The Sunday Scaries are upon us once again! Yes, as the weekend concludes, most of us feel an oncoming sense of anticipatory dread about the week ahead. Anxiety about work manifests itself into a feeling that’s known as the Sunday Scaries. However, we at Awards Radar are here to combat that, by taking back the name. Now, we want you think about a horror-centric piece on the site when you hear the term. So, let us continue on with another installment of the Awards Radar Sunday Scaries! This time around, we’re looking at one of the newest and most interesting horror franchises out there, which is soon to become a trilogy…
When I saw X (reviewed here in a previous Sunday Scaries piece) earlier in the year, I didn’t go in knowing that Ti West had the newest horror franchise on his hands. Lo and behold, he had secretly shot a prequel with star Mia Goth (pulling double duty in the first flick), which recently hit theaters. Pearl (reviewed here out of the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as another prior Sunday Scaries piece) is the origin story of Goth’s villainous character, which once you see X, you definitely want. Now, it turns out, there’s a sequel coming, centering on Goth’s young protagonist from X. Folks, get pumped for MaXXXine, because I am.
What makes X a cut above, at least for me, is how the non horror elements really work. You actually want to watch this ragtag film crew shoot a porn movie in period Texas. Goth’s two performances rightly got a lot of praise, but don’t sleep on how West invests you in every single character. You even have affection for them, all in the midst of porn being shot.
As I said in my review:
X is a great example of how you can honor the genre classics while still very much doing your own thing. Plus, in mixing horror with pornography, it’s a surprisingly deft showcase for how both types of filmmaking has an entrepreneurial and independent spirit. Writer/director Ti West knows his scary movies, but he also knows how to pay tribute while not just being a copycat. His affection meets with his strong storytelling to delivery arguably his most complete flick to date. West has made throwbacks before, but this is his best one yet.
Interestingly, Pearl centered even more on Goth’s acting, with some of the story not being quite as fascinating. Still, it showcased how Goth and West want to explore these characters in a different way than you’d initially expect. That’s a big reason why MaXXXine is so interesting to me. Sure, it’ll be at least horror-adjacent, but it’s also sure to be a character study.
As mentioned in my TIFF review:
Pearl was a highlight of TIFF’s Midnight Madness section and is one of the most interesting films in theaters this weekend. Especially if you liked X, it’s a must see, but even if you missed that flick, there’s plenty to offer here. As one of the more unique horror movies of the year, it definitely stands out. Bring on Maxxxine, I say!
Now with MaXXXine, they’re headed to the 80’s to follow our budding porn starlet as she tackles the Los Angeles film scene. Imagine if Pleasure allowed its protagonist to really take it out on the worst in the business? We likely won’t get anything that extreme here, but if it even approaches that, it’ll be a wild treat for genre fans, I know that for a fact.
We’ll see how it turns out, but I for one am excited. Goth and West are up to something special so far. X and Pearl have set the stage. Now, it’s just up to MaXXXine in order to complete one hell of a trilogy. From what we’ve seen, it would be silly to be agains this one…
Stay tuned for another Sunday Scaries installment next week!