‘Mandy’: An ’80s Revenge Horror Soaked in Colours Graded to Their Most Vivid Limits – 《曼蒂》:一部80年代复仇恐怖片,被颜色浸透到最鲜艳的极限。

If Mandy – the new film by Italian-Canadian director Panos Cosmatos, released in the UK this month – had been made in the 1960s, it might have been categorized as bikesploitation on account of The Black Skulls, a demonic motorbike gang who stalk the California mountain forests where the film is set. The chainsaw-wielding weirdos in those mountains could have dragged the movie squealing like a pig into hicksploitation redneck horror, and the LSD that everyone appears to be either micro- or macro-dosing throughout certainly would have tripped Mandy into psychsploitation, too. The Children of the New Dawn, a murderous hippie-Christian cult in cahoots with The Black Skulls, might have given the film a godsploitation label, but the heavy metal aesthetic that kerrangs throughout Mandy takes it into glorious rocksploitation. All this before we’ve even gotten to the core theme of loss and retribution that makes it a gory revenge movie, a splatter that matters. Did I mention that The Black Skulls also like human flesh? So, if Cosmatos made this film in the 1960s, he’d have made a cannibalpsychbikerockgodhicksplattersploitation flick. And that doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Set in 1983, the film tells a simple story. A couple named Mandy and Red – painted with fragile subtlety by Andrea Riseborough, in contrast with grand guignol strokes from Nicolas Cage – live in romantic rural bliss. Red is a damaged but sensitive lumberjack who adores Mandy, a dreamy artist who spends her days working in a local store or at home drawing Roger Dean-style fantasy landscapes and reading sword-and-sorcery novels. Jeremiah (played by Linus Roache), the insecure and egomaniacal leader of The Children of the New Dawn cult, spots Mandy walking the forest roads and orders her kidnapping by The Black Skulls. Mandy is dosed with hallucinogens by the cult and is killed in front of Red. (Not before she manages to embarrass Jeremiah for failing to be a charismatic-enough messiah.) Red is consumed with anger and grief. He visits his friend Caruthers – action flick veteran Bill Duke – who tells him where to find the gang. Red forges a giant battleaxe with his bare hands (of course), kills the Black Skulls, then snorts all their cocaine and chugs their liquid LSD potion. He tracks down the Children of the New Dawn and exacts bloody revenge to a soundtrack of rib-rattlingly loud black metal.

Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

‘Mandy’: An ’80s Revenge Horror Soaked in Colours Graded to Their Most Vivid Limits - 《曼蒂》:一部80年代复仇恐怖片,被颜色浸透到最鲜艳的极限。

Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

Mandy does not sound like a particularly original nor intelligent film. The dialogue is sparse and functional, borderline cliche, used only when necessary to push the narrative along. The film’s power lies with the extraordinary visual language that Cosmatos and his director of photography, Benjamin Loeb, layer on top of the off-the-shelf narrative. Mandy is soaked in colours graded to their most vivid limits. Entire scenes are rendered chiaroscuro in rich scarlets and dense blacks, highlighted by streaks of blue and green. (The palette of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror film Suspiria appears to be an inspiration here.) Scenes look as if they have been filmed through multiple layers of glass that send prismatic rainbows across the picture plane. Focus shifts, drawing the eye to odd details or sending it upwards to vast night skies filled with technicolour auroras. The film is paced slowly, hypnotically, for its first half, allowing us to spend time with Red and Mandy as they watch television at home or enjoy the quiet of the woods. Cosmatos uses soft puddlings of colour, acid trails and blankets of shadow, as if the action is seen through sleepy, narcotized eyes. Their world looks beautiful, yet it is an excessive beauty on the edge of thickening and congealing, threatening to suffocate them. If you happened to be friends visiting the couple in their country hideaway, this is the point when you’d ask what time the next bus back to the city leaves, because soon enough, edits begin to cut across dialogue to give the audience the sense that their perception is being shifted by some sort of drug or external threat. As the idyllic corrodes into the nightmarish, Cosmatos pulls his vision into ultra-sharp relief, ditching the gauzy, soft-focus drift in favour of rendering the violence of Red’s brokenhearted rampage in crisp, pornographic detail. Cage’s performance crescendos and explodes. He screams and roars, gurns and grimaces like he’s hamming for his life, but rather than come off as bludgeoningly over-the-top, Cage’s performance sits comfortably within the hallucinatory and operatic mood of the film. The soundtrack works a similar path. Composed by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, thick-voiced and melancholy synths flood every scene during the first half, giving way to cavernous, metal-crunching power-chords for part two.

Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

‘Mandy’: An ’80s Revenge Horror Soaked in Colours Graded to Their Most Vivid Limits - 《曼蒂》:一部80年代复仇恐怖片,被颜色浸透到最鲜艳的极限。

Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

In interviews, Cosmatos has spoken about his desire to play with the machismo of his story and genre, to explore the male narcissism of Jeremiah and the violent grief of Red rather than use these archetypes uncritically. Yet it’s hard not to escape the fact of the brutal death suffered by the female lead, around which the film pivots. She goes down fighting – or rather, laughing at the size of Jeremiah’s manhood as he prances semi-naked around the cult’s flop-house – yet because Mandy is built from genre, it is also built from outdated attitudes carried by those genres. Here, Cosmatos does not go far enough in rethinking the male coding of the film, missing the opportunity to push into narrative territory that is more inventively in keeping with our own era’s attitudes than those of the period he plays with.

Which brings us to the 1980s. As with the director’s debut, Beyond the Black Rainbow – also set in 1983 – Mandy opens with the sound of a Ronald Reagan speech heralding a new era of prosperity for the USA. Despite being set in a specific year, the overall effect of Mandy is to take the audience to a wide, oceanic ‘80s, drifting to-and-fro across the decade. Intertitles break the film into chapters, using typefaces that run from quasi-medieval cursive to heavy metal gothic. Short animated sequences take Mandy on detours into Japanese anime, and fake TV ads – the fictional ‘Cheddar Goblin’ breakfast cereal – add to the trippy, artificial ’80s flavouring. Cosmatos nods to the most chilling moments in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) and Twin Peaks (1990–91), most notably in in his use of a gang-cult as a plot device. Linus Roache, brilliantly brittle as Jeremiah, with Olwen Fouéré, Ned Dennehy and Alexis Julemont amongst his followers, actors who use their own physical quirks to sinister-comedic effect. An expansive reading of Mandy might detect traces of the ’80s ‘Satanic Panic’, when subliminal demonic messages were allegedly discovered in heavy rock records and Dungeons & Dragons was blamed for teen suicides as part of the religious skirmishes with folk devils during the bigger Culture Wars unfolding across the US at the time. Swap out The Goonies and Stand By Me for video nasties, hair metal and Tipper Gore, and Mandy is Stranger Things for grown-ups.

Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

‘Mandy’: An ’80s Revenge Horror Soaked in Colours Graded to Their Most Vivid Limits - 《曼蒂》:一部80年代复仇恐怖片,被颜色浸透到最鲜艳的极限。

Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

The film plays with affect in ways not dissimilar to what David Keenan called ‘hynagogic pop’; a wave of US musicians in the late 2000s, including James Ferraro, Ariel Pink, Neon Indian and Toro y Moi, whose music evoked the moods of 1980s FM radio and half-remembered Hollywood synth soundtracks. With Mandy’s Black Sabbath t-shirts and Red’s rugged workwear, the couple look like Los Angeles hipster homesteaders from our present moment, playing artisanal house in the country. This 1980s is non-specific, it could be a story from then, but – because period style signifiers are today so flattened – it could be happening right now. Red and Mandy, terrorized by Jesus freaks and Trump-voting Hell’s Angels, their country led by a mentally-unstable Republican TV star. Same shit, different decade. A more historical although less obvious comparison might peg Mandy as a cousin of Alan Rudolph’s neo-noir Trouble in Mind (1985). Both films use a simple story – an innocent couple find their lives turned upside down by dark forces – but set the action in an indeterminate time and place, using multiple genre conventions to complicate the narrative. Trouble in Mind features 1940s soldiers and ’80s punks eating alongside each other in ’50s diners, in a city that could be Chicago, New York or Seattle. There are lots of rainy streets at night, and neon lights shining through Venetian blinds; an evocation of ’50s noir that’s as stylistically hazy as Mandy’s metal ’80s. The effect is delightfully slippery; it is hard to know exactly when or where the narrative is happening.

Mandy tells a ten-a-penny plot in a visual language unlike any other release this year. Cosmatos has made an arresting experiment in genre, or rather, in making a film so high on midnight movie genres that it stumbles out of the grindhouse and into the woods, only to wake up two days later wondering why it is drenched in blood, its trousers are missing, and it has in its hands a six-foot-long steel battleaxe covered in biker brains.

Main image: Panos Cosmatos, Mandy, 2018, film still. Courtesy: RLJE Films

Dan Fox

Dan Fox is the US Editor at Large of frieze magazine and is based in New York. The author of Pretentiousness: Why It Matters (2016), his latest book, Limbo (2018), is published by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Opinion /

