Midnight Madness Blog

- 2008
- 2007

Every year I see more than my share of horror films. Most are middle of the road(kill), only a handful give me a genuine shock or jolt but I love it when they do. I witness lots of gore effects without solid plot and maybe this constant barage of revolting images has worn me down. Then a film like Martyrs comes along and smacks my head. HARD.

I had been tracking Martyrs as a Midnight Madness contender after the folks at Wild Bunch, the sales company representing the film, showed me a promo for the film back in Cannes 07. From the few scenes and conceptual art, it looked dark and menacing, but it was not ready in time for MM 07 following a mishap where an actress was injured during the film's production.

I got to see the completed version of Martyrs in Cannes this year and granted, it was the third intense and violent horror film I had seen that day, so by the time the projector started to whir, I was already weary from the cinematic pummelling that I had gotten earlier in the day. When the lights came up, I must have looked like I just got punched in the stomach with brass knuckles wrapped in barbed wire. Martyrs is a powerful excursion into horror.

After the screening, debates were raging amongst the members of the fantasy film circuit (Stiges, Fantasia, Brussels, Austin, Fright Fest, etc) about the extremes the film reached and the intent behind the director's vision. The images in Martyrs are harsh and the ordeal that the female protagonists go through is harrowing, to say the least. Personally it was a film that I had to talk through with many of my peers in order to fully appreciate it (thanks to Michael Lerman and Tim League for holding court). Just the nature of these charged discussions proved to me that there was something special about Martyrs as it is rare that a horror film comes along which sparks this level of debate. There certainly was not this much talk about the Prom Night remake or The Ruins.

I am now being cautious of building the film up too much, but I want to make the distinction between last year's MM hit À l'intérieur and Martyrs which many who have not seen the later are quickly drawing parraells to. I describe A L'Interior as a thrill and chill packed roller coaster, where with Martyrs, you start out on a similar ride, only to look down and realize that the tracks have disappeared...

Since Cannes, Martyrs has been steeped in controversy when it was given a rare French 18 rating due to its extremely violent content. The film has since been re-rated to a lesser 16 rating, but there was an outcry of censorship from French directors over this decision. Read more about it at Twitchfilm.

Looking forward to unleashing Martyrs to our Midnight Madness fiends and very excited to have the director, Pascal Laugier there for what might be a chaged Q&A and also working on getting a confirmation on the attendance of the two lead actresses, Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï! Check out the trailer and more links below.

Interview with the director Pascal Laugier over at Bloody-Disgusting

Rodney Perkins' review at Twitchfilm

Todd Brown's review at Twitchfilm

Bloody-Disgusting review

holy crap. this looks intense. might leave my date at home for that screening.
Comment By greatsilence At 03/09/2021 2:35 PM
I've been hearing a buzz about this film for a few months now and can't wait to see it...especially with the MM crowd.

Truth be told I have been avoiding reading any full reviews for Martyrs, because I always like walking into a film open minded...and this one is sounding like it packs quite a punch.
Can't wait!
Comment By GORE At 03/09/2021 3:24 PM
I feel like I'm dying to see this, even though I'll regret it. I just hope there's more to it than the 'shock' and 'gut-punch'!
Comment By DirtyRobot At 03/09/2021 3:55 PM
Please logon or register to comment.