Letter from the Editor: Fright Night

Sahar Nooraei photographed by Carlos + Alyse.

From highbrow Criterion masterpieces to romantic comedies, there’s no film-genre I leave unturned. There is, however, a level of adoration I have for horror films that borders on obsession. Whether it’s jumping out of my seat, shouting, gasping, or being at a loss for words, the thrill of being shocked and provoked keeps me in constant pursuit of the next big fright. Favourites include (but, of course, are not limited to): Eyes Without a Face, Dead Alive, A Tale of Two Sisters, Goodnight Mommy, Let the Right One In, and The Leprechaun.

To date, only six horror films have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars—a shocking record given the volume of films released in the genre each year. Among them is Jordan Peele’s box-office hit Get Out, which ultimately lost to Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. That said, Peele’s much-deserved win for Best Original Screenplay signalled a change and, in many ways, reignited the genre, which had arguably lost its cinematic mojo.

Covering various themes such as extraterrestrial invasions, satanic cults, slavery, and racism, newcomers like Peele—along with Hereditary and Midsommar’s Ari Aster, and even actor-turned-director John Krasinski—have raised the bar for what constitutes a quality scare with their thought-provoking storylines and expert filmmaking.

Another auteur of horror garnering critical and mainstream attention is It’s Andy Muschietti. The Argentine-born director left audiences hysterical with the first volume in his spellbinding rendition of Stephen King’s 1,138-page novel, which went on to be one of the highest-grossing films of 2017.

Beyond the scenes of Pennywise, the evil clown that terrorizes the children of Derry, Stephen King’s book—and subsequently Muschietti’s cinematic adaptation—is a flawless example of how profound and poetic horror can be. At its core, It is the exploration of childhood trauma—how it overrides the lives of the children in the story and ultimately bands them together. It’s their shared experience of pain and fear that gives them the power to transcend their fears and silence the monstrous clown.

This fall, the story continues as the children of the “Losers’ Club,” now adults, reunite 27 years after their first confrontation with Pennywise. The heart and unifying soul of the pack remains the brave but fragile Beverly Marsh, now played by Jessica Chastain—indisputably one of our generation’s most accomplished thespians and, now, a horror star. In this issue, the American actress speaks candidly about her experience shooting IT Chapter Two, and how her production company, Freckle Films, is on a mission to instill real change with strong female-driven stories and an inspiring space for women to create across all aspects of film.