Last Night in Soho is Edgar Wright’s first true horror film, but what can viewers’ all-time favorite horror films tell viewers about the upcoming thriller?
Last night in Soho is the first outright horror film from acclaimed director Edgar Wright, but his favorite horror films may reveal what to expect from the film. Last night in Soho stars Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise Turner, a young fashion designer who finds herself inhabiting the body of 1960s London nightclub singer Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). degrades when Eloise finds herself at the center of a murder mystery that only she can solve. The cast also includes Matt Smith and the latest film appearance of Dame Diana Rigg.
Edgar Wright is a well-known movie buff, with impressive love and knowledge of the medium, even by the standards of other writers. He’s posted many lists of his favorite films and is known to sprinkle his work with Easter eggs and references to classics and hidden gems. His escape film, Shaun of the Dead, featured countless loving tribute moments and demonstrated great influence from Wright’s favorite zombie films. With horror films functioning as an inspiration throughout his career, what plot details and themes could be found in Last night in Soho?
While Edgar Wright’s favorite horror movies – which can be seen on Mubi – the selection is as diverse as you would expect from a true cinephile, there are several style choices and points of fascination that come up throughout. Careful analysis of a handful of his favorites should reveal what types of horror could be found in Last night in Soho.
Roman Polanski’s first English film, Repulsion follows Carol, a young French esthetician working in London whose grip on reality loosens as she experiences a sequence of nightmarish visions. Wright specifically mentioned Repulsion as an influence on The story of last night in Soho, and thanks to both ’60s flair and London decor, the similarities are immediately apparent. In Repulsion, Carol ends up losing her mind and in Last night in Soho, Eloise is set to experience the same kind of downward spiral as her efforts to solve – or even prevent – the film’s central murder become more and more strained. The visions in Repulsion ravage the already disturbed mind of Carol and based on glimpses of a scruffy Eloise from the trailer, her time travel nightmare could impose a similar toll. The final impact on Eloise remains to be seen, and while there is hope that she will avoid the same fate as Carol, there is little chance that she will come out unscathed.
The story of a bullied teenager who acquires psychic powers, that of Brian De Palma Carrie is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. While most of Wright’s favorite horror films focus on the eerie vibe and heartbreaking psyche of the main character, Carrie shows the filmmaker isn’t afraid to get a little horrible. Carrie the infamous prom scene features a literal bucket of blood and given Wright’s penchant for the film, there’s every reason to think Last night in Soho will also present its fair share of gore. The previews for Last night in Soho show that Eloise’s journey becomes more and more violent and intense as the story progresses and with Carrie as an influence, a macabre finish is almost guaranteed.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Directed by Nicolas Roeg, Don’t look now follows a husband and wife who meet a psychic as they mourn the loss of their child. A slow-burning story of growing psychological terror, Don’t look now is another film that Wright specifically cited as an influence on his new horror film Last night in Soho. Although it is known as a horror film, Don’t look now unfolds like a mystery, following grieving father John Baxter as he searches for a red hooded figure who resembles his deceased daughter. Last night in Soho seeks to use that mysterious tone as Eloise scours the city in search of Sandie’s killer. Don’t look now a strong central mystery traps the characters in a maze of uncertainty and helps form an almost unbearable sense of dread as the story unfolds. In Last night in Soho, the mystery of Sandie’s murder serves a somewhat similar purpose, leading Eloise inexorably to plunge into a world of ghosts and shadows.
A cult classic, Suspiria is a psychedelic fever dream. Although the categorization is controversial, Suspiria is often touted as an example of the Italian horror subgenre “Giallo”, a term derived from the inexpensive mystery horror paperback books that inspired the films. Last night in Soho seems to be Wright’s take on the genre, similarly drawing on the luscious psychological horror trend of novels. Suspiria is famous for its intense color palette which seems to have made its mark on Last night at Soho’s Visual style. Both films feature a wide range of surreal sequences and elaborate sets. Last night at Soho’s the preview shows glimpses of neon-drenched gruesome scenes, arguably aiming for the same kind of hallucinatory frenzy as Dario Argento’s Suspiria.
Evil Dead II (1987)
While that might sound like an outlier to top off a series of psychological thrillers, Sam Raimi’s horror flick, Evil Dead II, seems to have left a fingerprint on Last night in Soho. A device on all of his favorites lists, Wright once playfully called Evil Dead II objectively, “the best movie of all time. “While both films feature a protagonist clinging to his sanity, the real resemblance seems to manifest in the form of a shared appreciation for the camp. Last night in Soho is inspired by Evil Dead II fiery energy and manic camera work. Both are interested in scare, but are determined to have some fun along the way. While Wright’s film seems to be heading for a thrilling climax, there is undoubtedly a vein of dark humor as well.
In Last night in Soho, Edgar Wright draws inspiration from a wide array of horrific sources, but the most consistent quality shared among his favorites is a sense of unease. Let it be Carol’s palpable anxiety in Repulsion or Ash struggles to stay sane Evil Dead II, the emphasis is always on rising tension rather than fear of jumping. While Wright doesn’t shy away from the occasional movie monster, he’s clearly drawn to stories of trauma and psychological strain. Last night in Soho will pit Eloise against disturbing characters and supernatural events, but the real horror will take place in her mind.
NEXT: Edgar Wright Movies Ranked, Worst To Best
- Last night in Soho (2021)Release Date: October 29, 2021
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