25 Days Until Halloween, 2013: HEART OF MIDNIGHT (1988)


Today I’m only posting one movie, but it’s one that deserves it’s own day.

The videotape for HEART OF MIDNIGHT had one of those sleazy, fetishistic soft-core images so typical of the “erotic thriller” genre in the late eighties. Jennifer Jason Leigh poses with her low backed leather dress laced tight and seductively puffs on a cigarette. She’s never looked so fabulous. Beyond her is a hallway of identical doors angling to a vanishing point directly behind the loosely tied straps of her dress, as if all possible choices lead to their (her) undoing. It’s a subtle touch, and in keeping with the hidden complexity that lies behind the surface of the film.

Trauma, horror, insanity, and pain has a strange quality in that it’s so very hard to objectify. No words or images or “pain charts” (point to how badly it hurts) seem to adequately translate the subjective experience and, like grief, it struggles, trapped, unable to escape into the world where it can be communicated, diffused, shared. It circles round and round in the skull like a burrowing parasite and collects shreds of identity while it travels, up and down the spine, warping memory and personality; denying the luxury of a straightforward experience.

Horror in film and literature is our history of the attempt to let this demon go, out into the world, where it can be captured and hopefully vanquished. I say “hopefully” because there is always the possibility that the world might not be there any more or, in fact, never existed. There may be no arena within which we can kill our monsters, no anything “other”, just the monster itself, repeated in time and space ad infinitum: a Leviathan.

And that’s my preface to HEART OF MIDNIGHT.

I suppose I just could have said that it’s an expressionistic movie in which everything and everyone objectively represents the subjective psychological state of the main character.

OH…it’s also visually beautiful in that bizarre, seedy-neat ( a new word) jewel toned way that I remember the “alternative” culture of the late eighties being. I wish these fashions and colors and “ambiance” would come back instead of the crap that inevitably does…



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