How have you been? I don’t usually acknowledge my long absences but this time it was ridiculous. I’d like to blame the pandemic, or even the breast cancer I have been beating since 2018, but the truth is that I have been playing Animal Crossing all day every day since May 22 of 2020. I have two New Horizons islands and a New Leaf town. I’ve got it bad for Pietro, y’all.
Sometimes, my husband convinces me to turn off the Switch and watch a movie late at night and this was the case last night. We found out yesterday about the Arrow streaming service, which has ALL the best Italian and Japanese horror films plus a whole lot more, and we decided that everything we watch in August 2021 is going to be from the Arrow site, despite the fact that we also have subscriptions to Night Flight, Prime, Paramount+, Disney+, Britbox, Acorn, Shudder, and Philo. How do I find the time to play Animal Crossing?
Anyway, that pledge to watch nothing but the best horror for a whole month, plus the “whole lot more” aspect, inspired me to jump back into this blog. So, about Crystal Eyes. In 1985 in Buenos Aires, top model Alexis is burned alive on the catwalk during a fashion show. One year later, someone dressed as a mannequin is dispatching all her colleagues on the night of an Alexis tribute photo shoot. Everyone in the fashion community thinks it’s a curse or the ghost of Alexis, but who is it really? That’s the whole plot, but what a feast for the senses this movie is. I was mesmerized by it and I plan to watch it again.
Crystal Eyes draws comparisons to giallo, and Italian horror in general but it’s much campier than a giallo, and without the unnecessarily convoluted plot. Most fauxtro movies are a game of spot-the-reference; this is no exception, with the obvious Suspiria set designs (and a huge Bird With Crystal Plumage moment), Fulci character names, and a bit of both Death Spa and Killer Workout mashed in. Ooo, and I just realized the title may also refer to a pair of The Beyond style contact lenses worn by one of the Fulci type characters.
But the directors of Crystal Eyes have managed to do something most throwback movies don’t do, and that is take all those elements we love and make them into a new thing. Its own thing. I was really impressed with the hair and makeup, the kills, the sets, the over-the-top acting while not making this a comedy or a spoof, and of course, the synth music. The running theme of doppelgangers made me pretty happy as well, because they’re always intriguing. When in doubt, you can almost never go wrong with creepy twins in your movie.
If I had one critique it is that, despite the compact plot, I was never sure who caused Alexis’s death in the beginning. That part of the story didn’t crystallize for me, haw haw hee hee. Someone brought her a bouquet of chrysanthemums right before the show, which I thought was a threat seeing as how they are funeral flowers; however, even though they were supposed to be flowers from her brother, it could have been any of the colleagues/later victims. Everyone hated the girl. Not a critique, but I was also never sure if there was a supernatural element to the revenge killings or just a killer having a mental breakdown. That’s a good thing, if you don’t mind ambiguity, a theme I’ve discussed a million times here.
And that’s Crystal Eyes. I’m Erin, in case you don’t remember or haven’t been here before, and I’m going to be bringing you reviews of films on Arrow’s streaming service all month. Hopefully, I’ll get better at writing with practice. Going forward, I’m open to suggestions as to sources and themes. Happy haunting!