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Titicut Follies

Posted on September 25, 2015

Titicut Follies (1967) Review: When Horror is Real

Elizabeth

Note: I have opted not to include images in this review because of their potentially exploitative nature. Upon the film’s release, there was considerable debate as to the ethics of filming individuals incapable of giving their consent. It is a question worth considering and, as such, I will only be using the official film poster.

Unrated   |   1967  |   84 min   |   (USA)   |   Frederick Wiseman

Grade: A

Given my penchant for slasher horror, it isn’t often that I find myself cinematically provoked to squeamishness. But a recent viewing of Frederick Wiseman’s unflinching 1967 documentary Titicut Follies left me feeling downright nauseous. Much of that reaction is owed to the human indignities suffered by those shown in the film. Not for the faint of heart, this documentary examines life inside an American mental institution and lays bare the harsh realities that face mentally ill inhabitants of state funded facilities. With so many horror films being inspired by real life horror, I think an exploration of this documentary is useful in understanding why horror films can be so triggering.

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