Suitable Flesh: A Modern Horror Film That Pays Tribute to 80s Horror and Brian De Palma Style

Suitable Flesh A Modern Horror Film That Pays Tribute to 80s Horror and Brian De Palma Style
Suitable Flesh: A Modern Horror Film That Pays Tribute to 80s Horror and Brian De Palma Style

What is Suitable Flesh and How Does It Adapt Lovecraft?

Suitable Flesh is a 2023 horror film based on the H.P. Lovecraft story "The Thing on the Doorstep", which was first published in 1937. The story is about a man named Daniel Upton, who kills his best friend Edward Derby, who has been possessed by the mind of an ancient sorcerer named Asenath Waite. The story is told from Upton's perspective, as he explains his actions to the police and reveals the horrifying truth behind Derby's fate.

The film adapts the story and updates it for a modern audience, by changing the setting, the characters, and the plot. The film is set in New York City, where Dr. Anna Upton (Heather Graham) is a successful psychiatrist who specializes in treating patients with dissociative identity disorder. She meets Edward Derby (Evan Peters), a young man who suffers from multiple personalities and claims to be haunted by his ex-wife Asenath Waite (Lena Headey), who he says is a witch who can swap bodies with him. Upton becomes fascinated by Derby's case and tries to help him, but soon discovers that he is telling the truth and that Asenath is after her body and soul.

The film also adds some twists and turns to the story, such as revealing that Upton is actually Asenath's daughter, who was separated from her at birth and adopted by another family. Upton learns that Asenath is part of a cult that worships an ancient god named Nyarlathotep, who can grant eternal life to his followers by transferring their minds to new bodies. Asenath wants to use Upton's body as a vessel for Nyarlathotep, who she believes is her true father. Upton must fight to save herself and Derby from Asenath's evil plan.

Suitable Flesh is a modern horror film that pays tribute to 80s horror films and Brian De Palma's style. It is a faithful adaptation of Lovecraft's story, but also a creative and original reinterpretation that explores themes such as identity, obsession, and madness. It is a film that will appeal to fans of Lovecraft, De Palma, and horror in general.

How Does Suitable Flesh Use De Palma's Techniques to Create Horror?

Suitable Flesh is heavily influenced by Brian De Palma, one of the most influential directors of the New Hollywood generation, known for his stylish and violent thrillers such as Carrie, Scarface, and The Untouchables. He was heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard, and often borrowed techniques and motifs from their films. Some of his signature elements include split screens, long takes, voyeurism, and unreliable narrators.

Split Screens: Split screens are a technique that divides the screen into two or more parts, showing different scenes or perspectives simultaneously. De Palma used split screens to create tension, suspense, and contrast, such as in Carrie, where he showed the prom massacre and the reactions of the audience at the same time. Suitable Flesh uses split screens to show the different personalities of Derby and Asenath, and how they affect each other and Upton. For example, in one scene, the screen is split into three parts, showing Upton talking to Derby in her office, Asenath watching them from a hidden camera in her apartment, and Nyarlathotep whispering to Asenath in her mind. The split screens create a sense of paranoia, confusion, and dread, as the viewer realizes that Upton is being manipulated and spied on by Asenath and her cult.

Long Takes: Long takes are a technique that involves filming a scene in a single, uninterrupted shot, without any cuts or edits. De Palma used long takes to create immersion, realism, and suspense, such as in The Untouchables, where he filmed the climactic shootout in the train station in a single, 3-minute shot. Suitable Flesh uses long takes to create horror, by showing the gruesome transformations and body swaps that occur in the film. For example, in one scene, the camera follows Upton as she walks into her bedroom, where she finds Derby lying on the bed, covered in blood. She approaches him, and he suddenly grabs her and kisses her, transferring his mind into her body. The camera then pans to the mirror, where we see Upton's face changing into Asenath's, while Derby's body falls to the floor, dead. The long take creates a sense of shock, disgust, and helplessness, as the viewer witnesses Upton's violation and loss of identity.

Unreliable Narrators: Unreliable narrators are a technique that involves having a narrator whose credibility or sanity is questionable, and whose version of events may not be accurate or truthful. De Palma used unreliable narrators to create mystery, ambiguity, and twist endings, such as in Dressed to Kill, where he revealed that the main character was suffering from a split personality disorder and was the killer all along. Suitable Flesh uses unreliable narrators to create horror, by having Upton and Derby as the main narrators of the film, who are both unreliable due to their mental instability and manipulation by Asenath. For example, in one scene, Upton narrates how she met Derby for the first time, and how they fell in love. However, later in the film, we learn that Upton's memory was altered by Asenath, who used her psychic powers to make Upton fall for Derby, so that she could get closer to her. The unreliable narrators create a sense of uncertainty, distrust, and betrayal, as the viewer questions the reality and motives of the characters.

Suitable Flesh is a modern horror film that pays tribute to 80s horror films and Brian De Palma's style. It uses De Palma's techniques, such as split screens, long takes, and unreliable narrators, to create horror and suspense. It is a film that will challenge, disturb, and entertain the viewers.

How Does Suitable Flesh Reference and Homage Other 80s Horror Films?

Suitable Flesh is a modern horror film that pays tribute to 80s horror films and Brian De Palma's style. It is not only inspired by Lovecraft and De Palma, but also by other 80s horror classics, such as The Thing, The Fly, and The Shining. It references and homages these films in various ways, such as by using similar themes, plots, characters, or visuals.

