Why are we so drawn to Mike Flanagan’s interpretation of horror? Is there something more than just ghost stories behind it? Here we explain it to you.
Horror is perhaps one of the film genres that more presence has had in the cinema since its inception. However, as everything in the industry has evolved, changing exponents and styles every so often. In terror it is felt even more, since the genre aims to reflect the fears and conflicts of society through the passage of time, being marked by historical events that define the direction of the genre.
The depth of terror itself has existed since the early 20th century, when movies like The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, They made use of resources such as strange figures, confusing shadows and sharp lines to generate fear in your audienceat the same time that they wanted their history to reflect the same terror which at that time produced the first World War in the world.
Later, monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummyamong other creatures whom Boris Carloff it would give life, they would turn horror movies into a gateway to the supernatural; not only criticizing the society from which they came, but opening a door to the unknown for the audiences.
Terror has lived through different stages, which mix both social elements such as supernatural propositions, but always seeing itself in constant change. Thus, for example, although in the decade of 1980 slasher horror intended to highlight the importance of “goodness and virtue” over any other quality, terrorizing the public about their own sexuality, in 2020 the genre has taken a 180° turn, celebrating sexuality and empowering to his characters through it.
In the same way, some creatures like vampires, witches, ghosts, among other mythical beings made to generate terror, they have been presented with new layers and features, making them a driver of much larger stories. Such is the case of the stories of mike flanaganwhose vision of terror and the supernatural has revived both to the classic side of the genrelike the most emotional part of this
The meaning of ghosts
Since Oculusdirector mike flanagan has made one thing clear: as simple as the story may seem, it always there is something bigger behind. And it is that although said film addresses the cursed objectsand specifically to the Mirrorsit is not the ghosts on the other side of it that produce terror, but the idea of not be in control because traumas generated in childhood and the way such events modify the human psyche.
As is, we could say that distantly Oculus shares traits with movies like jokerwhere the mental state of the character leads us through a path that might not be the true oneand where the psychic instability of the same is produced through the conflicts given when he was a child.
Although Oculus is perhaps one of Mike Flanagan’s weakest films, It’s a good start to what the director would later develop in future projects.
Perhaps where Flanagan gives himself more freedom to play with the ghost stories is through the series The Haunting of Hill House Y The Haunting of Bly Manorwhere the director makes use of fear to introduce us to the most human side of all and each of its characters.
In The Haunting of Bly Manorfor example, Flanagan defines ghosts as stories from the pastand memories that faded through time, creating an analogy with love and how he transforms into a ghost when a relationship ends. Bly Manor celebrates the loss and turns it into the central conflict of the story, because beyond the fact that its characters are chased by spirits that litter the floors at midnight, each and every one of them has to deal with death your way and overcome different events in their life that seem to haunt them all the time.
Similarly, The Haunting of Hill House uses his ghosts as a metaphor for the most human aspects of the Crain family: fear of commitment, overcoming addictions, losing control, lonelinessY be oblivious to each other despite being united by blood.
That is why The Haunting of Hill House manages to connect with his audience beyond the scares, appealing to their own emotions and experiences to empathize and bet on the characters. the family breakdown becomes the core of Hill House, and with it, the blame that members of the same family can feel when losing one of their own.
The ambiguity of religion
Mike Flanagan’s signature has been given through take a classic tale Y transform it into something that makes sense to the public. So then, the director has also been able to create other stories iInspired by myths and folklore from other places and even religions.
Such is the case of MidnightMasswhere instead of ghosts, Mike Flanagan proposes a horror story centered on the fear human towards death, the desire for miracles and the way that the world interprets strange events according to its context.
What could be a story of vampires terrorizing a town turns into a clever way to criticize religion and the way its extremists manipulate people through it: throughowning divine events to validate their beliefs and deny others.
It also plays with the concept of justify personal actions in the name of something greater, turning murders into sacrifices and every hunt into a way to serve a God that might or might not exist.
However, the most interesting thing about Midnight Mass is that mike flanagan does not portray religion completely negativelyas it defends the human need to desire for a superior being, which on its own is motivation and object of hope for several of its characters.
The Midnight Club
The first trailer for The Midnight Club, the next Netflix series under the leadership of Mike Flanagan, which in addition to being a horror story, will be the first show “young adult” from the director.
Based on the novel by Christopher Pikethe series will continue along 10 episodes to a group of boys, who are terminal patients of Rotterdam Home. The group meets at midnight to tell horror stories, making the promise that when one of them dies, the others will try to contact him through supernatural means.
The Midnight Club rescues one of Mike Flanagan’s favorite songs: fear of death and curiosity about the afterlife. However, it will be interesting to see it from a younger approach Y less experiencedcompared to other characters that the director has previously presented and who at some point they “make peace” with their fatal destinies.
We leave you here the trailer of The Midnight Club: