ByLea Weller BA PGcert, writer at
Horror is my forte
Lea Weller BA PGcert

With Films like The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) due for release this year I dug a little deeper and found this little gem that is also due to be released later in the year.

From Canadian writer and director Eric Falardeau we are brought Thanatamorphose (2012). In the French dictionary the word Thanatamorphose means “the visible changes after the death of an organism”; in other words the decay process the human body goes through post-mortem.

“One day, a girl wakes up and finds her flesh rotting… A strange and claustrophobic tale of sexuality, horror and body fluids… THANATAMORPHOSE."

A beautiful girl wakes up one day to find her body is rotting - literally falling to pieces. Being in an unhealthy relationship with both physical and mental abuse she seems to be dying on the outside as well as the inside; her detached state of mental health starts to manifest quite brutally through bodily bruising and a rash that spreads continuing with on-going decay of, in a sense, her ‘old life’.

The films examination of the id and the ego encompass frightening portrayals of love, sex and death and it pulls you into the story both emotionally and physically (with the squirming and tensing when watching beloved horror). Thanatamorphose is a full on assault on the audience with decomposing flesh and unsightly scenes; a splatter-gore hound’s ecstasy. In a review from The Conduit Speaks they state that Thanatamorphose is:

"An incredibly unsettling fantasy sheds more light on the woman's very real fears of being "consumed" by the men in her life and the loss of limb walks hand in horrible hand with her loss of self."

The protagonist wanders around like a corpse showing no life or interest in anything in her life. It isn’t until she starts to rot away that she starts to resemble a human being; living and breathing – with a pulse. Showing an ironic way of living life and feeling alive inside, Falardeau shows how she gets fulfilment from the old self rotting away and this is intentional and methodical. Not just a gore-hounds wet dream.

An image of a crack in the ceiling; slightly resembling a vagina symbolises and represents the evolution of the physical and psychological distress of the protagonist and her disintegration. Like the bruises and the rash – each new circumstance leaves a mark on the protagonist and the continued breakdown in the self continues to show throughout the film. Falardeau catapults body horror back into the horror genre limelight. Actress Kayden Rose is in a naked and vulnerable state throughout the film and shows raw emotion throughout truly becoming the narrative.

Falardeau’s film won Best Movie at 2012′s XXXI Festival de Cine de Terror de Molins de Rei in Spain and Best Special Makeup Effects at the A Night of Horror International Film Festival in Australia. Thanatamorphose will debut at San Diego’s Frequency Film Festival on Thursday, June 6th 2013. I eagerly await the release of this new edition the body horror archives and will be straight out to buy it as soon as it becomes available. The films powerful imagery will long haunt even the most hard-core horror fans. But will be well worth watching.

Other recent films that could be said to be similar in their intent towards the audience would be and ’s American Mary and ’s Human Centipede one, two and the upcoming The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence). With these new hard-core and original directors who like to live on the edge of censorship; we are sure to see a rising popularity in the horror genre. Not just for the gore but for the original representations of us as a society – our thoughts, our feelings, our desires whether repressed or not, horror shows the darkest corners of our minds and will continue to do so.


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