What begins as a dissertation on historical depictions of witches becomes dramatized in gory medieval detail. Christensen’s imagery is the origin of so many of our nightmares, but he also connects generations of women whom the state deemed monstrous and punished accordingly.
Shape-shifting vampires and magic earrings reveal the lurking horror in fairy tales and beauty in horror stories. A teenager navigates who to trust when her suitors, church, and family might betray her, in this alternately hedonistic and immaculate Czech oddity.
An iconic monster haunts a quiet village traumatized by the Spanish Civil War. After a screening of “Frankenstein,” a little girl becomes obsessed with the macabre, seeking an encounter with a real-life outcast. A reminder that great horror inspires not just fear but empathy.
A heroine to rival Jo March, Sybylla’s need for a full, artistic life clashes with family obligations, societal constraints, and a very dreamy Sam Neill on horseback. The actors fill Gillian Armstrong’s exquisitely composed shots with giddy lust and mischief.
THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM (dir. Margarethe von Trotta and Volker Schlöndorff, 1975, West Germany).
A housekeeper faces police detainment and libelous tabloids after sleeping with an accused terrorist. Directing with husband Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta unflinchingly depicts a woman confronting a savagely sanctimonious culture with defiance.