February 3, 2023 Women in Horror Month – Mia Goth
In recent years February has been known as Women in Horror Month. Important, throughout history, there have been many women who have contributed to the genre as actresses, directors, producers, and more. That is why at Cryptic Rock magazine we are dedicated to honoring a different lady in Horror cinema each week of the month, and in the opening week of February 2023 we look at the rising star of Mia Goth.
The combination of Mia and Goth has never seemed more synonymous with Horror than it currently is. With the help of 2022’s future cult classics X and Pearl and her recent work in Brandon Cronenberg’s 2023 psychedelic Infinity Pool, Goth is a woman of Horror that is here to cement herself in cinema history. Despite the arduous laundry list of past scream queens who have lit up the screen, big and small… few of them evoked an emotional rawness like that of Miss Goth. But, of course, we must mention Ti West before discussing Mia Goth’s dominance over modern Horror; West being the writer/director of X, Pearl, and the highly anticipated trilogy conclusion, MaXXXine (release date TBA). Working extremely well with West, the range Goth has shown in these first two films is an accurate indicator that she is a shotgun shell to the face of a New Wave, Alternative Horror.
Even when you see Goth in lighter fare, like 2020’s film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, you can still tell something uneasy lurks behind those hypnotizing eyes. Her show-stopping climactic monologue in Pearl (a whopping 7 minutes and 57 seconds) tells you everything you need to know about her as an actress. You can hold the camera on her for as long as you want, and she will keep you glued to the screen until the very last frame. There is a playfulness in her work. In her body language, in her smile, in her voice. Never has a reveal like her as the frightening old woman in X been so mind-blowing since Jude Law in 2007’s chamber piece, Sleuth.
When X came out earlier in 2022, Horror fans and Art House fans embraced it with dismembered arms. But when Pearl was announced shortly after that and released months later, audiences and critics realized how rock-solid of a screen presence Goth was and is. Pearl is a far more serene film than X. It is not hyper-violent or kinetic. It has bloody moments here and there, but nothing compared to X. What it did have over X was an intimately epic Wizard of Oz-inspired character portrait of a young farm girl with big dreams. Pearl did not set out to be a simple piece of trashy entertainment. Instead, it set out to be an experimental artistic stroke between Filmmaker Ti West and his leading lady. That in mind, there is a reason West decided to uncomfortably hold on to a smiling Goth for the entire end credits in Pearl… because she can pull it off!
Contemporary Horror rapidly evolves as companies like A24 and Neon dominate the space… and it appears that Goth is the poster child for a new generation of the highbrow genre. The movies do not have to be schlocky, conventional, and lame. They can be emotionally gut-slicing moral quagmires. Overall, Goth is a groundbreaker opening the floodgates to the next level of electrifying scream queens and a whole new era of acting. If Miss Goth is the norm, then let us please roll out the bloody red carpet for more and more. However, remember one thing and one thing only… there is only one Mia Goth, and no one can and will ever replace her.