The Black Telephone – The Economist

At this point, the producer blumhouse It is synonymous with the horror genre, although within its productions there are also dramas and documentaries. Thanks to the studio created by Jason Blum and with a contract with Universal, the company has been producing several genre films per year, highlighting the saga of The Purge, Insidious, the new Halloween and Escape! and We by Jordan Peele.

Published in 2005 in the anthology Ghosts of Joe Hill, the black phone (opens on Thursday 23 in Argentina) was expanded from a short story of less than thirty pages to a feature film of over one and a half hours by Scott Derrickson and his partner C. Robert Cargill.

  • Derrickson comes from horror: his first film was Hellraiser: Inferno (the fifth in the saga) in 2000. He later rose through the ranks with The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) and Sinister (2012) with Ethan Hawke. He entered the MCU directing the sorcerer’s first adventure in Doctor Strange (2016) and was preparing the second part but parted ways with Marvel due to vague creative differences. Finally, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ended up being done by Sami Raimi and this week it is already available on Disney +.

Hill’s story takes direct reference to serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who dresses up as a clown as an entertainer at children’s parties. The villain of El Telefono Negro is called El Raptor and he also dresses up as a clown, carries black balloons and uses a van to kidnap children and then kill them.

In the movie, The Raptor is a magician and wears a two-piece mask with an interchangeable lower part depending on his mood (created by special makeup effects magician Tom Savini). Reuniting after Sinestro with the director, actor Ethan Hawke plays a villain for the first time on the big screen. This year he had already made his villain debut in the Moon Knight series where he was the leader of an Egyptian sect.

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After buying the rights to the story, It was released and it was Joe Hill himself who told us, ‘Now that It is a hit, The Raptor can’t be a clown,’ says Derrickson. The idea for him to be a wizard was Joe’s idea, so credit goes to him. And he continues: The mask allows for a more mysterious character and I like the idea that it is a character that can be himself when wearing it. It feels authentic and original. He can show the true feelings of him. I thought it would be scarier. Masks are scary.

The story centers on Finney (Mason Thames, in his feature film debut) a pre-teen who lives with his sister (Madeline McGraw) and their abusive, alcoholic dad (Jeremy Davies) in a small town north of Denver, Colorado during 1978. Finney He doesn’t stand out in anything: he loses at baseball, he doesn’t dare to talk to the girl he likes and even some bullies beat him up after school.

ethan hawke the black phone
Actor Ethan Hawke plays a villain on the big screen for the first time

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It doesn’t take long for Finney to meet The Raptor and find himself one of the killer’s victims, locked in a basement with no escape and only a black disconnected phone for company. Without telling too much of the plot, the phone is a supernatural communication channel with the previous victims of The Raptor that will help Finney to try to escape from the murderer, something that the other boys could not.

  • Boys and a supernatural theme is no stranger to the Stephen King world as Joe Hill, the original writer, is one of the author’s sons.

Much of what you see now is inspired by stories of school children in the ’80s, continues the director. stranger things It is a tribute to Steven Spielberg. But everything we did here is not anchored in nostalgia but is drawn from my own experience. I lived in North Denver when I was twelve years old in 1978 and there was a lot of family violence. Most of my friends were victims of violence too. There was a lot of corporal punishment with belts. They beat me going to school, they beat me coming back from school. That feeling is what I wanted to bring to the film.

The character of El Raptor never reveals his real name or why he does what he does. The serial killer just is, there is no psychological explanation as there was in the epilogue of Psycho where a psychiatrist described the causes of Norman Bates’ behavior.

"Lightyear" of Disney Pixar with a kiss between people of the same sex will not be released

During the ’70s, two big-screen killers doubled down on the mystery by being forces of nature for no reason: Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Michael Myers from Halloween. Explaining the reasons I do not see very honest in terms of psychotic behavior, describes Derrickson. There were cases where the killers had a childhood of abuse like Richard Ramirez, ‘the night stalker’, but Ted Bundy had a happy childhood. Jeffrey Dahmer had loving parents. Many of these monsters are evil for no apparent reason. There is a lot of mystery behind his malevolence, behind his psychopathology. I always thought that was scarier. We don’t know why Hannibal Lecter eats people. There is mystery in evil and you have to drop that mystery if you want to have an effective villain, says Derrickson.

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