It's been a busy end to the year. I haven't had much time to dedicate to the blog, but I have been keeping busy nevertheless. I wrote a couple of articles for Bitch Flick: the first was a longer and more in-depth analysis of Slumber Party Massacre (which I previously wrote about on this blog post), and the last piece was an ode to Tarantino and his women. I've also watched a lot of movies that I want to write about, and have found a lot of great stuff in the "bad girl" genre. I have some sort of fascination for stories about, or involving, evil and criminal women. I'm planning to start a series dedicated to bad girls in films. There are two movies I've seen recently that I want to start off with: Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques (1955) and Kim Ki-young's Hanyo (1960).
Les Diaboliques is a French movie about a wife and her husband's mistress teaming up to murder him, while Hanyo (also known as The Housemaid) is a South Korean thriller about an unstable young woman who is hired as a housemaid and ends up creating havoc in the household. There is, however, a similar between the movies, which is the idea of women "frenemies," or women teaming up and hating each other at the same time.
|Poster and screenshots of Les Diaboliques from here.|
I loved Les Diaboliques. It begins as a simple murder story with two intriguing female protagonists, but half-way through it becomes a different movie—a creepy thriller in which the wife, Christina, is haunted by her dead husband's ghost. It seems that it's not so much the murder that drives the story, but rather the strange friendship between the two women. Christina is very interesting, and although she's the most tame and meek out of the two women, she does have a dark side to her. Nicole is the typical blonde, femme-fatale bombshell, a hybrid between Betty Rizzo and Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct (and I wasn't surprised that the role was played by Sharon Stone in the 1996 American remake).
The relationship between the women is rather intriguing, if not strange. Nicole is having an affair with Christina's husband, which in the real world would make them enemies, but they team up to murder him and appear to be supportive of each other. Of course, the ending is a whole different movie in itself as well. But I won't spoil it.
Hanyo is the first and only movie I've seen by Ki-young, and one of the first things I noticed is that the world of the story is filled with no-good women. Every female character, no matter how innocent they appear, seem to have evil on their mind. To sum it up, Hanyo is a long and twisted tale about the dangers of having a attractive young housemaid who can easily tempt the man of the household. For a movie made in 1960, not to mention South Korea, the film was incredibly ahead of its time. The housemaid in the movie is a young and unstable woman played by the incredibly creepy and amazingly talented Eun-shim Lee, who seduces the husband and becomes increasingly clingy and jealous of him and his wife (basically the basis for Fatal Attraction, which came out two decades later). But events escalate dangerously and gruesomely, and even the innocent wife reveals an evil side. One of the interesting aspects of the story is the twisted relationship between the housemaid and the wife, who both hate each other but continue to live under the same roof. At one point they both "share" the husband, which the wife consents to. They're not exactly friends, but it would be too easy to label them enemies: both women have an unspoken mutual understanding that the husband "belongs" to them and is under their thumb.
I thoroughly enjoyed both movies. More bad girls will be on the way, but in the meantime, indulge your vixen-self with these bad mamas!