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...)
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...
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.
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
Click on the images for the articles from these fine blogs.
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 View, Mad Max Fury Road, Angels in America, Chicken Run, [safe], MTV VMA Nominees, Sunset Blvd, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Red Shoes, Magic Mike Pt 1 & Magic Mike Pt 2, Amadeus, Dick Tracy, Orson Welles - Readers Choice, Bright Star, Nine to Five, Taxi Driver, Johnny Guitar, Mommie Dearest, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, The Quiet Man, Paris is Burning, and The Sound of Music
Will you play next year? Will you watch something creepy like Repulsion for Halloween?