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HMWYBS: Repulsion (1965) 

Not with a bang but with a whisper. That's the way Hit Me With Your Best Shot season ends this year. We didn't want to let our signature craft-loving series go... so we extended by a few random spaced-out episodes but as it turns out this series needs the weekly check-list reminder to keep the party hopping. So next season we'll return to our March-August madness only.

Happily, whispering feels appropriate when it comes to our final film this season: Repulsion (1965) in which Catherine Deneuve barely speaks because there's probably no room in her brain for words what with sex filling every metaphoric or literal (if you will) crack.

What would Roman Polanski make of the virginal Final Girl trope that took over the horror genre about a dozen years after his masterful trilogy of horror flicks wherein people lose their marbles (and possibly souls) in apartment buildings? (More...)

bronze. Carol hates cracks. We have to mend the cracks!

For Polanski, and one of the screen's most erotic movie stars, virginity isn't a life-saving character trait but a sickness... a perversion. Deneuve's Carol is terrified of sex, and physically repulsed when she's touched or kissed. Somewhere in her impenetrable near-constant catatonia we are forced to assume that she's deeply obsessed with it.

Enter the greatest tagline in movie history outside of Susan Hayward's oeuvre...

silver - we're supposed to be scared for her... but maybe she's what's scary. check this living corpse image

The nightmare world of a virgin's dreams becomes the screen's shocking reality!

I wasn't able to rewatch Repulsion in full because I thought I owned it (nope) and didn't want to subject myself to the fuzzy full YouTube version because the movie deserves better. So I selected three shots only from the movie's first 40 minutes so consider the gold/bronze/silver as mere warmups and appreciations of the film's rich visual prowess at conveying Carol's impenetrable headspace.

Like this moment where she's kissing her own hand and becomes distracted by her reflection - dysmorphic naturally, a great beauty uglified -- and considers kissing it before pulling away ashamed just as when a man tries to kiss her later. 

gold - Polanski literalizing Deneuve's autoeroticism as one of the great screen stars

The lighting by cinematographer Gilbert Taylor is so gloriously sharp and creepy. Gilbert Taylor would later shoot a tiny film called Star Wars (1977) but he was a master of creepy menace lensing the hit horror classic The Omen (1976) and working for three legendarily ominous auteurs: Polanski (Cul de Sac, Macbeth), Kubrick (Dr. Strangelove) and Alfred Hitchcock (Frenzy). The scariest thing about his career. He was never Oscar nominated despite so many classics. He didn't even win a BAFTA though he was twice nominated.

Other Shot Choices
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Film Mix Tape

Nobel Without a CauseDefiant SuccessSorta That GuyStranger Than MostMagnificent Obsession

We hope you enjoyed this season of "Best Shot: In case you missed any episodes it went like so (my votes for the Best Episodes this year are in bold): A Room with a ViewMad Max Fury RoadAngels in AmericaChicken Run[safe]MTV VMA Nominees, Sunset BlvdCrouching Tiger Hidden DragonThe Red ShoesMagic Mike Pt 1 & Magic Mike Pt 2AmadeusDick TracyOrson Welles - Readers ChoiceBright StarNine to FiveTaxi DriverJohnny GuitarMommie DearestYesterday Today and Tomorrow, The Quiet ManParis is Burning, and The Sound of Music

Will you play next year? Will you watch something creepy like Repulsion for Halloween? 


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Reader Comments (13)

A creepy masterpiece with a truly chilling fade out

October 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Ooh yay! SortaThatGuy and I picked the same! Tough call!

October 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

It's been a blast. My goal was to participate every week and I did that! Hope to do it again next year. Thanks Nat!

October 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Ryan T -- great job Ryan! I love the devotees.

October 30, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I should try to participate more next year. This is fun to do.

October 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

My pick:

October 31, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterca

What a gorgeously disturbing film. My only problem is deciding whose performance I like more: Catherine's or Mia's?

October 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

My take on that shot if anyone's interested

October 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Chris - OOPS. adding yours now. apologies for missing it.

October 31, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

LOL Nathaniel I didn't actually notice until late anyway because I was so tickled someone else picked the same one!

October 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Damn damn damn. I can't believe I missed the last one. Ah well, it was a blast following along all season, and great picks everybody!

October 31, 2015 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

Damn, was she perfection to look at!

Another messed-up Carol (see Safe.)

October 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

PS. Odd coincidence of timing this weekend:

October 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

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