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‘Knife+Heart’ is Gritty Giallo with a Queer Twist



Knife+Heart aka Un couteau dans le coeur, a horror thriller from director Yann Gonzalez, is a film that will make you squirm, laugh out loud, cover your eyes, and sear images into your head that you’ll never be rid of…and that’s only in the first 15 minutes.

Set in 1979, the film tells the story of Anne (Vanessa Paradis), a lesbian in Paris who directs low-budget gay porn. Her lover, Lois (Kate Moran), who also edits her films, has left her because she can no longer deal with her alcoholism, and as the film opens, it’s clear that Anne will do anything to win Lois back.

When one of her stars is murdered in a particularly gruesome fashion, she, along with her gay best friend and sometime actor Archibald (Nicolas Maury), hatches a plan to win Lois back by creating her greatest film.

How, you ask?

By recreating the murder as only a 1970s French porn director could, of course!

Anne and Archibald Knife+Heart
Anne (Vanessa Paradis) and Archibald (Nicolas Maury) in Knife+Heart (Photo via IMDb)

If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because on the surface it is, but Gonzalez, who co-wrote the film along with Cristiano Mangione, never lets the film or its characters stray so far into that territory that he loses the fear factor.

What’s most stunning from Gonzalez and Knife+Heart, however, is the unflinching gaze of the directors lens.

The murders in the film, much like the films that most commonly fall under the heading of giallo, are almost operatic in their scope with enough blood and gore to make Argento and Bava stand up and cheer.

I don’t want to give away too much, but if you imagine the kind of damage one might inflict with a switchblade concealed inside a dildo, you’ll get a taste of what the film has in store for viewers.

Added to this is the fact that the film was actually “filmed” in 35 mm which only serves to bolster its sense of nostalgia. You won’t find clean, HD lines and coloring here. Rather, you’ll see gloriously faded, harshly lit, frenetically stylized reality set to a pulse-pounding score by M83.

Vanessa Paradis Knife+Heart
Vanessa Paradis is stunning as Anne in Knife+Heart. (Photo by Elle Herme via IMDB)

For her part, Paradis is brilliant in the role of Anne. Her desperation is palpable and the audience feels for her even when she makes horrible decisions. She unabashedly sets the tone for everyone else in the film with the freedom of her honest, raw performance.

Likewise, the men who play her porn actors attack their roles with abandon. Their scenes together speak to an incredible bond sexually and emotionally, and while Gonzalez never attempts to glorify the world in which they exist, he certainly shows that family comes in all shapes and sizes.

Which brings me to a final point, and a word of advice to my fellow queer audience members.

Knife+Heart, unlike the majority of films we see, is unashamedly, unabashedly queer with not one single straight couple in sight which is where Gonzalez and his crew completely diverge from their giallo forebears.

Knife+Heart Queer
Pierre Emo, Felix Maritaud, and Jeremy Benkemoun in Knife+Heart (Photo by Elle Herme via IMDb)

Borrowing elements from films like Cruising–the opening kill is almost a direct homage–he crafted Knife+Heart as an assault to the senses for more than one homophobic straight audience member, I’m certain, but there will also be elements to test the queer audience.

Our community was much different in 1979, more separated, and the focus often fell on sexuality rather than identify. This film reflects that time with a sort of hyper-honesty that will make us squirm for good reason.

It also reminds us of the things that have not changed, and the way that our own internalized homophobia that can rear its ugly head when we are around other members of our community.

It highlights, through exploitation, the often ugly hierarchy of power within the community and the premium we set on perfect bodies, perfect faces, and idealized masculinity and femininity.

In short, it is a film that is as thought-provoking as it is terrifying, as gritty and sexy and raw as it is beautiful. It is a transgressive queer masterpiece that will no doubt anger as many as it thrills.

Knife+Heart has release dates set for March 15, 2019 in New York and March 22, 2019 in Los Angeles with the promise of more screening dates to come. Check out the trailer below!


M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Knock at the Cabin’ Asks a Terrified Family to Stop the Apocalypse




M. Night Shyamalan’s next film is finally here. This is his first follow-up since his last film, Old. Knock at the Cabin is really mixing up the home invasion genre by giving the home invaders a possibly real reason for entering and terrorizing. Of course, just cause this group is asking the family to stop an apocalypse it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily true. This could be a figment of this group’s imagination. I’m sure the poor family being assaulted won’t know what the heck they are talking about.

The trailer sets up for a tense experience with a lot of mystery built up around the edges. We are hoping that the story sticks together and doesn’t go The Happening on us.

The synopsis for Knock at the Cabin goes like this:

While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. With limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.

Knock at the Cabin arrives in theaters beginning February 3.

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The Byer’s House From ‘Stranger Things’ is Now For Sale




This is where it all started in the world of Stranger Things. Will Byer’s home kicked off the season with the young boy’s disappearance and his mom Joyce’s steadfast search. Well if you are a huge Stranger Things fans and want to own part of pop culture history, now is your shot. The Byer’s home is now for sale! The home described as a “fixer-upper” is marked at $300 thousand and is attached to six acres of land.

That is a pretty hefty price tag for such a property. And yet, it isn’t as expensive as properties from other films and tv shows. Part of the reason for the slightly lower-end price point is in the house’s description. It turns out that this home needs a lot of work to get it to ship shape again.

The synopsis for Stranger Things went like this:

After the mysterious and sudden vanishing of a young boy, the people of a small town begin to uncover secrets of a government lab, portals to another world and sinister monsters. The boy’s mother (Joyce) desperately tries to find him, convinced he is in grave danger, while the police chief searches for answers.

If you want to check out the Stranger Things Byers house listing with full details head over HERE.

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‘Some Like it Rare’ Trailer Gets to the Meat of Horror




Some Like it Rare’s trailer proves that a cannibalistic horror film can also be a ton of fun. Watching two struggling butchers go for their dreams by way of murder is a lot of fun and while it is a French film, it could easily be compared the nature of the American dream.

The synopsis for Some Like it Rare is as follows:

Butchers Vincent and Sophie’s business is going under and their relationship is on the rocks. But their lives are changed forever when Vincent accidentally kills a vegan activist vandalizing their store. To get rid of the corpse, he butchers the body and Sophie accidentally sells the meat. Never has their product been more successful with their customers to the extent that they just might be tempted to kill again…

The film stars Fabrice Éboué, Marina Foïs, Jean-Francois Cayrey, Lisa Do Couto Texeira, Victor Meutelet, Stephane Soo Mongo, Virginie Hocq and Christophe Hondelatte.

Some Like it Rare is in select theaters on October 7 and on VOD beginning October 14.

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