Agustí Villaronga has handed away, and now that he’s remembered for being well-known for his indirect glances on the Spanish Civil Battle, it’s value reviewing his first stage, when he was a terrific style director, after breaking into the super ‘Behind the Glass’ ‘ (1986) and the Crowlerian ‘the kid of the moon‘ (1989) and taking an extended break of virtually a decade, lastly launched his third characteristic movie, probably 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 ambiance than on debut, this form 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 ‘Recollections 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 had been completely different. Really, the film was initially going to be the pilot of a tv sequence that conveyed the spirit of the nice success of the second‘X-Information’, to the nice mysteries of the nation, which might have been starring the actress María Barranco, who would have been liable for calling Villaronga to write down the script for the 13 episodes, the primary being ‘Los rostros de Jimena’ .
A annoyed Spanish ‘X-Information’
When the problem of discovering financing condemned the venture —who would cross on a horror sequence directed by Villaronga?—, it was reworked into an enormous display screen premiere that will have images course 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 bundle of fabric that informs her concerning the horrible dying of Víctor (Gustavo Salmerón), a homosexual man who was additionally the daddy of of his son. At that second, she begins to research 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, notably with the phenomenon of psychophany, the recording of the voices of the useless 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 dying, 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 research, 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, photos of faces started to appear and disappear on the cement flooring, which grew to become so standard 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 style on tv.
The presence within the standard 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 another piece. Villaronga used this psychological substrate to create a narrative extra targeted on rural horror and Spanish gothic, with lovers, tortured souls, witchcraft and secret experiments beneath the guise of a typical crime thriller in standard thriller on a display screen 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 an excellent 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 any more 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 expertise and communication because the extension of supernatural transmissions that carry her nearer to the philosophy of cosmic horror of current movies equivalent to ‘The Empty Man’, with the presence of psychophonies, blurred photos within the static of the tv; and ideas such because the projection of altered states of consciousness.
Nevertheless, Villaronga has virtually 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”, For that reason, he goes coldly via some elements of historical past such because the recording of cemeteries, the desires of people who find themselves notably delicate to these locations and the variety of VHS diaries which might be a yr forward of the analog curses of ‘The Ring’ (1998) that they had been going to vary horror motion pictures without end.
forward of its time
Regardless of the whole lot, 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 implausible concepts within the subject of suggestion, implying that the entities imprisoned in that home are usually not a lot spirits of the useless, however proto-creatures of the daybreak of life on earth, powerfully Lovecraftian concepts that develop right into a remaining 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 manner forward of its time. Not solely was he one step forward of Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró who tailored Ramsey Campbell, however at present he appears to suit completely into the people horror movie cascade and the new horror fictions in emptied Spainfrom ’30 cash’ to ‘Cerdita’, in truth it was shot in Madrid, with exteriors in La Vereda, Guadalajara, with stone homes and a harsh setting not very completely different from that of ‘As Bestas’.
However as well as, Villaronga was brazenly coping with queerness, with a delicate show of the life-style and latent hostility in direction of foreigners and homosexuals, attaining a mix of native animosity and protracted occultism with the distinction of the massive metropolis in opposition to a small setting. 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 girls with black stockings and the witchcraft of ‘Venus’ and the sensible strategy of ‘O Corpo Aberto’, just a little jewel that grows yearly.