Double Feature Friday: Possession & The Invitation

An ongoing series of horror double feature recommendations, today's Double Feature Friday offers up two horrific allegories about adults succumbing to madness while dealing with trauma and grief.
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An ongoing series of horror double feature recommendations, today's Double Feature Friday offers up two horrific allegories about adults succumbing to madness while dealing with trauma and grief.

BY LIONEL FRANKENSTEIN

Horror nerds that we are, Fun Size Horror would love to share with you some of our favorite genre films, but with a twist: instead of just listing off some favorites, each week we'll offer up a pairing of two horror films that complement one another in unique or fascinating ways: Double Feature Friday.

Today's entry features two very different intricately-crafted and suffocatingly-paranoid horror-thrillers that both have very similar concerns--how adults deal with grief and trauma, and how the choices that mark their attempts at recovery can invite madness. Also? Both films are batshit insane.

POSSESSION (1981/ 124 minutes/ dir. Andrzej Zulawski)

Possession is a film that defies categorization or description--it simply must be experienced to be understood. That said, the broad strokes: a Cold War-era spy comes home to find his wife has recently miscarried, is engaging in an affair, and may be losing her mind. 

What spirals out of that discovery--doppelgangers, mass murder, Lovecraftian monsters, possibly the apocalypse, and what has to be the most epic seizure in cinema history--all serve as mind-bending literalizations of the brutal emotional horrors suffered after the loss of a child, the hell of betrayal, or a disintegrating union. The film is harrowing journey into the tunnel of madness that follows loss, and its resolution of that madness is no less horrifying.  

THE INVITATION (2015/ 99 minutes/ dir. Karyn Kusama)

While The Invitation is a far easier film to summarize that Possession, it's twisty-turny series of plot-kinks, narrative left-turns, and shocking surprises makes any detailed description simply a series of spoilers that rob the film of its power (and boy oh boy, is it powerful).

Here's what you need to a know: two years after the death of their child, a man's ex-wife invites him, his new girlfriend, and a group of mutual friends to her house for a dinner party that evolves into conversation about the myriad of ways to (and to not) confront grief after the death of a loved one. Then it evolves into... something else. Suspicions are raised, paranoia becomes nearly The Thing-level suffocating, and madness erupts... with a final scene that actually manages to rival The Possession's in terms of the insanity of its implications.