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El orfanato juan bayona 1

De Keuze van Koolhoven: Night of the Ghosts

Filmmaker and irrepressible cinephile Martin Koolhoven talks about everything that makes film worthwhile in his De Keuze van Koolhoven, focusing especially on the rich history of the genre film. Is there a more classic horror genre to be found than the ghost story? No other place as run down as a haunted house, after all. Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona wasn’t fazed and made one of the best Gothic horror films of the past two decades with The Orphanage.

poster De Keuze van Koolhoven

In the 2000s Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro laid the basis for a new wave of Spanish fantastic films with The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006). As executive producer Del Toro was also the driving force behind Bayona's El orfanato, a psychological horror film in the tradition of the equally successful The Others (2001) by Alejandro Amenábar.

dilapidated country house

In El orfanato Laura returns with her husband Carlos and son Simón to the old orphanage where she grew up as a child with the aim of turning the house into a home for children with disabilities. Simon”s imaginary friends only begin to trouble her when her little son disappears one day and Laura herself is beginning to see ghosts. Is the house trying to reveal a dark secret to Laura? It certainly is.

that chill in the air

Like his mentor Del Toro, Bayona is not one to be heavy handed. Instead, the horror of El orfanato slowly envelops the viewer like a chill in the air. Take the ingeniously drawn out scene in which a medium, played by Geraldine Chaplin, tries to make contact with the spirit world, observed by infrared cameras. That sudden prickly sensation on your arms? They are goose bumps.

Prior to the film it”s spooky time with Martin Koolhoven as he presents a number of scenes and trailers with ghostly appearances.


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