Bored while officiating a cricket match at a psychiatric hospital, Crossley tells Graves (a visitor) the tale of a mysterious stranger (also named Crossley) who invades the lives and home of a local musician and his wife. The stranger claims knowledge of real magic, which he uses to displace his host and dominate his wife. The musician must find a way to combat Crossley and his seemingly implacable powers. Graves doubts Crossley's claim that the story is true, and begins to believe that Crossley is actually one of the patients. Written by
unusual and arty horror film involving aboriginal Australian magic; something different
I don't recall now how I'd heard of this movie, but having heard of it, I was motivated enough to get a copy from the Amazon UK site (region-free players are a must; region encoding should be abolished!).
From the very start of the movie, it's clear it will be unusual. First we see a woman drive up to a building. She is ushered into a room where there are three dead men, apparently naked, laid out under white sheets on what seem to be dining tables. She stops at the third one. Then, we see an black, likely aboriginal, man wandering in a desert or among sand dunes, and he approaches with a sharp bone. Then a man (Tim Curry) arrives at an asylum, where he is assigned the job of score-keeping for a game of cricket the patients and staff are about to begin. The other scorekeeper, one of the patients, starts to tell him a story....
That's a lot of jumping around just to start the film! There are layers in the film, due to the storytelling, and not everything is chronological, and perhaps not everything is even true.
The story involves the man telling the story (Alan Bates) and one of the men playing cricket (John Hurt). John Hurt's character plays organ at a church, when he gets there on time, anyway, and at home records a variety of sounds, amplifying them in such a way they sound unusual. He meets Alan Bates, a strange man who had learned some aboriginal magic when he lived in Australia, and Bates manages to enter Hurt's home and life.
The story structure and the involvement of an asylum called to mind The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for me, and now seeing the comments of others, I see I'm not alone. One other movie that came to mind while watching The Shout was Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) because of the Australian weirdness and artiness in both films.
I can't claim to understand everything in the film. For example, at one point a character wakes up and he's temporarily confused about his identity and profession, a problem that reoccurs at least once thereafter. Additionally, there's some digging in the sand for rocks which seem related to people somehow. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this to a degree (I like some mystery sometimes), I enjoyed the movie, and I'm glad I bought it.
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