‘Possession’ and the Fear of Reality Crumbling Beneath Our Feet (Review)
When I think about horror movies that resemble bad acid trips, a few pop into mind. Most of which aren’t considered “horror” in the traditional sense of the word. I’m talking Beyond the Black Rainbow, Enter the Void, Suspiria, pretty much anything by Lynch… you get the idea. But the grand wizard of them all in my opinion is 1981’s Possession, a film that I have been watching at least once a month since I saw it for the first time a few years ago.
That first viewing, whew! Let me tell you something about how fragile our minds are. I was surfing my usual web haunts for something new, something I had never seen before. Something twisted and surreal and, most importantly, scary.
I forget where I heard about Possession, probably Reddit. I was directed to a Youtube link, and there, like the black magic that is this age of iffy ‘intellectual rights,’ was the entire movie—free for anyone to enjoy or suffer through depending on their constitution. I promptly untangled my HDMI cable, rammed it in to my computer port (giggity), and relaxed on the couch with a beer and some reheated pizza.
Now, I thought that I was going to be getting a nice little movie about Isabelle Adjani getting possessed by some serpent-like entity (judging from the title, the cast, and the cover art), but holy hell was I wrong! One of the great things about going into a movie blind is that you increase the chances of having your mind blown.
The fact that I was a few beers in when I started the movie might have contributed to this, but I was thrown completely off guard within the first five minutes. Sam Neill is in an adversarial mood upon meeting his wife outside of a rundown apartment block that looks eerily like the Ludovico Medical Facility in A Clockwork Orange.
The first thing that threw me was the acting. It was theatrical, over the top, but full of passion. Every. Single. Moment. Was. Intense. As fuck! I had to let some light into my living room by pushing the blackout curtains to the side (I like to keep my hovel as dark as possible when it’s cinema time!).
Throughout the film, I kept having the nagging suspicion that my mundane reality was an illusion, and that I was living in some sort of bubble that would eventually pop and everyone that I encountered would be as full of verve and spite and life as the characters in Possession were. I know that sounds insane, but I have had the exact same feeling before—during terrible drug experiences.
I have looked upon friends that I have known my entire life and thought that they were aliens out to harvest my mind. I have come to conclusions regarding reality that made me question whether every single memory of mine was a fabrication.
To me, this is true Cosmic Horror. The stuff that really scares me. Losing my mind and my sense of reality. The thought that everything I know about the world is false, and that reality is hostile. Possession scared the utter crap out of me. Not just because of the tense atmosphere, amazing acting, and splendid creature effects, but because it portrays a world that is just slightly off-kilter; A heightened reality that resemble ours, but with something horrific writhing under the surface.
I completely doubt that this movie will have the same effect on you; but I can guarantee that it will, at the least, be a very disorienting experience. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I suggest finding the movie any way you can.
If you are ready for it…
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