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[Horror, probable spoilers] Midsommar

Agamemnon2

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That doesn't seem like a particularly edifying message in these times. "Fear the Other!"
 

Iozz-Sothoth

Cruel Angel's Viva Voce
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That doesn't seem like a particularly edifying message in these times. "Fear the Other!"
Horror in part is all about our reaction to Otherness, and at its best in this respect when it's about how the Other is us.
 

Agamemnon2

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I won't judge the film unseen on that front. I saw a lot of promo for it at the theater yesterday and was curious enough to read the synopsis, but I dont watch any horror films, ever.
 

Olof Jönsson

Tumto Lectis
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Being a Welsh or Gaelic speaker does not make you any kind of pagan survival, nor does the survival of Welsh or Gaelic imply anything about pagan survivals in remote places: that's just reproducing weird English stereotypes about minoritised language speakers. Please don't do that; it hasn't stopped being any more irritating than it was when Isle of the Mighty did it.

In fact everything you've said about the implausibility of pagan survivals in Sweden goes double for the UK. The Welsh were thoroughly Christian by the 6th century, any 'pagan' custom with apparent antiquity was probably made up by Iolo Morganwg while he was high on opium during the 18th century, and so on. Scottish Gaelic speakers tend to come from heavily Presbyterian regions of Scotland etc.

(Witch trials were mostly an English and Lowlands Scots thing, in part because for Gaelic speakers and the Welsh most things that'd be pinned on witches would be pinned on the Fair Folk, and partly because getting a local vicar or cunning-man to curse someone who'd wronged you was socially acceptable. See Ron Hutton's The Witch for more on this. Witch beliefs in the UK had bugger all to do with paganism, of course.)
Thanks, Iozz, I wanted to say something similar but I didn't have the relevant facts to hand. And good thing too, as I'd never have made it as elegantly as you.

Responding to other points: It's true that the cult in Wicker Man is explicitly a Victorian "revival". The age of the one in Midsommar isn't specified, but it's many generations if you believe what's said about their scriptures. So I suppose that does make Midsommar less plausible.

But the general argument that Scottish islands are a more plausible setting for pagan shenanigans than Sweden is just ridiculous.

But then, if Summerisle were full of Calvinists, I don't think you'd have much of a film.
...I wasn't saying the Wicker Man was more plausible, though (wait, was I? *checks above* Nope, not really). I was saying the premise for Midsommar was even more ridiculous. It's the word "even" you missed, I think. I literally said "Even The Wicker Man is more believable than the premise of this movie." That does not mean I think The Wicker Man is plausible. Quite the contrary.
 

Proteus

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...I wasn't saying the Wicker Man was more plausible, though (wait, was I? *checks above* Nope, not really). I was saying the premise for Midsommar was even more ridiculous. It's the word "even" you missed, I think. I literally said "Even The Wicker Man is more believable than the premise of this movie." That does not mean I think The Wicker Man is plausible. Quite the contrary.
Comparisons are inherently two-way. If Midsommar's premise is more ridiculous than the Wicker Man's, then the Wicker Man's premise is less ridiculous than Midsommar. Even if both are still ridiculous.

You made a specific claim about Scotland that you can't back up, citing facts about Sweden that fail to support your argument because each of them is equally true, or moreso, about the British Isles. You also used the survival of ancient languages as some kind of evidence to make pagan cults less ridiculous, which is basically repeating old historical slurs against non-English speakers in the British Isles.

I don't know why you'd expect a person raised in the Church of Scotland (me) not to take offence at your refusal to admit that you spoke on a subject you didn't understand very well.
 

moondog548

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I never saw or knew anything about Hereditary beyond "Very well regarded horror movie" and "starring Toni Collette". But the trailers I caught for Midsommar had me hooked on the intriguing out-of-the-box premise, and I'm always looking for something interesting in the horror genre even if it's not that great of a film.

So I was utterly BLOWN AWAY. I could not believe the sheer artistry in the film-making the entire time. There's little plot and that's enough; the characterization is thin, but it's not the point outside of our main character...

And HOLY SHIT the actress and her director do SO MUCH with Dani. Her grief and isolation (even before tragedy strikes) is obviously the hammered-upon point so not much else about her is fleshed out, but never-the-less that's an incredibly realistically rendered person that I just watched be broken and transformed by horrific ordeals.

And then all the show-don't-tell world building and stake-setting. For those people it's all real and it's all right. The core component of all the wacky and gruesome shit they do is EMPATHY. And everything that seemed shallow or awkward at first makes perfect gut-wrenching sense in retrospect.

And everything about this film was just so rich and had so many layers. It's fair to say that its ambition was narrow, and its subject ultimately very small (and in a sense even simple), but holy shit did it go DEEP into fleshing it out.

So I obviously need to see Hereditary (and Fighting With My Family!) asap!!!

This movie felt to me like I finally understand why Wicker Man and Rosemary's Baby are regarded as classics. In both of those the silliness utterly overwhelms the disturbing for me as a viewer. In this one they were PERFECTLY interwoven. I honestly feel like Aster might have made this JUST FOR ME, especially all the further commentary I hear from him about his goals.
 

Black Flag

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I don’t think the movie is suggesting that the commune is some kind of genuine pagan survival, which, let’s be honest, is ludicrous in any corner of Europe at this point. It’s pretty clearly a 19th-century-style utopian community, only where most are some flavor of Christian, this one happens to take inspiration from a circa Golden-Bough-era understanding of paganism. Just like Summerisle was explicitly a neopagan society.
 

Owesome

Social Justice Warmonger
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But then, if Summerisle were full of Calvinists, I don't think you'd have much of a film.
I dunno man, I find Calvinism to be deeply horrific on a metaphysical level. Oh, I'm sure modern day Calvinists are lovely, but there's some deep veins of horror to be mined from "God knows if you're bound for heaven or hell, ergo theres nothing in your nature which can change your fate."
 

Law Orc

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I dunno man, I find Calvinism to be deeply horrific on a metaphysical level. Oh, I'm sure modern day Calvinists are lovely, but there's some deep veins of horror to be mined from "God knows if you're bound for heaven or hell, ergo theres nothing in your nature which can change your fate."
We did have a really solid piece of Calvinist horror recently!


As for Midsommar, I will reproduce here what I said after seeing it. "Those were a bunch of really well directed scenes. It would have been cool if someone had made a movie out of them."
 

Uncle Claudius

Villain, villain, smiling damned villain.
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Actually, there's a thought.

You've got The Witch for Calvinist horror. The Exorcist for Catholic horror.


What does an Anglican horror film look like?
 
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