Are horror's audience-baiting puzzles detracting from the plot?

the Guardian | 6/17/2019 | Steve Rose
mel4 (Posted by) Level 4


Looking to establish an evil horror cult? The first thing you will need is a good graphics department. It used to be that a trusty pentangle or inverted crucifix would do the trick, but in our branding-conscious age, horror movies must try harder. It seems no modern-day chiller is complete without its bespoke symbol, usually signifying an ancient secret society or some other form of unspeakable, but easily drawable, evil. Something that would look good on a T-shirt.

Recent history is garlanded with examples: The Blair Witch Project’s “stick man”; the similar design in Ben Wheatley’s Kill List. Sinister gave us the “Bughuul” symbol; Devil’s Due the Antichrist gateway; and 13 Ghosts a selection of “Black Zodiac” signs. This week, we’ve got Brightburn. This fusion of Superman and The Omen centres on a strangely powerful boy-who-fell-to-Earth called Brandon. He creates his own logo: a double diamond based on his initials. He’s so proud of it that he scribbles it in notebooks, on windows and at the scene of his crimes.

Glyphs - Midsommar - Ari - Aster - Follow-up

We will soon have more glyphs to glean in Midsommar, Ari Aster’s much-anticipated follow-up to Hereditary. Hereditary was already a classic example of what we might call “logo horror”. It made liberal use of a curlicued symbol that resembled an ornate wall-mounted coat-rack but was actually “the sigil of Paimon” – what else? – signifying demonic cult membership. Aster is at it again with Midsommar. Set in sunny Sweden, it looks like a Wicker Man-style jaunt into folk horror. Its chief symbol, a triangle with circles at its bottom corners, will be familiar to actual Swedes: it is a pagan fertility symbol, often found atop maypoles (not to be confused with the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter). And Midsommar’s trailers are chock-full of other mysterious runes and symbols, some Norse-looking, others possibly...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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