A ’70s porn shoot takes a bloody turn in the trailer for Ti West’s X

Movie

It’s a classic horror setup: a group of attractive young people hunker down for a night out in the sticks, only to be picked off by some homespun abomination prowling the grounds. This subgenre oriented around rural-themed terror peaked in the ’70s with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a golden era to which Ti West harkens back twice over with his latest film.

His upcoming feature X, the trailer for which appeared online this morning, both evokes and recreates the heyday of the grindhouse with an old-fashioned slasher period piece set in the all-too-apropos summer of ’79. The subject matter tackles the beloved sleaze of the moment’s cinema head-on as well, following a shoestring crew that’s set out to produce a porno flick called The Farmer’s Daughter around a country home that will serve as a final resting place for several involved parties.

The director (Martin Henderson), his leading man (Scott Mescudi, rocking a tight Afro), his ingenue (Brittany Snow), and the rest of the gang (Mia Goth and Jenna Ortega) just want to find somewhere cheap and secluded to make their smut in peace, but the owner of their temporary lodgings has a dark secret. Something’s not right with his desiccated-looking old wife, surely set on a demonic path from some formative trauma years ago, presumably now subsisting on the flesh of travelers.

While the film itself has the sharpness of something made with present-day technology, West indulges his celluloid fetishism with snatches of the movie-within-the-movie, complete with the faded look and scratch-pop imperfections synonymous with analog film stock. His nostalgia for the ’70s comes through in the dead-on costuming and hairstyling as well, all in-right-now flared pant legs and feathered coiffures.

West has logged some time in the TV world as of late, his last outing at the movies being 2016’s exploitation-Western homage In a Valley of Violence. The years have done nothing to dim his love for the cheapo B-movies to which he pays homage here, and if the premise is any indicator, the sex-and-gore factor is only going to skyrocket. Nice to see someone still out there, making his dirty pictures.

X comes to cinemas in the US on 18 March. A date for the UK has yet to be set. 

Published 12 Jan 2022

Tags: Brittany Snow Mia Goth Scott Mescudi Ti West

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