Staff Pick: Brooks Caruthers

I’ve been working at the Terry branch of the Central Arkansas Library System for 29 years.  I have an experimental instrumental band called Opera, and back in the 90s I wrote about horror films and other cult favorites for the Little Rock Free Press.  While doing so I learned that many of the illogical and absurd twists and turns of a horror movie can work to the film’s advantage, because this illogical absurdity aligns the film with the illogical absurdity of dreams and nightmares.

This is particularly true of Italian horror films, and one of my favorites is The Sect. This Dario Argento production, directed by the great Michele Soavi, is, on the surface, a rather meandering Generation X take on Rosemary’s Baby.  But the film’s ungainly, paranoid plot is a device to take us through a whole series of horrific and often quite beautiful set pieces.  What really holds The Sect together is the obsessive dream symbol imagery of keys, birds, rabbits, masks, and secret passages, anchored by strong performances by Kelly Curtis (Jamie Lee’s sister), as a school teacher who has no idea how strange her upbringing was, and the great Herbert Lom, who delivers an unforgettably chilling performance as “The Old Man.”

-Brooks Caruthers