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A dizzying descent into madness, “Climax” is breathtaking to behold but requires an embrace of arthouse filmmaking at its most rebellious.

Show host Carolyn Smith-Hillmer takes a deep dive into the hallucinogenic Climax from polarizing Argentinian filmmaker Gaspar Noé, whose work has been strongly associated with new extreme films featuring intense violence and confrontational subject matter. Climax was praised for its strong direction, breathtaking cinematography, mesmerizing choreography, and compelling performances. But not everyone appreciated its use of violence, lack of narrative structure, or arthouse aesthetic. – Stephanie (Editor-in-Chief)


Experimental horror is not for everyone. I give many thanks to the universe it is my favorite cup of tea. Gaspar Noé’s CLIMAX is a descent into the minds of a drug-addled dance troupe inside of an abandoned school in France. What could possibly go wrong?

Featuring an ensemble cast of 24 actors, led by Sofia Boutella, Climax is set in 1996 and follows a French dance troupe holding a days-long rehearsal in an abandoned school; the final night of rehearsing is a success, but the group’s celebratory after-party takes a dark turn when the communal bowl of sangria is spiked with LSD, sending each of the dancers into agitated, confused and psychotic states.

The film is notable for its unorthodox production. It was conceived and pre-produced in four weeks and shot chronologically in only 15 days.

Gaspar Noé (Irreversible, Enter the Void) conceived the premise, and the bulk of the film was unrehearsed, on-the-spot improvisation by the cast. The cast consisted almost exclusively of dancers, and most had no previous action experience. They were provided no lines of dialogue beforehand and had almost complete liberty as to where to take the story and characters.

Climax features unusual editing and cinematography choices and several long takes, including one lasting over 42 minutes. The cast consists almost exclusively of dancers who, aside from Boutella and Souheila Yacoub, had no previous acting experience.




Psychonaut Wiki LSD:

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The Final Girl on 6th Ave is a weekly show where host, Carolyn Smith-Hillmer, dissects an arthouse/elevated horror film. Each episode includes a detailed play-by-play of the film itself and a subsequent deep dive into the thematic elements and symbolism. Because elevated horror is sometimes viewed within the horror community as pretentious, Carolyn makes sure to use her down-to-earth tone and unique perspective to make these films less intimidating for the casual horror viewer and less ostentatious for the genre lover.

Listen to more episodes on the show’s website here

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