Been savin’ this one for a rainy day:
Director Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 arthouse horror film, Possession, is a fail-safe litmus test. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you’ll drop this movie’s name in casual conversation only to be met with a sunny, uncomprehending stare, or “oh, you mean that Gwyneth Paltrow movie?” Far fewer and further between will be those times when you watch a slow-dawning, complex expression of kinship and mental anguish creep over a person’s face: “oh my god, the subway scene,” they’ll murmur, or “that poor ballerina…” or “remember the squid baby?”
While Zulawski’s vision of hysterical woman-as-monster isn’t quite on par with [edit: or rather, I should clarify, isn't quite as coherent as] Cronenberg, Polanski, or Lynch, some of the scenes are absolutely mind-blowing. This is an experimental film where a young woman’s intense anxiety and hormonal imbalance causes her –literally– to give birth to a Lovecraftian lover (designed by the dude who crafted E.T. ), with dire consequences. Demonizing like that just doesn’t happen every day! (Apparently, the film was inspired by Zulawski’s recent divorce. Go fig.)
Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill
In particular, spooky boho art school chicks really seem to bond over Possession. It’s like our Thelma & Louise. I’m pretty sure our fascination has to something to do with all of the unrestrained freakouts, blood, and tentacle sex. There’s just something strangely comforting about watching a cool, porcelain beauty break through the fourth wall and then break down, howling, in a puddle of bodily excretions. It’s like, no matter how psychotic I get when I’m ragging out, I know I haven’t hit rock bottom. Rock bottom is Isabelle Adjani in that subway tunnel in Possession.