Agustí Villaronga has handed away, and now that he’s remembered for being well-known for his indirect glances on the Spanish Civil Conflict, it’s value reviewing his first stage, when he was a terrific style director, after breaking into the large ‘Behind the Glass’ ‘ (1986) and the Crowlerian ‘the kid of the moon‘ (1989) and taking a protracted break of virtually a decade, lastly launched his third characteristic movie, essentially the most brazenly horror, that may be present in Flix Olé, the too-forgotten ‘99.9: the frequency of terror’.
Relying rather more on suggestion and environment than on debut, this sort of, at instances, precursor to the discovered footage format which might sweep the horror style a few years later, is a haunting little movie that sits awkwardly between the traditional period of Eurohorror and the Spanish horror renaissance, with a supernatural wave within the ’90s that kicked off ‘The Moon’. negra’ (1990), continued with Álex de la Iglesia and consolidated with shipwrecked titles equivalent to ‘Reminiscences of the Fallen Angel’ (1997) and this one.
Though this was not precisely the identical satanic terror, he performed with it within the title ‘99.9’, which may play with the truth that the signal of the beast can also be inverted, however his intentions have been completely different. Truly, the film was initially going to be the pilot of a tv sequence that conveyed the spirit of the good success of the second‘X-Information’, to the good mysteries of the nation, which might have been starring the actress María Barranco, who would have been answerable for calling Villaronga to write down the script for the 13 episodes, the primary being ‘Los rostros de Jimena’ .
A pissed off Spanish ‘X-Information’
When the issue of discovering financing condemned the undertaking —who would move on a horror sequence directed by Villaronga?—, it was reworked into an enormous display premiere that may have images route of the well-known Javier Aguirresarobe (‘The Others’, The ‘Twilight’ Saga, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’) and the music by Javier Navarrete, who went on to earn an Oscar nomination for his rating for Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.” The script could be co-written with Lourdes Iglesias and Jesús Regueira.
‘99.9’ tells the story of Lara, who hosts a radio speak present that offers with paranormal phenomena and receives a package deal of fabric that informs her concerning the horrible demise of Víctor (Gustavo Salmerón), a homosexual man who was additionally the daddy of of his son. At that second, she begins to analyze how he was impaled, bare, on an iron gate of the cemetery within the city of Jimena, one thing that the authorities dominated out as an accident.
Lara manages to find that Víctor grew to become obsessive about the paranormal, significantly with the phenomenon of psychophany, the recording of the voices of the lifeless via digital means, and in his case, utilizing an untuned tv to channel voices from the afterlife, utilizing homeless drug addicts as drivers, since plainly these in altered states are usually extra fluid with the opposite world. The videotape they despatched him reveals a few of his experiments and a unadorned Victor, apparently simply minutes earlier than his mysterious demise, operating scared.
Cañí parapsychology of the 90s
Arriving on the town, Lara rents a room in a pension from the native sculptor Simón (Simón Andreu) and begins to analyze, with the assistance of the pension’s worker, Julia (Ruth Gabriel). It begins so the traditional rigidity with the locals who inform him to avoid city till he tracks down Dolores (Terele Pávez), a girl admitted to a psychological hospital, who reveals to him that 200 years earlier, French troopers murdered girls and kids who lived in Víctor’s home, when it was a brothel, and apparently it has been haunted. since then, with the spirits manifesting as faces on the partitions that appear to maneuver by themselves.
The central concept of the movie relies on the calls “faces of Bélmez”, a widely known supernatural phenomenon in Spain on the time. In 1971, in one of many homes on this small city in Jaén, pictures of faces began appearing and disappear on the cement flooring, which grew to become so fashionable that in Holy Week in 1972 a whole bunch of individuals got here to the home, in pilgrimages that lasted for greater than 30 years. Within the 90s, the paranormal was again in trend on tv.
The presence within the fashionable tradition of the second of characters like Tristanbaker, an enlightened parapsychologist that earlier than leaping from late night time to late night time he appeared on the Antena 3 information finishing up exorcisms that got as yet one more piece. Villaronga used this psychological substrate to create a narrative extra centered on rural horror and Spanish gothic, with lovers, tortured souls, witchcraft and secret experiments beneath the guise of a typical crime thriller in fashionable thriller on a display trapped within the shadow of ‘The silence of the lambs’.
Cosmic horror and paganism in full plateau
The presence of Maria Barrancomost well-known for her roles in Spanish comedies equivalent to ‘All males are the identical’, ‘Boca a boca’ or ‘Ladies on the verge of a nervous breakdown’ that gave reply to the one right here extra threatening than ever Terele Pavez, muse of Álex de la Iglesia. ‘99.9’ appeared solely a yr after the premiere of ‘Tesis’ by Amenábar, and like that one, its plot revolves round violence, evil and cameras, though the “epistolary” format to any extent further is extra associated to ‘Arrebato ‘ by Ivan Zulueta.
Though that half is only one extra piece in a sequence of lfrequent strains with the European terror of Pupi Avati and its spirals in direction of the unspeakable secrets and techniques of distant locations, particularly ‘Zeder’, however Villaronga applies a modernist sensibility that intersperses fashionable know-how and communication because the extension of supernatural transmissions that carry her nearer to the philosophy of cosmic horror of latest movies equivalent to ‘The Empty Man’, with the presence of psychophonies, blurred pictures within the static of the tv; and ideas such because the projection of altered states of consciousness.
Nevertheless, Villaronga has nearly little interest in the supernatural thriller itself, however in the psychology of a microcommunity and its secrets and techniques associated to that property, whereas the occult simply “occurs”, Because of this, he goes coldly via some components of historical past such because the recording of cemeteries, the desires of people who find themselves significantly delicate to these locations and the variety of VHS diaries which are a yr forward of the analog curses of ‘The Ring’ (1998) that they have been going to alter horror films eternally.
forward of its time
Regardless of all the things, putting the gaze on terror within the protagonist brings Lara nearer to different supernatural investigators that lasted a single episode, equivalent to ‘The Norliss Tapes’ or ‘Darkish Intruder’, and leaves the improbable concepts within the subject of suggestion, implying that the entities imprisoned in that home usually are not a lot spirits of the lifeless, however proto-creatures of the daybreak of life on earth, powerfully Lovecraftian concepts that increase right into a ultimate narrative that leaves honey on the lips.
‘99.9’ is a modest movie, generally minimalist in its staging, however on the identical time it was noticeable method forward of its time. Not solely was he one step forward of Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró who tailored Ramsey Campbell, however immediately he appears to suit completely into the folks horror movie cascade and the new horror fictions in emptied Spainfrom ’30 cash’ to ‘Cerdita’, in reality it was shot in Madrid, with exteriors in La Vereda, Guadalajara, with stone homes and a harsh surroundings not very completely different from that of ‘As Bestas’.
However as well as, Villaronga was brazenly coping with queerness, with a refined show of the approach to life and latent hostility in direction of foreigners and homosexuals, attaining a mix of native animosity and chronic occultism with the distinction of the massive metropolis in opposition to a small surroundings. neighborhood, which additionally moved with a conflict of the scientific or preternatural and superstition. ‘99.9’ is a murky and singular movie, with household rituals that replicate the relationships of ‘Hereditary’, the costumbrismo of women with black stockings and the witchcraft of ‘Venus’ and the lifelike method of ‘O Corpo Aberto’, slightly jewel that grows yearly.