Ti Wests pearl Premiered at the 79th Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim. The prequel to West’s hit ’70s slasher X, pearl stars Mia Goth as the title character. I’ve already imported the older version X, Goth continues to show her versatility as a horror icon, delivering another compelling and captivating performance with even more bite. Rewarded for their persistence and dedication, Goth and West are getting their trilogy as A24 announced a third and seemingly final film in the series. MaXXXine.
It’s impressive and genuinely encouraging that a unique director like West is given the opportunity to direct a trilogy of his own. However, MaXXXineThe announcement of is more of a triumph for Mia Goth, whose performance almost single-handedly sustained the soon-to-be trilogy. With an expressive face and a unique gift for portraying determination disguised as naivety, Goth is a horror icon in the making. Out of marrowbone and A cure for wellness to suspiracy and pearl, Goth’s ability to play a horror leading lady is almost unparalleled. Her work is raw and honest, vulnerable yet intense, seductive yet somehow uncomfortable. Goth is the embodiment of the modern day horror icon, and she knows it.
The Screaming Queen has gone through many iterations. she was the Damsel in distress in the early days of horror before morphing into a cautionary tale as the genre evolved. In the ’70s and ’80s, at the height of the slasher craze, she became the ultimate paragon of virtue and eventually morphed into something else, a trope that constantly defied expectations. These days, directors, writers, and actors alike are beginning to find new sides to the Scream Queen label and refuse to narrow or downplay it. The Screaming Queen has more bite than ever and isn’t afraid to wear her fangs. Joined by other actresses like Anya Taylor-Joy, Samara Weaving, Jenna Ortega, Naomi Watts and the Farmiga sisters, Goth leads the Scream Queen revolution and proves there’s more to her than meets the eye.
Horror has been around since the birth of cinema. Due to its nature, the genre usually featured a female lead who became de facto prey to the story’s antagonist, be it a monster or a human killer. By Greta Schroeder in the 1922s Nosferatu to Julie Adams in the 1954s Creature from the Black Lagoon, the scream queen was ubiquitous in the genre. She usually played a reticent and weak character, completely at the monster’s mercy. Even if she showed more agency, like Gloria Stuart’s Flora in The Invisible Man or Evelyn Ankers’ Gwen in The wolf manShe was still no match for the monster.
As the genre evolved, so did the Scream Queen. Hitchcock allowed her to be more dynamic while remaining reserved about the main character of the story. The scream queen was often a companion, rarely the star. She supported the protagonist and acted as something he could lose, a kind of Achilles’ heel. While the main character had to be the hero, the Scream Queen could only settle for the sidekick role. Hitchcock’s scream queens – Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, Joan Fontaine, Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh – were always beautiful and glamorous, but the facades only hid the secrets inside. Hitchcock brought complexity to the horror leading lady and allowed the scream queen more freedom while remaining firmly in her corner.
The 70’s and 80’s brought a new concept of what a horror leading lady should be. While other genres embraced sexual experimentation, horror became surprisingly coy. The scream queen at her center, the last maiden, rejected the revolution and instead remained pure and virginal. Other women around them might be promiscuous or adventurous, but they all paid dearly for their curiosity. The last girl was almost prudish, and the slasher genre was her domain. Jamie Lee Curtis might just be the last girl, thanks to her now-iconic portrayal of Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s Halloween.
The film’s success spawned countless pale imitations, few of which could match the enduring angst of the original. Indeed, the late ’80s and early ’90s almost drove the slasher to self-implosion, seemingly stretching it beyond its breaking point. On the brink of irrelevance, the genre received a much-needed boost from Wes Craven’s subversive and ultra-meta 1996 masterpiece, Screama film that redefined the role of the scream queen.
With Sydney Prescott, the Scream Queen became an active participant in the story. No longer a victim of circumstance, the Scream Queen who played the Last Girl was now vivacious and capable, often standing up to the killer on her own terms. She still needed help and remained a bit prudish, but she was no longer an innocent wallflower. Characters like Buffy Summers and Sarah Bailey continued to explore the limits of the last girl, taking the scream queen to new and unprecedented heights.
