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Sight & Sound November 2020 issue

Out now, our November issue looks at 2020 through the apt prism of horror cinema. Our cover star Rose Glass talks about religion, terminal illness and self-harm in her breakthrough Saint Maud; Kim Newman weighs the year in horror and peers ahead at the impact of 2020 on horror; Ben Wheatley brings us back to Manderley in his new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca; 1960s horror icon Barbara Steele talks about death, dark fairytales and why she turned down Hammer; David Thomson considers the meaning and timing of Natalie Erika James’s terrifying debut feature Relic; and from our archives, Linda Ruth Williams explores the seminal impact on theatrical horror of Hitchcock’s classic shocker Psycho – released 60 years ago.

Plus: Garrett Bradley’s Time, Josephine Decker’s Shirley, Bassam Tariq’s Mogul Mowgli, found-footage horror, Venice in a time of plague, and cinemas’ own ongoing fright times…

Features

The gospel of Rose Glass

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Rose Glass on Saint Maud in the November 2020 issue of Sight & Sound

Saint Maud is a powerful psychological horror story tackling themes of religion, terminal illness and self-harm with a remarkably deft touch. Mike Williams meets its rising star writer-director Rose Glass to discuss the film’s ambitions and its significance in the world today.

+ Becoming Maud

Actor Morfydd Clark on creating Saint Maud’s title character.

+ The female horror renaissance: a watchlist

Co-founder of feminist horror collective The Final Girls Anna Bogutskaya picks ten recent films that point to a new wave of female directors who have bent rules, blurred lines and broadened our understanding of the scope of horror cinema.

Planet terror: the year in horror

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Our 2020 in horror feature

The past year has seen a series of real-life terrors of the kind ordinarily associated with horror cinema – from environmental disasters to the pandemic. But what has been the impact on horror itself? And if the genre is a mirror to the fears of its time, what can we expect from it in the post-Covid world? Kim Newman lifts the casket lid to investigate.

+ A house is not a home

Remi Weekes on his debut His House.

+ Streaming screams

Anton Bitel on Shudder and the online subscription revolution.

+ Your meeting is about to begin

Rob Savage invites you to his Zoom horror Host.

+ The psychedelic renaissance

The enduring influence of 1970s horror.

+ Beyond north America

Three international horror hotspots from the last decade.

Who’s afraid of fear?

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Our Relic feature

Natalie Erika James’s terrifying debut feature Relic sees three generations of women brought together following the disappearance of the grandmother, who has dementia. But what happens, asks David Thomson, when the genre metaphors of ‘Horror’ become diversions from real-life horrors?

+ “There’s heartbreak in someone losing themselves” 

Relic director Natalie Erika James on her love of gothic and Asian horror.

Tainted love

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Our Rebecca feature

With his new film, director Ben Wheatley – who made his name crafting uniquely twisted takes on Englishness offers an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic gothic romance Rebecca. He tells Christina Newland about his love of the author’s work, the necessity of side-stepping the Hitchcock film, and about going to Manderley again.

From the archive: Learning to scream

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Our archive Psycho feature

On its first release 60 years ago, Psycho shocked and terrorised audiences. But as Linda Ruth Williams’s fascinating piece from our December 1994 issue argues, Hitchcock’s classic also unleashed the thrilling, willing submission to sensations of fear and release that came to define the theatrical experience of horror cinema.

+ Scare tactics

A look at Psycho’s accompanying promotional film The Care and Handling of Psycho.

An angel for Satan

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Our Barbara Steele feature

Barbara Steele, an icon of 1960s horror cinema who went on to work with the likes of Federico Fellini and Louis Malle, talks to David Cairns and Daniel Riccuito about death, dark fairytales and why she turned down Hammer.

Regulars

Editorial

The fright stuff

Rushes

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Our Rushes section

In search of lost time

Garrett Bradley discusses her topical new documentary Time addressing the US prison epidemic and why her portrait focuses on those serving time on the outside.

Influences: riding the rap

Director Bassam Tariq picks five films that inspired his fiction debut Mogul Mowgli, from Robert Bresson to Anna Rose Holmer. By Naomi Obeng.

Soundings: pitch perfect

Musician Tamar-kali talks about exploring the outer limits of the human voice in her score for Josephine Decker’s Shirley.

Dream palaces: Electric Shadows, Canberra

Cate Shortland, the Australian director of Marvel’s Black Widow, now delayed until next year, reflects on her film education in cinemas.

Rising star: Maimouna Doucoure

Obituary: Diana Rigg, 1938-2020

Mighty from The Avengers to Game of Thrones, Diana Rigg was devoted to the art of acting, and herself inspired cult devotion. By Josephine Botting.

Festivals: Venice 2020 – some kind of wonderful

The first non-virtual major international film gathering since lockdown was the best of times amid the worst of times. By Jessica Kiang.

+ Six highlights of Venice 2020

By Jonathan Romney.

Rising star

White Riot’s Rubika Shah

The numbers: Covid and cinemas

As autumn arrives and cinemas are still struggling, hopes have been pinned on blockbusters to save the day. Enter a surprise outlier… By Charles Gant.

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Our Wide Angle section

Wide angle

Found footage horror: I wake up screaming

As more and more of our day-to-day activity is recorded, the possibilities of the fake-real horror movie are proliferating. By Kim Newman.

Primal screen: Maintaining silents

The pandemic may have put paid to silent film in the cinema, but fans are making sure that live screenings can still happen. By Bryony Dixon.

Profile: Stephen Broomer

Chemically and digitally transforming found footage, the Canadian filmmaker creates looping, hypnotic new works. By Ben Nicholson.

 

Reviews

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Our Reviews section

Film of the month

Host

A feat of socially distanced production-as-story, Rob Savage’s haunted housebound horror is the film for our logged-on moment – but its feelings are screen-deep.

Shirley

Elizabeth Moss captures the singularity of writer Shirley Jackson. Couples collide and imagination and reality blur in the manner of Jackson’s fiction in Josephine Decker’s intense psychodrama.

plus reviews of

Television of the month

plus reviews of

Home cinema features

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Our Home Cinema section

Play for Today Volume 1

Memorable plays, dazzling careers, bruising controversies – has any UK drama series had as much impact as Play for Today? Reviewed by Robert Hanks.

Rediscovery: Eve + Mademoiselle

Two monochrome classics of the high-60s transnational art film make ideal showcases for Jeanne Moreau’s electrifying presence. Reviewed by Kate Stables.

Lost and found: Pretty Polly

Shashi Kapoor and Hayley Mills make for an endearingly charming couple in Guy Green’s Singaporeset 1960s Noël Coward adaptation. By Phuong Le.

plus reviews of

  • After the Fox
  • Circus of Horrors
  • CzechMate: In Search of Jirí Menzel
  • The Guinea Pig
  • L’important c’est d’aimer
  • Ragtime
  • Toto the Hero

Books

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Our Books section

Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks by Adam Nayman (Abrams & Chronicle Books) reviewed by Tom Charity

Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press) reviewed by Pamela Hutchinson

Letters

  • Tenet, Memento and Christopher Nolan’s lost lessons in clarity
  • Myths of Charles Lindbergh
  • Linda Manz’s forgotten turn in Joseph’s Daughter (Mir reicht’s ich steig aus)
  • Unmentioned oddities on Eureka’s latest Buster Keaton Blu-ray box set
  • Diversity in British-set European horrors of the 1960s
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Our Endings section

Endings

Psycho

However clumsy the horror classic’s coda might appear today, it’s hard to believe Alfred Hitchcock didn’t have his tongue in his cheek all along. By Anne Billson.