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Outer Space: Hexus Journal Pick An Experimental Horror Bakers Dozen
The Quietus , October 13th, 2017 10:06

To start our run up to Halloween, Thogdin Ripley and Philippa Snow of avant-horror publishers Hexus Journal pick thirteen films that blur the worlds of horror and the avant-garde to frightening, funny and sometimes shocking effect


The Hand In The Plastic Bag (Erica Eyres, 2012)

From Key #02 (in which Eyres plays all the parts, from a guru intoning a deliberately schlocky motivational speech about having more empathy while, on the other side of the screen a variety of women with physical deformations — one in a black dress flaunts a shapely leg with the calf bone showing, another in a low-cut top emphasises a weeping growth on her cleavage) or Imaginary Girlfriend (in which Eyres plays all the parts, from the just-pubescent boy, his overbearing mother, to his imaginary girlfriend which no-one but he can see), Eyres’s artwork, of which her film work is only one strand, points to dislocation, doubling, the abuse of power, and the impermanence and mutability of personality: surely the defining horrors of this century.

In The Hand In The Plastic Bag, Eyres — who plays none of the parts — uses familiar-looking vox-pops headshots, silencing them and adding her own subtitles to tell, with dark humour, stories of transient personas in which each sentence adds to, and surprises, the narrative. The titular hand is placed by its owner into a plastic bag and tied with elastic bands, leading the straight-faced interviewee to conclude “he rotted his own hand off”.

Eyres’s use of pre-existing documentary footage here adds a further layer of obfuscation, deliberately bringing into question the veracity of the media used (in most cases low quality video or generic computer-backgrounds and cheap computer effects) that mirror the double-take confusion of her startlingly ‘photo-realistic’ ceramic works depicting rotting vegetables, balloons and paper bags.

We featured a part of the film as an excerpted cine-novel in Hexus Journal vol II, reconfiguring it again into a visually repetitious short. Ideally these would have played out in the back pages of a major newspaper as three-panel ‘funnies’ over the course of a few weeks.