The new millennium started with a slew of cheap horror remakes that didn’t advance the genre. The Scream Queen title was devalued somewhat as ’90s icons like Neve Campbell, Jennifer Tilly and Sarah Michelle Gellar ventured into other genres. In all honesty, the 2000s were a barren time for the Scream Queen camp, with few worthy additions to the line-up. Poor Danielle Harris, whose title was secured since childhood halloween 4 and 5She was among the only scream queens to work in the ’00s, carrying the brand almost single-handedly.
However, the 2010s brought interesting changes. Changing views and a crowd of risk-taking filmmakers meant Scream Queens could be more experimental than ever. Supernatural horror directed by Robert Eggers in 2015 The witch introduced nineteen-year-old Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin, an unnerving young girl and the first of many seminal female horror characters.
The modern scream queen is active and directly involved in her salvation. Brave but confused and frightened by the menace that stalks her, the modern Scream Queen embraces tradition but embraces change. She will scream and cry but not hide in dark corners, acknowledge the danger but face it head on, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Film and television have given us some incredibly compelling examples of actresses putting their heart, soul and a few vocal chords into their performances. Think Sara Paulson in American Horror StoryVera Farmiga in The incantation Series, Naomi Watts in Funny GamesTony Collette in HereditaryLupita Nyong’o in UsMia Wasikowska in heaterand Betty Gabriel in Go out.
These actresses continually deliver increasingly complex and modulated performances in a genre that doesn’t always allow for nuance. They bring a sense of legitimacy to their work, and therefore their films, and push the perceived boundaries of their genre. While the Scream Queen label once had a certain niche quality that kept it on the verge of mainstream recognition, today it is a label used to celebrate some of today’s best and hardest working actresses and their brave and genre- to describe defiant performances.
The idea of the female character as a monster is not new. The cinema played with it as early as the 1935s The Bride of Frankenstein featuring Elsa Lanchester’s iconic portrayal of the title character. movies like Dracula’s daughter, The Invisible Womanand She Wolf of London capitalized on the success of previous projects to deliver gendered versions of many of their established classics. The hagsploitation subgenre of the ’60s and ’70s took older movie icons from Hollywood’s Golden Age and vilified them for audiences’ perverted pleasures.
But the true and most revolutionary change for the horror leading lady came in the new millennium. The last few years have shown that filmmakers and actors are more willing to explore the darker side of The Last Girl and push her to the brink of darkness. In modern cinema, the queen does not scream in fear, but in anger.
It’s no surprise that today’s scream queen is equal parts hero and villain. A24’s best horror films are leading this trend midsummerby Florence Pugh, Hereditary‘s Toni Colette and lambis Naomi Rapace. Then there’s Mia Goth, whose roles in West’s trilogy are some of the best examples of this new trend. In as Maxine X, Goth is a heroine ready to explore the darkness without succumbing to it. As Pearl in the film of the same name, she is a sympathetic naïve whose journey of self-discovery takes a dark path. Goth understands the rage of the modern scream queen; She’s not innocent, but she’s resourceful and willing to get her hands as dirty as necessary. She is no longer in it to survive; she would like to to win. If that makes her a monster, so be it.
In hindsight, this change was a long time coming. For years, the Scream Queen played the wallflower, the ultimate victim of circumstance. Even when she had the power to bring down her enemies, like Sissy Spacek’s Carrie White, she was still a tragic figure and audiences still pitied her, even if it also feared her. But the modern scream queen commands respect. We don’t feel sorry for her, no matter how hard it gets; we know she will overcome the pain and adversity. Her means may be bloody, but she has earned the right to use them.
With pearl, West and Goth continue their quest to reimagine the role of the Scream Queen in cinema, and thank God for it. Embodying the horror genre, the Scream Queen is more powerful and terrifying than ever. Mess with her and find out. She’s scary and beautiful, fragile but capable, adorable and slightly spooky. The modern day scream queen could finish her film covered in blood from head to toe and smile for the camera, but she would still hold the audience’s heart. She can kill, maim and exact bloody vengeance on those who have wronged her, and we will still cheer her on. For so long, the Scream Queen was a tragic figure, and we rejoiced in her torment. Now is her time to fight back and she comes to kill.
You can watch X on major digital platforms, including Prime video. pearl opens in theaters nationwide on September 16.
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