Last Updated: 04.44 AM, Jan 20, 2022
Hello! Welcome to another special podcast of List hai toh hit hai, I am your host Nikhil and this is OTTplay.
Mike Flanagan’s meteoric rise as the proverbial ‘father of horror' is a testament to his spine-chilling narratives that have altered the very essence of horror movies.
So here are some of Flanagan’s most compelling works that surpassed our expectations:
Flanagan’s debut film narrates the story of a pregnant woman (played by Courtney Bell) who grapples with the absence of her husband. But the film is also about the many creatures with dark motives that lurk surreptitiously over our daily lives. Absentia was crowdfunded via a Kickstarter campaign as Flanagan and co. could not cobble together enough funds to complete the film.
On its release, Flanagan was lauded by audiences and critics alike for elaborately exploring the human subconscious. The maker’s definitive approach to horror that leaves one with unsettling feeling went on to be his signature appeal in his following works.
Stephen King’s vision came to life with Flanagan’s adaptation of the 1992 suspense novel. The story revolves around a woman who has been handcuffed by her husband moments before he has a heart attack. Deserted by her loved ones and with literally no one to rescue her, she descends into a dark place where she’s fraught by memories of the abusive men in her life which include her husband and her father.
Flanagan plays out the female lead’s inner monologue with such gut-wrenching precision that one can actually vicariously realise her state of mind. In fact, her deepest fears are projected so vividly that one can’t help but empathise with her helpless situation.
Flanagan’s second feature, Oculus is considered by some as one of the most sophisticated horror movies of all time. But did you know that this supernatural thriller is actually based on a short film Flanagan made as a student? The concepts of reality and illusion have forever been the crux of Flanagan’s narrative. And here, the source of evil (which happens to be trapped in a mirror) doesn’t claim its victims but alters their perception of reality. Flanagan renders a paralysing effect through his style of storytelling. While some of the tropes may seem obvious, what he achieves through Oculus has literally elevated the genre and inspired many filmmakers to experiment with form and style.
The Haunting of Hill House
Arguably his best work, Flanagan’s Netflix series is a modern retelling of Shirley Jackson’s chilling novel. From the plot, character development to dialogues, every aspect of the series was pitch-perfect. Much like Oculus, The Haunting of Hill House left much to the audience’s imagination. Each episode in the limited series was developed for a purpose. Flanagan managed to convince us through this series that horror can easily be delivered in a story when there is a lack of love, companionship and when one is fraught by a sense of isolation. The show was such a hit that Netflix was compelled to greenlight the second series titled The Haunting of Bly Manor that went into production soon after.
Ouija: The Origin of Evil
Mike Flanagan’s 2016 attempt at correcting its 2014 predecessor was a hit. Ouija: The Origin of Evil rejigged the initial film’s inconsistent pace, and scattered character development. The film evoked both love for the genre and an acute fear of the unknown.
Flanagan introduced a humane aspect into the narrative and created a story about how spirits pine for worldly connections. The film was appreciated by critics and audiences alike. Most hailed it for its high relatability quotient as it felt more nuanced than the 2014 version.
One of the most loved horror series of 2021, Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass has got the nod from critics and fans alike. The seven-part series, streaming on Netflix, revolves around a man who returns to his hometown years after his involvement in a drunk-driving incident that continues to haunt him. Simultaneously, a mysterious priest makes his entry into the same town. Much like Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass combines elements of horror with biblical references and also alters our concepts of death and grief. It is also a cautionary tale in the post-pandemic world, as evidenced by the show’s allegorical references to the pandemic throughout. Flanagan has revealed that Midnight Mass was his passion project, influenced by his own childhood years spent at the Catholic Church, and his subsequent decision to embrace atheism. The series stars Zach Gilford, Kate Siegel, Hamish Linklater, Samantha Sloyan, Rahul Kohli and Henry Thomas.
That's a wrap for today's special theme-based podcast List hai toh hit hai, I shall be back with another podcast from the world of movies and entertainment. This is your host Nikhil signing off for now!
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