WATCH: Scared to Death! The mystique of horror films

"Raw" director Julia Ducournau says we scare ourselves in safe spaces in order to master our fears

By Amanda Marcotte

Senior Writer

Published March 13, 2017 12:00AM (EDT)

This Salon video was produced by Peter Cooper

Julia Ducournau’s first feature movie, titled simply “Raw”, has been drawing quite a bit of attention and acclaim for this French screenwriter and director. “Raw” won a FIPRESCI at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and is being screened widely in the United States.

While the posters for the movie suggest an erotic art house movie from a European country, in reality, “Raw” is part of the 21st century horror renaissance, that, like the horror boom of the 1960s and 1970s, is as much about expanding the boundaries of filmmaking as it is about delivering scares.

Not that “Raw” lacks for frightening moments, however. Ducournau came into Salon to talk with Amanda Marcotte about why horror is such an appealing genre.

“When you’re scared in a screening room, you’re safe,” she said. “And you can master your fear, because you know you’re safe and that after this two hours, when you’re done with your popcorn, you can get out and start your life again.”

“Being afraid in life is not something you can master,” she added. “That’s why I think people like to go to screening rooms and see movies and tackle their fear, but in a safe way, with a security mattress, if you wish.”

“Raw” was released in U.S. movie theaters nationwide on March 10th. It’s an innovative horror film that relies heavily on dread, and is more reminiscent of movies like “Rosemary’s Baby” than it is of modern slasher films like the “Saw” series.

That said, it’s not for the faint of heart, and has plenty of gore for more traditional horror fans.

By Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a senior politics writer at Salon and the author of "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself." Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte and sign up for her biweekly politics newsletter, Standing Room Only.

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Julia Ducournau Original Video Raw Film