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a blog from Eli the Bearded
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Clothing that kills


Sometime in the last year I watched Slaxx. I thought I wrote about it at the time somewhere, but I don't find it in my blog here, archives of Usenet posts, or archives of forum posts. More recently I watched In Fabric. Both movies feature an article of clothing that is cursed and kills the people who wear it. That's probably about where the similarities end, but I couldn't stop making mental comparisons to Slaxx while watching In Fabric.

Slaxx at imdb (2020 Canadian comedy horror)
In Fabric at imdb (2018 British horror comedy)

Slaxx is an obvious low budget production for younger audiences that like horror. There's a nightmarish retail store and the staff in it are the first victims of a pair of unisex trousers that look good but also thirst for blood. In this movie you can see a puppet pair of jeans dance to a Bollywood music tune.

In Fabric is an arty piece where a shop with low budget 1980s comercials lures people in to sell a very red size 36 dress that seems to fit anyone who tries it on, but they all end up dead shortly thereafter. In this movie you will see a mannequin with pubic hair and a bleeding gash.

There's probably no cast in Slaxx that you've heard of, while In Fabric has a number of people who have done things, even if they aren't huge stars. Gwendoline "Brienne of Tarth" Christie makes an appearance, does not wear the dress, but is near it and survives an attack.

The source of the curse is very clearly explained in Slaxx and it follows typical horror curse logic right at home in, say, Chucky (Child's Play). Slaxx also has as much psychological horror from the retail working conditions as it has threats to humans by the bloodthirsty pants. This aspect gives me a good idea of the target audience.

The source of the curse In Fabric is not clearly explained, and follows the hinted at horrors I associate with A24 Films, like say Heriditary. (I don't think A24 had anything to do with this, and this is further towards the "art house" end of the film spectrum than their works.) Everyone working at the store that sells the dress is supremely odd and you get the impression that the killer dress serves them in some sort of black magic sex way.

Slaxx overall rating of one Instagram influencer out of four. (Or two out of four if cheesey horror is your cheese.)

In Fabric: four hellish sewing machines out of eight. (Five or more if mannequins are your fetish. In that case, see also The Duke of Burgundy by the same director, which is much more erotic but the mannequins are more minor characters.)

The Green Knight


This a two hour ten minute retelling of the Arthur Extended Universe story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It's a slow and meditative movie, with several extended sequences lacking in dialog. Some of the lines that were spoken were hard to understand, so working well as silent film is a plus.

Without spoiling any of the story, let me recount a scene near the end. Having left the house of the mysterious Lord (most characters lack names) who played the game of exchanging winnings, Gawain makes his way to Green Chapel, arriving a day earlier than appointed time. He Sees the Green Knight sitting, eyes closed in a throne at the back of the broken down hall. Gawain places the axe down at the foot of the Knight and sits on the floor to wait. There's somewhere between two and five minutes of silent waiting, the camera lingering on the closed eyes of the Green Knight's face mixed with cuts to Gawain coming to terms with the fate ahead of him. This is used to show the passage of time until the next morning when the Green Knight awakens.

If you are stoned enough to find that deep or patient enough to tollerate that sort of slow moving story, this is a pretty entertaining retelling of the legend. If you'll be checking your phone when nothing happens for a while, stay away.

I think it helps to already know the story, and it also helps to be willing to accept some changes to the story. There's a fox in this version, for example, that is not in the one I read.

A six day journey out of ten.

The Green Knight at imdb

Also get ready for a bunch of different ways to pronounce "Gawain".

His House


Wanting something to watch, I skimmed a list of best movies on Netflix (that page gets monthly updates). First the gothic horror Crimson Peak suggested itself, due to Guillermo del Toro directing. But the story was so-so and the actors never really disappeared into the roles (with one exception noted below), so it was meh overall.

Then I found a different sort of ghost story horror movie, His House.

Superficially this reminds me of American Gods: people moving to a new place bring with them the gods of their old location. Only in this case it's refugees bringing a malevolent spirit with them to the UK from South Sudan. This brings several forms of horror into play.

There's the low-level bureaucratic horror of seeking asylum in a western country, the more cruel horror (in flashbacks) of the violence they are fleeing, and the traditional horror movie evil spirit.

The three are seemlessly blended in this film, succeeding at making you care for the characters and worry about their welfare in the asylum system while also giving you ghosts and a witch to torrment and provide both visceral threats and existensial threats to the asylum process.

There's one actor who (dis)appears in both His House and Crimson Peak: Javier Botet. He's a dead spirit in Crimson Peak and the witch in His House. Botet is noted for playing monsters due to physical appearance, Wikipedia gives his height at 6"7' (a hair over 2m) and his weight at 123 lbs (56kg). This extremely tall and thin figure lends itself to playing inhuman creatures. The viewer in both of these films can't easily tell if it is puppetry, computer manipulation of the graphics, or a practical effect made possible by Botet's unusual figure.

Ten "rat" holes in the walls out of twelve.

His House at imdb

Wake in Fright


For a "lost" movie of Australia, this is surprisingly easy to watch:

Complete Wake in Fright on Youtube

Well, when I say "easy" I don't include how it might effect you.

The film was made in New South Wales, in the area The Road Warrior was filmed, directed by Ted Totcheff before he became known for Rambo. Some years after it's release it came to be considered a classic of Australian film, but the negative went missing. A bit over a decade ago a complete restoration was made from a good print and/or negatives found in a box labeled "For Destruction" — I've read different versions of the story there — for re-release and DVD. That restored version is what seems to be up on Youtube. There's a made-for-TV two episode "mini-series" remake that I have read about but not watched. The TV one is available on Amazon Prime presently.

My biggest gripe with this film is how an intelligent guy makes such a foolish bet about thirty minutes in, setting everything up for his predicament. The remake, I know, changes the reason he gets stuck without money in "The Yabba". A good and valid choice for the re-do, but otherwise I can't comment on the differences.

Wake in Fright opens with school teacher John Grant dismissing his one room schoolhouse in a desolate patch of the Outback for the Christmas break. John boards a train for the nearest city where he is to spend one night before flying to Sydney. The first half hour shows us how much John doesn't fit in with the locals in two-building Tiboonda or the city in Bundanyabba. We find out he's only teaching in that remote town because a financial obligation gives him no choice in posting.

Then John loses all of his money and the plot begins.

He dejectedly begins to try to find a way to earn some to be able to pay for a hotel, or better, his trip to Sydney. Instead he finds locals who are all too willing be friendly in sharing beer, food, beer, housing, beer, and a night hunting trip (with more beer). The hunt is neither simulated nor pretty.

The sun, the heat, the beer, the desolation, and the people begin to take a toll on John's well-being. It may well be the death of him.

Three XXX beer out of XXXX beer.

A word of warning: do not try to keep up drink for drink.