role she has been dealt in life and embarks on a path of self-empowerment – the price of which may be an even greater darkness than she has ever known before.
Below director Lukas Feigelfeld tells us all about his favourite horror film:
“Although it is very hard to pick favourites, I tried, and realised that Takashi Miike’s “Audition” (1999) is very dear to my heart since a long time.
Re-watching it over and over again, I always wondered what made it so special. Miike made so many films, and not all of them are special, but with “Audtion” he managed to deliver something that is on one hand calm and simple, on the other, one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. It is not only the intensity of torture, that is presented, but more the long and strange anticipation to it. The film is not at all built like a normal horror film, but takes its time to construct a story, that seems for more than one hour just like a realistic drama of a lonely Japanese man, trying to find a partner. With care and sensitivity Miike manages to create an undertone of misogyny and abuse. About two thirds in, the whole realistic construct starts falling apart and the film plunges into nightmarish and surreal imagery, that lead up to a great finale. And you don’t see it coming, not like this. The (legendary) long stretched torture scene hurts like no other. It is minimalistic in its core, but therefore harder to swallow than anything else. Slow, meditative and very silent, pretty Asami proceeds in exploring the possibilities of inflicting pain. Her soothing voice rips the silence, just like the sound of the metal wire, easily ripping through the bone and flesh of her antagonist.
Miike just leaves you with this. He does not seem to have the need to be apologetic, nor does he seem to want to entertain. “Audition” draws you into a complete reality and shows the true horror of pain without being an actual horror film, as you know them. My only wish would be to watch this film for the first time, not knowing that there will be anything scary about it….oh will you be surprised!”