Film
Opinion
Dan Fox
Panos Cosmatos
Mandy


如果《曼迪》这部由意大利裔加拿大导演帕诺斯·科斯马托斯本月在英国上映的新电影是在20世纪60年代拍摄的,那么它可能会被归类为《黑骷髅》,一个恶魔摩托车团伙,潜行在加利福尼亚的山林中,电影就是在那里拍摄的。S集。在那些山里那些挥舞着电锯的怪人会把电影像猪一样尖叫的拖进乡下人的恶作剧,而整个过程中每个人似乎都是微观或宏观剂量的LSD肯定也会把曼迪拖进心理探索的陷阱。《新黎明之子》,一个与《黑骷髅》合谋的凶残的嬉皮士和基督教的崇拜,也许给这部电影贴上了“神谕”的标签,但贯穿曼迪的重金属美学却把它带入了光荣的摇滚乐。所有这一切之前,我们甚至已经得到损失和报复的核心主题,使之成为血腥的复仇电影,飞溅的问题。我说过黑骷髅也喜欢人肉吗?所以,如果Cosmatos在20世纪60年代制作了这部电影,他就会制造出一个吃人鬼的电影。甚至还没有开始覆盖它。在1983,电影讲述了一个简单的故事。一对名叫曼迪和瑞德的夫妇用安德丽亚瑞斯波罗格描绘了脆弱的微妙,与尼古拉斯凯奇生活在浪漫的乡村幸福中的格格诺尔笔触形成鲜明对比。Red是一个被损坏但敏感的伐木工人,她崇拜曼迪,一个梦想成天的艺术家,她在当地的商店或家里工作,画Roger Dean风格的梦幻风景,读剑和巫术小说。耶利米(由莱纳斯·罗奇扮演),《新黎明之子》崇拜者的不安全和自私的领袖,发现曼迪走在林间小路上,命令黑骷髅绑架她。曼迪受邪教的迷幻药的影响,在红色前面被杀死。(就在她设法使耶利米难堪,因为她没有成为一个足够有魅力的救世主之前。)瑞德被愤怒和悲伤所吞噬。他拜访了他的朋友卡洛瑟斯-动作轻弹老兵比尔·杜克,他告诉他在哪里找到帮派。瑞德赤手空拳(当然)锻造了一把巨型战斧,杀死了黑骷髅,然后吸了一口可卡因,大口大口地喝着液体LSD药剂。他追踪《新黎明之子》,用刺耳的黑色金属敲响肋骨的原声,进行血腥的报复。Panos Cosmatos,曼迪,2018岁,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影‘Mandy’: An ’80s Revenge Horror Soaked in Colours Graded to Their Most Vivid Limits - 《曼蒂》:一部80年代复仇恐怖片,被颜色浸透到最鲜艳的极限。 PANOS科斯马托斯,曼迪,2018,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影曼迪听起来不像是一部特别原创的电影。对话是稀疏的和功能性的,边缘性陈词滥调,只有在必要的时候才能推动叙事。这部电影的力量在于科斯马托斯和他的摄影导演本杰明·勒布(Benjamin Loeb)所运用的非凡的视觉语言。曼迪被浸入了他们最生动的界限。整个场景在丰富的猩红色和浓密的黑色中呈现出明暗对照,蓝色和绿色条纹突出。(达里奥·阿金托1977年拍摄的恐怖片《苏皮里亚》的调色板在这里看来是一个灵感。)场景看起来像是通过多层玻璃拍摄的,这些玻璃在画面平面上发出棱镜般的彩虹。焦点转移,把目光投向奇怪的细节,或者把它向上发送到充满科技色彩极光的夜空。这部电影的前半部节奏缓慢,催眠,允许我们花时间和瑞德和曼迪呆在一起,他们在家看电视,或者享受森林的宁静。Cosmatos使用柔软的颜色水坑、酸性的痕迹和阴影毯子,好像通过昏昏欲睡、麻醉的眼睛看到动作一样。他们的世界看起来很美,但是太美了,快要凝固了,有窒息的危险。如果你碰巧是朋友在他们国家的隐蔽处拜访这对夫妇,这就是你要问下一班回到城市的公交车什么时候开的时候,因为很快,编辑开始横切对话,让观众感觉他们的看法正在发生某种转变。药物或外部威胁。随着田园诗的腐蚀进入梦魇,科斯马托斯把他的视野拉入超锐利的浮雕,抛弃了薄纱,软焦点漂移,以渲染红色破碎的暴力在脆,色情的细节。笼子的性能逐渐膨胀并爆炸。他尖叫着、咆哮着、狠狠地笑着,就像在锤打自己的生命,但是凯奇的表演并没有像打出拳头一样显得过于夸张,而是舒服地融入了电影的幻觉和歌剧情节。原声带的运作方式相似。由已故的约汉·约汉森创作的《大嗓门》和《忧郁的人物合成曲》在上半场中充斥着每一个场景,在第二部分中让位于海绵状的、金属质地嘎吱嘎吱作响的功率和弦。Panos Cosmatos,曼迪,2018岁,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影‘Mandy’: An ’80s Revenge Horror Soaked in Colours Graded to Their Most Vivid Limits - 《曼蒂》:一部80年代复仇恐怖片,被颜色浸透到最鲜艳的极限。 