Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lord Of Tears (2013)

Several months ago, or perhaps longer as time goes by the timeline gets cloudy, I suffered a nightmare that seemed to stretch on for hours. I'm not sure how long it actually lasted, it could have been mere minutes but it felt like hours. The cause of my nightmare was a spider, seemingly a tarantula or a spider of similar size and hairiness being lowered on a string ever so slowly toward my face as I was bound helplessly to a table. The agonizingly slow place of the spider's descent brought a real life sweat to drench my body and the tossing and turning could have woken any other sleeper. The night terror culminated in the spider coming within mere millimeters of my eyes and I awoke with a single loud shriek and a gasp for air. This is exactly how I felt watching LORD OF TEARS.

James Findley has recently inherited his mother's estate, including his childhood home, one he left at a young age, the foreboding Baldurrock House in the Scottish highlands. Baldurrock House was the site of an early childhood tragedy that sent James into a state of insanity. Now a grown school teacher, James returns to the home to get closure on a chapter of his life that is so vague and distant, one his mother wished him to forget forever. Upon his arrival James meets a beautiful young woman named Eve who quickly befriends James and takes an interest in helping him discover his past. Eve is a traveled young woman, hailing from the southern United States and eventually destined for Paris, France.

As James spends time in the home he begins to have fleeting visions of madness and macabre with an elongated human form with a giant owl head and long and giant talons being perhaps the penultimate showing of terror. James' digging into his past reveals some sickeningly selfish and mad dances with old Pagan rituals that will bring James' past crashing into his present.

LORD OF TEARS is a film that can be described and summarized up and down and you will fail to experience it. In the ways that you know the stories of Dracula you haven't seen Hammer's Horror Of Dracula until you've seen Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing do it. You may know the story of LORD OF TEARS but until you see LORD OF TEARS you haven't experienced the overbearing sense of dread, the skill in which the actors portray their characters (including veteran actor David Schofield as the voice of The Owl Man), and the conscious decisions made by director Lawrie Brewster to give the film a feeling of earlier gothic horror films with simple stationary cameras, moody photography and leaving much of the horror to the mind, knowing his picture doesn't need an excessive amount of visual horror that would water down the true point of the film.

Screenwriter and composer Sarah Daly gives a skilled touch to the dialogue to keep things scary, yet classy and educated as to not bring the film into campy territory. The Owl Man's lines reminded me, in a way, of Pinhead from Hellraiser in that the things he was saying could easily come of as corny and over done had such a skilled hand (and skilled voice actor) not created them. Daly's score is largely a massive success in being unsettling and creepy, at times dissonant and ambient and when the time is right beautifully melodic. There is only a single instance of music that I felt a better choice could have been made, this is a minor personal qualm and by no means detracts from the scene at hand.

I could go on and on about LORD OF TEARS, in fact I WANT to go on and on, it is a beautifully scary film, in a style that has long since fallen out of vogue. A style that I love. It has a sense of class about it that many horror films, and more importantly their creators seem not to care about anymore. But I won't, this is something you should see for yourself. This is not shock value or gore for gore's sake. This is not faux this or faux that. This doesn't want to be something from day's gone by to be trendy. LORD OF TEARS is quite obviously a labor of love, not only from the Lawrie Brewster and Sarah Daly but from everyone that came on board to bring it to life. I feel that is a depressingly rare quality in film these days, even independent film. This was a group of people coming together to make a fucking fantastic horror film.


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