May (Lucky McKee, 2002)

by

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Although May’s titular leading lady, played to chilling pitch-perfection by Angela Bettis, stands in the same pantheon as such deeply damaged cinematic girls as Carrie and Carol from Repulsion… the film is something altogether unique and engaging, a strange, unsettling concoction of tones and genres.  It starts out as an inky black comedy where we’re almost invited to laugh at Angela Bettis’ assortment of tics and issues both emotional and physical but as the movie edges into its gruesome final act (an ending long seen coming but still no less effective) the viewer’s assessment of May becomes a mélange of conflicting feelings…I’m not quite comfortable with the pity and sympathy I have for her, but they’re there all the same.  May is a girl who is too weird for the movie’s microcosm of society that ostensibly wallows in oddity and the macabre but understands the difference between appreciating it from a safe distance, and the horror being internalized.  Its heartbreaking to see May encouraged, embraced…”I LOVE weird!”, they all say… and then immediately turned out as a freak the moment that she thinks she’s finally made a profound connection.  But then again, they’re right.  May is scary as shit.

We’re first introduced to May as a child, alienated from the other kids because of her overbearing mother’s insistence on her wearing an eyepatch to cover up her lazy eye.  She is gifted with a friend, a creepy doll with sunken, forlorn eyes named Suzie, but forbidden to take Suzie out of her glass box.  “She’s special!” May’s mother insists.  May grows up to be quite the alluring beauty, obviously a kook at the onset and obsessed with people’s ‘pretty parts’ but keeps just enough of her thoughts and fancies and neuroses hidden within that she attracts attention both from a scruffy gent she falls for hard, and from her sexed-up lesbian co-worker (hilariously played by Anna Faris, whom I adore).  However, once it becomes apparent that May’s version of weird trumps theirs, she’s pushed away, and May’s fragile, tenuous grasp on sanity finally splinters like glass.  And then comes the final act, which I shan’t spoil.

The film is great fare for this countdown ticking to its conclusion, as the horrifying finale is set on Halloween night, but more importantly because it exists on the outside fringes of public cinematic consciousness (Poor Lucky McKee can’t really catch a break today).  It’s a highly enjoyable, blackly funny film but it leaves you with a dark sadness and sympathy for the poor demented girl who just wanted a friend, which is quite a feat.  Many horror films can scare you but not many can make you care.

Advertisements

One Response to “May (Lucky McKee, 2002)”

  1. J-LG Says:

    Nice to see your thoughts on the film! I loved this when I first saw it, but it’s been years since I’ve revisited it. Good job.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: