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H6 – Diary of a Serial Killer

220px-H6-_Diario_de_un_asesino

This is a super-stylish Spanish horror about a religious maniac ‘purifying’ the unworthy in a dimly-lit former brothel. Antonio Frau has just served a long prison sentence for killing his girlfriend in the heat of a dispute and, as it soon becomes clear, his time inside has not rehabilitated him. During his incarceration, Antonio has inherited The Pension Paraiso – a decrepit brothel – from an aunt, and he puts it to good use as his own  abode. He buys a new freezer immediately (clue). On an internet dating service, he meets and marries an innocent woman and is soon living on the straight and narrow, renovating the bordello to its former dismal glory.  But old habits die hard and Antonio also runs a little sideline in redemption in room H6…

Pension
Domestic bliss

H6 is an atmospheric masterpiece, bringing to life the faded glory of the old hostel-cum-brothel. The publicity branded it the Spanish answer to Hostel, but that doesn’t do it any favours. Hostel is a shallow plot with a simplistic message, relying on shocking gore to sell tickets. H6 is a thoughtful study of the mind – of a madman scarred by an imperfect childhood and of the dangers of religion. And it delivers the message subtly. There is gore, but much of it is implied rather than in your face.

Antonio
Antonio Frau

The psycho-sexual nature of H6 hooked me, as it resonates with the novel I am currently completing together with author Julia Kavan.  Only one thing puzzled me: someone tied to a table for a week would either be lying in their own excrement or would need some toilet solution. No answer is forthcoming.

Not even a crossed leg
Not even a crossed leg

Aside from the mysterious bowels, I highly recommend H6. It’s currently on Lovefilm (UK) streaming but only for a few more days.

DVD, Film, Horror

Livide – French and Tasty

Livide is a 2011 French supernatural horror film directed and written by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo.

Livide

Within a vast, desolate and slowly decaying mansion an ageing woman lies in a coma kept alive by a life support machine. Assigned to look after her (hey, this is the official blurb – she isn’t exactly ‘assigned to look after her’ but it spoils it not one jot), a young care worker named Lucy discovers that the old woman is Madame Jessel, previously a ballet teacher of some repute and rumored to have hidden great riches inside the house.

Livide 3

Determined to find the treasure, Lucy and two of her friends break in at night but uncover a darker secret that will throw them into a deadly labyrinth of supernatural hell.

This still is here especially for Julia Kavan
This still is here especially for Julia Kavan

I have to say the French continually turn out better films than food. Livide had some bad reviews – and good – but I enjoyed it. My sole criticism is that in some shots the lighting could have been better: dark is dark, we know, but watching a black screen makes it hard to follow the story. Cependant – 8.5/10