My Top 20 Scares of 2020: #7


What better way to spend Christmas Day alone during a pandemic than by watching Nicolas Cage in a phantasmagoria of psychedelic horror?

My #7 favorite movie of 2020 is:

#7. MANDY (2018)

Nic in only the first of several seismic meltdowns. (c) MANDY

Another stylish masterpiece whose literal only flaw is it’s trash representation of women. I’m planning a whole rant about this elsewhere, so I’ll just briefly note two irritating facts: 1) MANDY (2018) is named after a woman who dies in the first 30 minutes of the movie. Granted, her death is the motivation for Nicolas Cage to deliver the best performance of his life, but still: Fuck That. 2) The Alliance of Women Film Journalists nominated MANDY for an award in the category of “Most Egregious Age Difference Between the Lead and the Love Interest” at a whopping 20 years between Nic Cage and (stellar actress) Andrea Riseborough (related disturbing fact: it did not win).

The ends don’t justify the refrigerators entirely, but between Cage’s performance and director Panos Cosmatos’s marvelously bizarre directing, I was eventually coaxed out of my anger and fully into joy. I mean just look at this:

(c) MANDY 2018.

and this:

(c) MANDY 2018.

and this:

(c) MANDY 2018

Not to mention these title screens that divide the movie into little episodes:

(c) MANDY 2018.

And these wacky animated sequences/drug trips/dreams?

(c) MANDY 2018.

This movie is a 2-hour hallucination of violence and brutality (and love?) shaped less by actual narrative sense and more by the expert emotional swoops and dives of spiritual fighter pilot Nicolas Cage. It’s fun and it’s weird and it’s really freaking pretty. Just…go watch it.

How Did It Score
  • How scary was it? 2/5
    • I found myself scared before Mandy’s untimely demise, and not really scared thereafter. It’s a revenge story from then on, and Cage is not gonna lose.
  • How memorable was it? 5/5
  • Was it a Quality film? 5/5
    • Full points for 1) being gorgeous to look at, and 2) Nic Cage’s explosive grief in the orange bathroom, one of the most riveting things I’ve ever watched.
  • How about those women? 1/5
  • Bonus: 2
    • 1 point for penis sword (?!?!?). 1 point for Chainsaw fight.
  • Total points: 15/20

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Feminist Takes on Horror Films.

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