PANOS科斯马托斯,曼迪,2018,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影。在采访中,科斯马托斯谈到了他想发挥他的故事和流派的男子气概,探索耶利米的男性自恋和红色的暴力悲伤,而不是不加批判地使用这些原型。然而,很难摆脱女性主角遭受的残酷死亡的事实,这是电影的关键所在。当耶利米半裸着在邪教的废墟上蹦蹦跳跳时,她会低声地打架,或者更确切地说,嘲笑他的男子气概。然而,因为曼迪是由体裁塑造的,它也是由那些体裁所表现出来的过时的态度塑造的。在这里,科斯马托斯在重新思考这部电影的男性编码方面做得还不够,他错过了进入叙事领域的机会,而这个领域与我们这个时代的态度比他那个时代的态度更加富有创造性。这让我们回到了80年代。正如导演的首次登台演出《越过黑彩虹》——也是在1983年上映的——曼迪以罗纳德·里根的演讲声开场,里根的演讲预示着美国进入了一个繁荣的新时代。NCE到一个广泛的,海洋80年代,漂流来回十年。字幕将电影分成章节,使用从准中世纪草书到重金属哥特式的字体。动画短片将曼迪带入日本动画,假电视广告——虚构的“切达地精”早餐麦片——为令人毛骨悚然的、人造的80年代调味品增添了色彩。科斯马托斯向大卫·林奇的《蓝天鹅绒》(1986)和《双峰》(1990-91)中最令人毛骨悚然的时刻点头致意,最引人注目的是他利用帮派崇拜作为情节手段。莱纳斯·罗奇,作为耶利米非常脆弱,奥文·福雷、内德·丹尼希和亚历克西斯·朱利蒙特等他的追随者、演员他们用自己的身体怪癖去制造阴险的喜剧效果。大量阅读《曼迪》可能会发现“80年代‘撒旦恐慌’的痕迹,据称在厚重的岩石记录中发现了下意识的恶魔信息,而《地下城与龙》则被指责为青少年自杀,这是“大文化”时期与民间魔鬼的宗教冲突的一部分。那时,美国的战争正在展开。把Goonies换掉,站在我旁边看那些讨厌的视频,金属发型和Tipper Gore,而Mandy对于成年人来说就是陌生的东西。Panos Cosmatos,曼迪,2018岁,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影WPAP6024602IMG PANOS COSMATEOS,曼迪,2018,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影这部电影以与大卫·基南所谓的“催眠流行”完全不同的方式表现情感;20世纪末美国音乐家的浪潮,包括詹姆斯·费拉罗、阿里尔·平克、尼昂·印第安人和托罗·莫伊,他们的音乐唤起了20世纪80年代的调频广播和大厅的情绪。F-记得好莱坞合成音轨。曼迪的黑色安息日T恤衫和红色粗犷的工作服,这对夫妇看起来就像我们这个时代洛杉矶的潮人寄宿者,在乡村玩手工艺的房子。这个80年代并不具体,它可能是一个从那时开始的故事,但是——因为时段风格的意符今天变得如此扁平——它可能正在发生。瑞德和曼迪,被耶稣怪物和王牌投票的地狱天使吓坏了,他们的国家由一个精神不稳定的共和党电视明星领导。同样的狗屎,十年。一个更具历史意义,但不那么明显的比较可能会把曼迪比作艾伦·鲁道夫(Alan Rudolph)的新黑体小说《心灵的麻烦》(1985)的堂兄弟。两部电影都使用一个简单的故事——一对无辜的夫妇发现他们的生活被黑暗势力颠倒了——但是把动作设定在一个不确定的时间和地点,使用多种流派的惯例来使故事情节复杂化。《心灵的烦恼》讲述了20世纪40年代的士兵和80年代的朋克在芝加哥、纽约或西雅图等地50年代的餐馆里并排吃饭。夜里有许多雨街,霓虹灯透过威尼斯的百叶窗闪烁;一种50年代黑色的回忆,风格上和曼迪的80年代金属一样朦胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧胧。效果令人欣喜;很难确切地知道故事发生在何时何地。曼迪讲述了一个十便士的情节在视觉语言不同于任何其他版本今年。科斯马托斯在类型上做了一个引人注目的实验,或者更确切地说,在午夜电影类型上制作一部如此高潮的电影,以至于它跌跌撞撞地走出磨坊,走进树林,两天后才醒来,想知道它为什么被血淋,裤子没了,手里还拿着一个6英尺高的。OOT长钢战斧覆盖骑自行车的大脑。主要图像:PANOS CasMatOS,曼迪,2018,电影仍然。礼貌:RLJE电影公司丹·福克斯·丹·福克斯是美国畅销杂志的编辑,总部设在纽约。《前瞻性:为什么重要》(2016)的作者,他的新书《Limbo》(2018)由Fitzcarraldo Editions出版。意见/


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