La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In)

Horrornews is a discussion forum for true horror fans to discuss the more obscure areas of the horror/cult/exploitation film genre as well as current theatrical horror.

Moderator: Chris Slack

Post Reply
User avatar
Remo D
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.
Contact:

La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In)

Post by Remo D » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:23 pm

I finally caught up with the latest from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar thanks to its belated appearance at my local arthouse...

While I'm not completely fluent with Almodovar's filmography, I've seen a good sampling of his work, ranging from the mainstream-accepted WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN to the early NC-17 affair TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN!, lesser-known items such as WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS! and a nastily-effective 80s thriller known as MATADOR (starring Antonio Banderas).

Well, Banderas is now back in Almodovar's stable with another perverse shocker. He's Dr. Robert Ledgard, who has made a serious breakthrough in the creation of an artificial skin for burn victims--however, the ethics involved ensure that the medical community will never let him move forward with his discovery.

Why this obsession? Hmm... it has something to do with the beautiful, body-stockinged woman currently living with Robert. She (Elena Anaya) would appear to be his wife Vera, but according to the doctor, she burned to death in a car accident years previously. If she's Vera, why is she being concealed from the rest of the world? And if she's NOT Vera...?

The sexual/surgical/psycho drama then sets about filling in the blanks... rarely does it delve into out-and-out shock horror and gore, but the "creep" factor only gets worse as we come to realize just what has transpired.

Critics have been happy enough to describe the film as "Hitchcock meets Cronenberg," but while there are certainly recognizable elements from both directors at work here, my guess is that they've either never heard of Jess Franco or that they assume that none of their readers would recognize the name, because it's HIS name above all that belongs here. And if you think that's even slightly far-fetched, I recommend that you go back and look at the aforementioned MATADOR again and see just what our protagonist is watching at the very beginning of the film...

THE SKIN I LIVE IN is, naturally, quite well-acted, directed and photographed, but it's still less than entirely satisfying--one wishes that it had built up to a more forceful and cathartic ending. But the film is guaranteed to linger all the same and it's certainly one of the genre highlights of 2011.


User avatar
gothbat
Member
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In)

Post by gothbat » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Checked this out today and it started slow but once all the pieces started to fall into place I thought it was a really good movie. I hear you on the ending though, it was a lot less exciting than I was expecting. What exactly are you referring to when you mention Franco in your review?

User avatar
Remo D
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.
Contact:

Re: La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In)

Post by Remo D » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:03 am

Specifically, I was thinking of Franco's early sex/horror/surgery movies such as THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF and THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z... then in a more general sense I was noting that Almodovar is well aware of Franco's output--the opening of MATADOR has Banderas (again) obsessing over clips from (among other things) Franco's BLOODY MOON on TV.

The resulting film would have been significantly less elegant, but I can easily picture Franco pouncing on THE SKIN I LIVE IN and putting his spin on that story!

User avatar
gothbat
Member
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In)

Post by gothbat » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:08 pm

Remo D wrote:The resulting film would have been significantly less elegant, but I can easily picture Franco pouncing on THE SKIN I LIVE IN and putting his spin on that story!
Ah, I was thinking the same thing when I read your post and was hoping you were going to name some similar movie by him! When I mentioned the movie to a friend who hadn't heard of it and hasn't seen many Franco movies the first thing they said was that the cover made them think of a big budget version of Faceless; that and it's inspiration did come to mind early on in the movie too.


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest