July 12th, 2009 05:28:00
Paul Solet’s debut feature (and Special Jury Prize for Best Feature Film at the Gérardmer Fantastic Film Festival 2009) deals with one of the most horrifying things a woman can experience - an in-utero stillbirth - and the emotional disintegration that often accompanies such an experience. "I found that to be just this beautiful little kernel of horror," recalled Solet in a Fangoria interview. "I mean, that’s body horror, that’s the real deal."
GRACE was produced by HATCHET’s Adam Green through a deal his company Ariescope had made with Anchor Bay. But While Green and fellow next-gen horror filmmaker Eli Roth (the latter in an unofficial capacity) were pivotal behind the scenes, the two are adamant that audiences not expect GRACE to be the type of tongue-in-cheek splatter film they are known for. Still, that didn’t stop two men from fainting at the Sundance premiere earlier this year. "It's really worth noting that they were not fainting because of gore," assured Solet in an interview with Shock Til You Drop. "They were fainting because of the subject matter because it's so uncomfortable, and that to me is the ultimate compliment."
Jordan Ladd (DEATH PROOF, CABIN FEVER) stars as Madeline, a beautiful yuppie princess who loses her husband and their unborn child in a car accident. She carries the dead baby to term and delivers it with the help of a midwife - only to have the baby miraculously return to life with an appetite for blood. Based on Solet’s own award-winning short film of the same name from 2006 (starring Gilmore Girls regular Liza Weil in the same role), GRACE recalls the baby-horror fever of the 1970s that accompanied the fallout from experimental pregnancy medication (such as thalidomide and diethylstilbestrol - also the inspiration for Cronenberg’s SCANNERS) and the rise of feminism - these two factors combined with the release of ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) were enough to have condom sales through the roof.
But ROSEMARY’S BABY isn’t the only Polanski film referenced by GRACE. REPULSION stands as a milestone in the history of women’s horror pictures, and offers a fitting comparison for Madeline’s gradual mental deterioration. Still, the GRACE team take care to make Madeline less overtly crazy than her counterpart in Polanski’s neurotic masterpiece, and these ‘everywoman’ qualities are perhaps what have prompted such extreme reactions to the film. After all, if you’re a woman - specifically a pregnant woman or a mother - you can’t help but be affected and disturbed by GRACE’s implications.
Although associated with early 70s cinema (the IT’S ALIVE trilogy (1974-1987), THE OMEN (1976), WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976), THE BROOD (1979), SHOCK (1977), and DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1974)), the fear of children never really went away (either in real life or in the movies). Even this year at Fantasia, the tot-terror subgenre is represented by three films: GRACE, ORPHAN and THE CHILDREN. But while the theme isn’t new, the proliferation of female horror fans is, and in that sense the films become topical on a whole new level.
- Kier-La Janisse
GRACE plays on Sunday July 12 at 7:20pm in the Hall Theatre with director Paul Solet in person, and again on Wednesday July 15th at 1:00pm in the Salle JA de Seve. For more info, including synopsis, images and trailers, see the film page HERE.
ORPHAN plays on Wednesday July 22 at 9:30pm in the Hall Theatre. For more info, including synopsis, images and trailers, see the film page HERE.
THE CHILDREN plays on Friday July 24 at 10:15pm in the Hall Theatre, and again on Monday July 27 at 7:30pm in the Salle JA De Seve. For more info, including synopsis, images and trailers, see the film page HERE.
FANTASIA PRESENTS :
The Fantasia Party Massacre I
GRACE AFTER-PARTY WITH DIRECTOR PAUL SOLET
The first of three FANTASIA FILM FEST parties at Saphir during the month of July!
Saphir & Fantasia host the after-party for Paul Solet's Sundance smash GRACE. GRACE Writer-Director Paul Solet will be present!
Come and dance all night to electro-rock, retro-pop, brit-pop, rock, glam, new wave, etc...
with DJ JOHNNYBONNYROCK + DJ MÉKANIK
It all happens at Club Saphir
3699 St-Laurent, Montréal
10pm Sunday, July 12th.
Cover is $4.
Admission is free for Fantasia Fest pass holders!