The Thing: The Thing is a 1982 horror film directed by John Carpenter, based on the 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr. The film is about a group of American researchers in Antarctica, who encounter a shape-shifting alien that can assimilate and imitate any living organism. The film is known for its paranoia, isolation, and gore, as well as its groundbreaking practical effects by Rob Bottin. Suitable Flesh references and homages The Thing by using a similar plot device of body swapping, where the characters are not sure who is who, and who is human or alien. The film also uses similar gore effects, such as showing the transformations and mutilations of the bodies, and the severed heads that grow legs and crawl away. The film also pays tribute to The Thing by having a scene where Upton and Derby watch the film on TV, and comment on how it relates to their situation.

The Fly: The Fly is a 1986 horror film directed by David Cronenberg, based on the 1957 short story of the same name by George Langelaan. The film is about a scientist named Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), who accidentally fuses his DNA with a fly, after a teleportation experiment goes wrong. The film is known for its body horror, romance, and tragedy, as well as its Academy Award-winning makeup effects by Chris Walas. Suitable Flesh references and homages The Fly by using a similar theme of scientific experimentation gone wrong, and the consequences of playing with nature. The film also uses similar body horror effects, such as showing the gradual deterioration and mutation of the characters, and the grotesque hybrids that result from the fusion. The film also pays tribute to The Fly by having a scene where Upton and Derby visit a museum of natural history, and see a display of insects, including a fly.

The Shining: The Shining is a 1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film is about a writer named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), who becomes the caretaker of a haunted hotel, where he slowly descends into madness and tries to kill his wife and son. The film is known for its psychological horror, symbolism, and ambiguity, as well as its iconic scenes and lines, such as "Here's Johnny!" and "Redrum". Suitable Flesh references and homages The Shining by using a similar theme of madness and obsession, and the influence of supernatural forces. The film also uses similar psychological horror effects, such as showing the hallucinations and delusions of the characters, and the hidden messages and clues that they find. The film also pays tribute to The Shining by having a scene where Upton and Derby stay at a hotel, where they see a painting of the Overlook Hotel, and hear a voice saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".

Suitable Flesh is a modern horror film that pays tribute to 80s horror films and Brian De Palma's style. It references and homages other 80s horror films, such as The Thing, The Fly, and The Shining, by using similar elements and paying respect to their legacy. It is a film that will delight and terrify the fans of 80s horror.

How Does Suitable Flesh Reflect the Social and Political Issues of the 2020s?

Suitable Flesh is a modern horror film that pays tribute to 80s horror films and Brian De Palma's style. It is not only a homage to the past, but also a commentary on the present. It reflects the social and political issues of the 2020s, such as the pandemic, the climate crisis, and the rise of populism. It uses these issues as a backdrop and a catalyst for the horror and the drama that unfold in the film.

The Pandemic: The pandemic is one of the most defining and devastating events of the 2020s, affecting millions of lives and livelihoods around the world. It has also exposed the fragility and inequality of the global health system, as well as the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. Suitable Flesh reflects the pandemic by showing how it affects the characters and the society in the film. For example, the film shows how the pandemic has created a sense of fear, isolation, and distrust among the people, as well as a demand for more online and remote services, such as telemedicine and e-learning. The film also shows how the pandemic has enabled the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories, such as the ones that Asenath and her cult use to manipulate and recruit people. The film also shows how the pandemic has inspired scientific innovation and experimentation, such as the ones that Upton and Derby conduct, but also the risks and ethical dilemmas that they entail.

The Climate Crisis: The climate crisis is one of the most urgent and existential threats of the 2020s, affecting the environment and the humanity in unprecedented ways. It has also sparked a global movement and a call for action, as well as a debate and a conflict over the causes and the solutions. Suitable Flesh reflects the climate crisis by showing how it affects the characters and the society in the film. For example, the film shows how the climate crisis has created a sense of urgency, anxiety, and despair among the people, as well as a need for more sustainable and resilient practices, such as renewable energy and urban farming. The film also shows how the climate crisis has triggered social and political unrest and violence, such as the ones that Asenath and her cult instigate and exploit. The film also shows how the climate crisis has challenged the human identity and relationship with nature, such as the ones that Upton and Derby experience, but also the possibilities and the dangers that they offer.

The Rise of Populism: The rise of populism is one of the most influential and controversial phenomena of the 2020s, affecting the democracy and the diversity of the world. It has also revealed the dissatisfaction and the polarization of the public opinion, as well as the power and the responsibility of the media and the technology. Suitable Flesh reflects the rise of populism by showing how it affects the characters and the society in the film. For example, the film shows how the rise of populism has created a sense of anger, frustration, and alienation among the people, as well as a demand for more charismatic and authoritarian leaders, such as Asenath and Nyarlathotep. The film also shows how the rise of populism has eroded the trust and the tolerance of the institutions and the minorities, such as the ones that Upton and Derby represent and defend. The film also shows how the rise of populism has exploited the emotions and the biases of the masses, such as the ones that Asenath and her cult manipulate and radicalize.

Suitable Flesh is a modern horror film that pays tribute to 80s horror films and Brian De Palma's style. It reflects the social and political issues of the 2020s, such as the pandemic, the climate crisis, and the rise of populism. It uses these issues as a source and a mirror of the horror and the drama that occur in the film.

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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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