Feminist horror had one hell of a year in 2016. And by “feminist horror,” we don’t mean the election of a truly terrifying Oompa Loompa or any of his terrible picks for a cabinet, we mean that horror movies with feminist themes seemed to dominate the cultural consciousness outside of a few outliers.
Though films like The Witch, Evolution, and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, it’s great to see a once-hostile genre being reclaimed by strong women. If you loved those, we highly recommend you go to the Brattle Theatre on Saturday to see Anna Biller’s 2016 throwback camp masterpiece The Love Witch, which has been criminally underseen in the few months since its release.
It’s one hell of a good time.
The Love Witch tells the story of Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a beautiful young woman looking to meet the person of her dreams. And, if it wasn’t already obvious from the title, she’s a fucking witch. So, she does what any young spell-caster would do in her place — use her magic and her potions to find her some suitors. When those fellows get a little too attached, some blood full of Y-chromosomes gets spilled.
Director Biller, who’s known for her previous throwback sex comedy Viva is on top of her game here. What’s truly notable about The Love Witch is its attention to period stylings and conventions — the special effects were done optically in-camera like they were back in the ’60s, and the lighting is just as harsh and vivid as it was back then. It looks like it should be sharing a bill with The Last Man on Earth or another Vincent Price classic on a Saturday morning. And it isn’t just empty style in service of a crappy narrative — it’s compelling series of contrasts is meant to illuminate criticisms in both its modern and old stylings. Plus, it’s just a joy to watch.
The Love Witch screens at the Brattle Theatre Saturday at 8:30 p.m., and if you can’t make it, it’ll be on your favorite Video on Demand service next week. Be warned, though: this is the kind of flick you should see with a crowd, and on the big screen. Miss out and be damned.