Tom Humberstone


horror month - day 8

Lake Mungo (2008)

Quick summary: In an after-the-fact faux documentary, we meet a family who, in grieving the death of their daughter, started to experience ghostly shenanigans around the house.

Interesting choice to do the horror mockumentary. It removes any possibility of mortal jeopardy as we know all the characters come out of the story alive, but the filmmakers are less concerned with that style of horror than they are with a slow, unsettling build-up of doubt and sorrow. The film is very much a story about grief and it's effect on the family, friends and community of the woman who died - Alice Palmer - whose secret life we learn more about as the story unfolds. I'm sure the naming similarity with Twin Peak's Laura Palmer is no coincidence.

Weirdly, the film Lake Mungo reminds me of most is The Imposter - a documentary about an arguably creepier story, but which uses cinematic reenactments and interesting twist reveals halfway through in much the same way Lake Mungo does. The Imposter came 4 years later - I wonder if it was inspired by this film.

I also watched:

The Canal (2014)

Quick summary: Film archivist and jealous husband David starts hearing and seeing things that have something to do with a film he found - of a crazy jealous husband who killed his family in 1902 - in the very same house he and his wife live in. And then David's wife disappears.

More of a traditional possession horror here. Interesting this came out the same year as The Babadook. And this is now the third film in a row that involves some use of spirit photography. These ghosts really need to figure out a way to hide from film-stock.

I liked the unsubtle colour palette of this going from an even yellow/blue to almost entirely red towards the end. It also had some nice nods toward Lynch and Ringu. But the dialogue was fairly flat, and it sort of descended into unintentionally hilarious territory towards the end.

Lewton Bus moment: David's co-worker, who in the previous scene talked about staying up late to watch Cat People, only went and did a Lewton Bus on David!

Tonight: Might give The Innocents (1961) a go. If I have time, and to follow this horror-documentary tangent, I'd also like to watch The Nightmare (2015) (from the makers of Room 237).