“Mirada de Cristal” (Crystal Eyes)was a film I stumbled across while looking for something else. “Eyes of Crystal” was the film that I had noted on my list, but what I found instead was a 2017 Argentinian neo-Giallo set in the stylish fashion world of 1985 with a glittery, gaudy telenovela spectacle feel. When I tell you that the first 10 minutes of the film were the best .99 cents I have ever spent in my life, I genuinely mean it.
Supermodel Alexis Carpenter was an asshole. We only meet her for a few minutes in the film’s opening scenes but we learn everything we need to know about her in a dressing room sequence before she is to appear on the runway; she’s vain and self-centered diva and most likely on a lot of drugs, maybe all the drugs; she’s rude, she’s nasty, she throws a cup of scalding hot espresso into a very nice makeup artist’s face. She then takes to the runway (which is sort of meant to be an alleyway but it feels a lot like the gloomy goth darkness of the opening club scene from The Hunger) and acts like a brat, swigging champagne and spitting it on the audience members, and then somehow she gets electrocuted, catches fire and goes up in a terrifying blaze, perishing spectacularly in front of the models, and guests and all the world.
One year later, as a new show is being organized to honor the late Alexis and her legacy on the anniversary of her death, someone dressed as a showroom dummy is killing everyone associated with Alexis, one after the other. The sets and cinematography and costumes are marvelous. Even that ridiculous home that the magazine editor/fashion designer lives in! It looked like a doll’s house! I think it WAS a doll’s house! And although we don’t get to know all of the characters very well, they still seem fairly fleshed out in a way that we actually do know them a bit, or at least enough. The rest of the story is thin and there’s not much of a plot but with a film like this, who cares? I would have recommended this wholeheartedly before I even finished the film, and I still do …with the caveat that you have to be okay with a lot of campy ridiculousness in your horror pastiche viewing. If you do give it a go, please let me know what you think!
Bonus: I went going through my perfume cabinet to try and hit upon the perfect olfactory combination for this lurid arthaus melodrama, and I think I hit upon it: Regime de Fleurs Glass Blooms evokes these frosty brittle models in their shivery, shimmery finery, and Frederic Malle’s Synthetic Jungle is all plasticky murderous mannequin, and together, they are perfect!
I found Crystal Eyes on Apple TV.
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