DEFYING DEATH IN THE HORROR FILM: Since at least Pet Sematary (1989), we’ve known it’s not a good idea to try to bring loved ones back from the dead. Indeed, this theme goes back still further. What was Frankenstein (1931), in the end, if not a warning about what happens when you raise the dead? But if horror is at bottom about the inevitability of death, it’s also about our efforts to defy that inevitability—efforts that are at the same time heroic and dangerously hubristic.
The release last week of The Other Side of the Door (2016), directed by Johannes Roberts, written by Roberts and Ernest Riera, and starring Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead, Colony) and Jeremy Sista (Six Feet Under, The Returned), is a dramatic manifestation of the fact that we’ll never get over (or around) the implacability of death.
Indeed, we can see the persistence of the human desire to overcome death in the fact that The Other Side of the Door is strikingly similar to another relatively recent horror film—Wake Wood (2009), which was directed by Arthur Keating and stars Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Eva Birthistle (The Children), and Timothy Spall (Harry Potter, Mr. Turner). Both films are worth watching, both in and of themselves and also because of what their similarities say about an enduring theme of horror. Read more