So, you missed the secret end-credit scene after your screening of Ti West’s latest horror venture, huh? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Tucked away following the credits sequence for ‘X,’a slasher film that follows an eager group of performers looking to make their mark on the adult film industry with a porno of their own before it all goes to hell, was a sneak-peek into its upcoming prequel titled Pearl.
The year 1979 is dialed way back to 1918 where audiences once again find themselves on the same plot of land as that doomed ‘X’set in rural Texas. And no, it’s not a coincidence. Is it ever?
Where ‘X’ traipses into a tradition of isolated farmlands being inherently cursed as our Folk Horror roots have declared, the idyllic pastoral scene that Pearl evokes (despite its being the same exact place) embodies more of an Old Hollywood aura. Not entirely unlike the Wizard of Oz. Of course, we get those pulsating snatches of thrusting farm tools used for violence and bodies combusting and corpse hair falling to the ground in wispy tufts–oh my– but the preview imbues Pearl with a dreamy quality, nevertheless. It’s incredible what vivid colors and wide-open spaces can do to the tone of a space. Just part of the movie magic, I suppose, and the score was a dream as well!
Reprising her presence within this blooming franchise is Mia Goth, who plays the role of Pearl in the prequel– our painfully-unbeloved-villainess in her youth. ‘X’ writer and director Ti West noted his inspiration for the prequel as being the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, amongst others. The carnage-riddled cabin and farmhouse from ‘X’ has been transformed, or perhaps reverted, into a WWI boardinghouse for Pearl’s return to the big screen.
And we have the universe in all of its glorious timing to thank for this next installment in A24’s rising Ti West-Horror universe. The prequel that is ‘Pearl’ wasn’t exactly a planned venture. In an interview with Indiewire West was quoted as stating: “I came out of quarantine and I was like, ‘We’re already building all of this stuff, it’s COVID, and we’re on the one place on Earth where it’s safe to make a movie. We have the whole crew from ‘Avatar 2’ who’s on break. We should make two movies.” And so ‘Pearl’ was born. On the same set in New Zealand where its predecessor ‘X’ was filmed, immediately beforehand.
The charm and whimsically horrible allure of Pearl’s ultra-stylized world are in more-than-capable hands with the ever-masterful Mia Goth at its helm. Goth evokes a true sense of magnetism and depth in the characters she brings to life onscreen, and with Ti West’s depraved devotion to the craft of filmmaking as a medium, horror fans can only wait in eager anticipation for what is to come.