Horror, Sex & Hair Curlers Review
By Vanessa Nim (April 19th, 2018)
Directed by: Philippe Solange
Written by: Philippe Solange
Produced by: Solange Production
Key Cast: Karine Lyachenko, Jordan Large, Olivier Ruidavet, Salomé Talaboulma
Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers from Solange Productions is an aesthetically entrancing comedic enterprise starring Karine Lyachenko as the neurotic hair salon owner, Madam Françoise; Salomé Talaboulma as Petula, Françoise’s excitable assistant; Olivier Ruidavet as their depressed, bi-curious receptionist, Valentin; and Jordan Large as Pierre, a soul sucking, leather clad incubus. Directed and written by Philippe Solange, the film unfolds when Françoise sees her husband, Robert (Didier Clusel) step into a gay sex club with a mysterious, handsome young man. Appalled, Françoise, with the help of Petula, disguise an apprehensive Valentin and send him in after Robert.
Gay dives, sex demons and adultery; what more could you want? Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers brings it all, wrapping themes of mental illness and LGBTQ+ issues within skillfully timed dark humour and entrancing visuals. Heavy on theatrics, the film’s visuals and cinematics work well with Solange’s story for a refreshing and intriguing short film.
Solange’s use of colour and visual cues in Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers is exceptional. While most films aim to create realistic narratives and relatable characters through accuracy and familiarity to real life, this filmoperates on the other end of the spectrum. Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers brings a whimsical and theatrical flare to screen, featuring caricatural costumes, melodramatic performances and colouring, contrasting staging and cinematics.
Key to the film’s narrative and overall impact, Solange’s idiosyncratic characters are skillfully defined through the film’s costumes. From Madam Françoise and Petula’s eccentric, brightly coloured garb, Valentin’s bleak black-on-black, to Pierre’s skin tight, head-to-toe leather ensemble, each character’s is skillfully outfitted for their disposition. The film’s distinct costumes, beyond defining and reflecting the characters, also contribute to the overall success of the film by emphasizing the carefully chosen stylized visuals.
More accurately, the costumes in Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers aids in the films success by so clearly defining and reflecting the characters. The caricatural and particular costumes of the film, coupled with the cast’s encapsulating performances, bring an almost cartoon quality to the characters. This affect compliments the script and other visuals well, adding to the film’s narrative and stylistic flare.
Along with to the film’s costumes and the cast’s skillfully melodramatic performances, the cinematographic work in Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers hones in on key aspects of film’s ideas and narrative to add to Solange’s stylistic success. Using contrasting colours, lighting and camera work, Solange effectively showcases the conflicting and converging worlds of Pierre and Madam Françoise. In particular, the differing choices of perspective - between framing through the mirrors at the salon and panning through Pierre’s point of view in the sex club - are utilized well to illustrate the characters and highlight the film’s contrasting worlds.
Overall, the films heavily stylized features blend well together for a refreshing and intriguing film. With endearingly aberrant characters and stand-out cinematics, Horror, Sex and Hair Curlers presents an intriguing, sometimes frightening and often comedic story. From costume to performance to cinematography, the film is a testament to Solange Production’s house of talent, and is a perfect illustration of Solange’s affinity and talent for “underground and fantastic” movies.
- Vanessa Nim