Is it ever possible to give up on wanting to know the truth? A young woman in a silver dress walks home as day breaks, after a night of clubbing and a moment of impersonal sex. Her walk, back to the parental home, is not a walk of shame. It’s a resolute march forward. A few moments later, she sets out, elegantly and conservatively dressed. Her mother thinks she is going to work, and worries she might be late. In a beautifully filmed moment, mother and daughter stand beside each other. They look so alike, but their quiet estrangement from each other is palpable.
Daphne is a rare treat of a film. Its raw immediacy and wit both delight and worry. Set in East London, close to the city’s centre and in an area where so many young people flock in order to live out something exciting, it follows a few moments in the life of a woman, still young enough to live fast – without risking a rapid middle-aged decline.
Magloire (Paul Hamy) is a man on a journey to nowhere, or more accurately, Nowhereland. He lives at night, on the run, stumbling onto a dying man and thence into the clutches of a menacing band of gangsters. His face looks innocent, but he is a pragmatic executioner. At first merely held hostage, he is soon an accomplice. A heist goes wrong. The gang, along with their molls, board a phantom cargo ship. They carry a heavy box, a troublesome legacy of their heist: enough polonium to, likely, destroy all of humanity.
In the empty, rock-strewn landscape of the New Mexico desert, a meteorite pierces through the cloudy sky. It hits the ground in billows of dust. Just where it has made impact, a treacly black ooze spreads over an abandoned magazine, absorbing its imagery. On the front cover, a picture of a famous adult entertainer, Julianna (Lauren Ashley Carter). Her hair is in long curls; she wears a negligé.
What better way to transcend harrowing guilt and grief, than to be immersed in a world of primal fear?
South London, City lights in the distance. The crepuscular gloom envelops a man felled by loss, drink and impending homelessness. Jimmy McCabe is losing his home as a number of Londoners now do, through building redevelopment schemes which gut neighbourhoods of their old communities. He has nowhere to go, and no loved ones. Yet this is a quietly exhilarating film, visually beautiful, and at times nerve-rackingly exciting.
There must be at least a hundred great horror films. Determining the top hundred is easy, the top five impossible. Rather than omit too many of the greats, and tempt film buffs and the undead into vengeful revolt, here’s instead five of the best. All prised from a seething mass of horror, and chosen because they tell the story of something very specific: that moment when dread arises out of the banal, and lingers, sticking to the skin like cold damp ectoplasm, for days and weeks. An overwhelming melancholy dread, inspired by loneliness, at times feared more than death.