Driving Miss Crazy | Offscreen
While neurotic personalities have been pervasive throughout film history, few capture the imagination as wildly as the offshoots of female psychosis. A favoured staple feature in genre films, the neurotic woman stars as a vicious harpy in both horror and exploitation and incarnates the paranoid, hysterical, obsessive and downright dangerous forces found in the thriller and the psychological drama. Our selection covers a vast array of films made from the 1940s onwards, the era where women fought for equal rights and freed themselves from the stifling bodice of a male centered society. The weaker sex? We beg to differ.
This extensive programme gets its inspiration from the book by the Canadian film curator (Fantastic Fest), journalist (Fangoria) and auteur Kier-La Janisse: “House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films” (Fab Press, 2012). She will provide an introduction for some of the films during the first festival weekend.
This British gem benefits from the Method-inspired acting of its female protagonist. An unbalanced woman who believes she's a medium, concocts a scheme by kidnapping a rich man’s daughter. While her weak-willed husband takes care of the dirty work, she offers her clairvoyant services to the girl’s parents…
Gamine fatale stirs up trouble in this sweet but sour sixties’ neo-noir. Ex-convict and pathological liar Dennis (Anthony Perkins) tries to string beautiful high school girl Sue Ann (Tuesday Weld) along in a make believe story of secret agents and spy missions. But Sue Ann has plans of her own…
Sean Connery falls head over heels for Tippi Hedren. The fact that she’s a compulsive kleptomaniac is just a side note to her charm. Hitchcock’s film belongs to both the crime and mystery genre and delves into a rich thematic array of sexual and psychological disorders.
A film that set the stage for the rest of Brian de Palma's career: full of references to Alfred Hitchcock, with an ominous soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann and inspired use of split screen. De Palma took a definite turn to the suspense genre after this macabre Freudian thriller on two murderous twin sisters.
Some girls go for swag, but May goes for body parts: her new beau has the perfect set of hands. He likes her because she’s weird. But how weird is 'too weird' when your girlfriend is a ruthless psychopath? “May” is both a horror film and the story of a girl who desperately wanted to belong.
Catholic schoolgirls Anne and Lore smoke cigarettes, read dirty magazines and rile up the local priest – all in the name of Satan. Their souls are irretrievably lost when seducing and butchering simpletons becomes part of their wicked ways. This disturbing but poetic film was blacklisted when it first came out.
Cult actress Zoë Lund as an avenging angel of death in Abel Ferrara’s revenge thriller that treads a fine line between arthouse and exploitation. After she is raped on two consecutive occasions, Thana makes it her mission to gun down any man that comes close. The streets of New York are dangerous ground!
When a surgeon is called in to perform brain surgery on a young woman (Elisabeth Taylor) undergoing psychiatric treatment, he digs into her case history and uncovers the horrible truth. A dark classic with a queer interest and base notes of prostitution and incest, based on a play by Tennessee Williams.
A social worker gets entangled with a twisted family whose only son is still in diapers. Kept under the thumbs of his domineering mother and malevolent sisters, twenty-year-old ‘Baby’ seems condemned to his cot. A striking finale tops off this deliciously perverse freak show that has to be seen to be believed.
Having recently been released from a psychiatric hospital, Jessica longs for a new beginning. She isolates herself in the countryside with her husband and a few friends. But is she safe from the aftermath of her mental illness? This chilling and unconventional ghost story doubles as an existential parable.
Jamie is the child of a broken home. She marries her well-meaning first love but is haunted by ghosts of the past. She turns to prostitution to act out her girlish fantasies with older men. A perverse Oedipal narrative that is sleazy but heartfelt and epitomizes exploitation at its finest.
In search of pleasure and excitement, Linda heads off to the big city. But these luxuries come at a price: addiction, prostitution and sexual abuse lie in wait. She casts off men and finds solace in the arms of a lesbian countess. Sex, drugs and psychedelic rock in this sexploitation film by Jess Franco.
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