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Martha Is Dead Dev Blog: Inspirations

Hello again everyone and oh wow it’s February already!! Another week, another opportunity to tell you more about Martha Is Dead, this time Luca Dalcò takes you on a trip through some of the films that have influenced him in recent times!

This week I would like to talk about “sources of inspiration”.
I always find it difficult to answer this common question because I think that before talking about sources of inspiration one should always clarify what one means.

I would instinctively define a source of inspiration as an experience that moves sensations and emotions within us, which we then digest and, just as happens during the digestion, transform into nourishment for ourselves, into experience, thus becoming part of our experiential heritage.
In this sense everything is a source of inspiration, in the final analysis, our life is our source of inspiration. In my opinion, this is exactly the case! Our heritage of experience defines our sensitivity and, therefore, the way we express ourselves. Unless one decides to take a cue from something that does not belong to us and imitate it, in which case the meaning of inspiration is radically changed. This second conception does not belong to me.

I don’t think the first definition is better or nobler, I simply don’t consider myself capable of following this second path, which has given birth to many works of great beauty and perfection. I feel, or rather “we” feel, because I am convinced that it is a sensation shared by the whole team, that we are more comfortable coming to terms with ourselves, without having to respond to rules, symbols and consolidated facts that we often don’t even know.
From a certain point of view, I think that in this way it is easier to give original traits to one’s work, but it is certainly more difficult to manage to communicate with the same effectiveness and cleanliness. So, pros and cons.

Returning to the subject of sources of inspiration, I would like to limit myself to audiovisual and narrative products and in particular to the cinema, which is my main source. I am particularly fond of horror films. The kind of movies that use horror to tell a story and not just to frighten with jump scares.

I don’t like the overused Hollywood horror standards at all. When I read “4 friends decide to go and spend the weekend…” I honestly wonder how there is still someone who doesn’t react by thinking “Again? No way!” Many of my favourite films (and here subjectivity is absolute) are hard to find because they don’t run on the mainstream circuit and generally have little visibility.

This is the reason for this blog.

I hope to introduce a few titles to some of you who are fans of the genre. A few titles that you may have missed, submerged by the bombastic marketing campaigns of infinitely inferior products, at least from my point of view.

There would be so many, but I’ll try, as much as possible, to choose the lesser-known ones, the ones that critics often haven’t made an effort to give visibility to, because they don’t click and above all, the ones that aren’t older than me! I don’t like it when people praise the productions of 50 years ago and don’t even know about the many valuable contemporary works that are silently redefining and elevating the horror genre as never before.

Let’s start with this unreasoned list:

Ich seh, Ich seh, 2014, Austria, Severina Fiala, Veronika Franz

The main characters are twins… but that’s not why I loved it and watched it 3 times. It’s for the atmosphere that manages to be deeply disturbing from the beginning to the end of the movie.

Saint Maud 2019, UK, Rose Glass

Great psychological horror. Terminal illness, religion, mental illness. Difficult topics, handled masterfully by a young director who should definitely be followed.

Còrki dancingu (aka The Lure), 2015, Polland, Agnieszka Smoczynska

Visionary movie about mermaids. It is a peculiar and swinging product, at times questionable, at times sublime.

The Eyes of My Mother, 2016, USA, Nicolas Pesce

A black and white film, that, in my opinion, might as well not have been a black and white.

I find much to criticise, but, in the end, it is able to immerse, engage and develop empathy with the main character. Not a little!

November, 2017, Estonia, Rainer Sarnet

A work of art. Horror only belongs to it for short stretches, but the atmosphere of this film is incredible. This is a black and white movie that could only be black and white movie!

Hagazussa 2017 Austria Lukas Feigelfeld

Another movie where there is the equivalent atmosphere of 10 mainstream productions, each with 10 times the budget. It may be reminiscent of Robert Eggers’ far more celebrated “The Witch” (another wonderful film), but I found it deeper in the psychological analysis of the main character, so disturbing!

I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, 2016, Canada, Oz Perkins

A little Netflix original gem, the director had already proven his skills with “The Black Coat Daughter”, but this one! wow! The only potential problem is the deliberately slow pace. Better to know now!

Across the river, 2013, Italy, Lorenzo Bianchini

An Italian title, just one in this list… yes!  Even if I were to lengthen the list very few would appear. Unfortunately, I don’t like Italian cinema very much. I’d like to, I watch it, I try to, but I can’t! It’s a pain for me, a real pain. An exception is this film by Lorenzo Bianchini who, with a ridiculous budget, has produced a film of great atmosphere, a film that is really scary without making you jump off your chair. A rarity. Really a great one!

There you have it, quite a list right?!
Have you seen any of these films? Do you have any recommendations of your own?
You’ll be able to see exactly how these helped shape Martha Is Dead in… 23 days! That’s coming quick! Be sure to wishlist the game and share with your friends, it’s almost time for Tuscany….


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