October 16, 2023

MIDSOMMAR: A Modern Horror or Ari Aster's Personal Phobia Parade?

Zooming into "Midsommar," a modern horror masterpiece by Ari Aster, where the director's childhood fears, genuine phobias, and intricately woven storytelling combine to give us a truly chilling and humanly relatable cinematic experience.

Aster's Famous Head Trauma Close-Ups Come From Childhood Fear

Fans of movie director Ari Aster may have noticed a trend of seeing gruesome head trauma close-ups. In Hereditary, one of the most disturbing and shocking scenes depicted Charlie getting her head lopped off by a telephone pole when she stuck it out the window. In Midsommar, viewers see the aftermath of the ritual suicide scene and several grisly closeups of a smashed head. These Midsommar Easter eggs are actually rooted in Aster's own childhood fears. According to an article from Esquire, Aster likes to use images that terrorized him as a child. He also stated that he will never stop using gory head trauma shots in his movies.

Mark's Tick Phobia Is Aster's Real-Life Fear

More interesting Midsommar Easter eggs have further roots in Aster's real-life fears. In the film, Mark (Will Poulter) freaks out about ticks. Several of the other characters tease him about this, but it is based on Ari Aster's real-life fear of ticks. As previously mentioned, Aster loves to base elements of his stories on his own life. Some people cope with trauma and their fears by using them in their art, and Aster is definitely that type of person. He would also wear at least two pairs of socks while walking in places known for ticks to try and keep them from latching on to him.

Simon's Death Is Based On A Real Viking Ritual

Each character gets a shocking death in Midsommar, but Simon (Archie Madekwe) has by far the most brutal looking. Not many people may have understood what was going on during Simon's death scene. His body was shown flayed alive, his lungs extended like wings in an extremely visceral and gory way. The film only gives viewers a brief look. Adding to the list of Midsommar hidden details is that Simon's method of death was based on a real Norse execution ritual known as the Blood Eagle. It's made even more terrifying because Simon was alive while it happened and was still alive when Christian found him.

The Opening Tapestry Foreshadows Midsommar's Story

Midsommar opens with a decidedly creepy tapestry marking the changes between winter and summer. At first, it appears that the tapestry is depicting the passing of the seasons, with some viewers suggesting that Midsommar's deaths represent the four elements, featuring two scary faces marking the middle of winter and summer. However, upon closer inspection, characters from the film appear in each stage of the tapestry, acting out what they will do at various points. Before the plot has even begun, audiences are given Midsommar Easter eggs and a sense that everything has been pre-planned.

Midsommar's Lack Of Subtitles Was Deliberate

Although it's set in Sweden, most of Midsommar is in the English language. Some of the characters, however, do speak Swedish, but, interestingly, their lines are not subtitled. This is one of the deliberate Midsommar Easter eggs that serves to further isolate the Americans from their European hosts, but it also has an interesting effect on the audience. Viewers are made to feel as isolated as the main characters, and any hope audiences may have of gaining some knowledge about the hosts' suspicion grows is taken away by the lack of subtitles. Viewers are trapped, forced to watch the events unfold as they happen without any means of protecting themselves.

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