“The Lighthouse” Provides a Comical and Crude Take on Horror

Photo by Graeme Jackson

Alyssa Tinoco
Contributing Writer

On Jan. 17 and 20, U.C. Santa Barbara’s Magic Lantern Films presented Director Robert Eggers’ nightmarish yet compelling film “The Lighthouse” (2019). Complete with mesmerizing cinematography, the film paired well with complimentary popcorn and engaged the eager audience. 

Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke showcases two lighthouse keepers who gradually lose grasp of their sanity as the days go on. The slick black and white look follows the film’s mysterious and ghostly aura, and gives the film a reminiscent, vintage atmosphere. The audience in the theater responded passionately to the film’s humor and twists, which demonstrates the power of art that Eggers has portrayed in his film. His earlier film “The Witch” (2015) also left a lingering sense of disturbance amongst its viewers, establishing his distinct style and direction in movie-making. 

In a recent essay in BrightLightsFilmJournal, film critic Raymond De Luca connects and comments on the cinematic lighthouses displayed amongst Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” (2010), Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” (2018), and Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” (2019). Not only can you make connections with other films, but short stories can also be highlighted. For example, these films appear to follow Edgar Allen Poe’s lighthouse model in which the lighthouse is a site of psychosis.

Hidden with comic relief, such as farting and jargon, “The Lighthouse” mainly concerns itself with identity. It fuses mythology and mood to express a tale about two men who fail to understand themselves. Eggers implements wicked mind tricks throughout the entirety of the film, so spectators are left with ambiguous thoughts on whether the mystical creatures that the protagonist encounters exist in fact or figments of disturbing imagination. 

For instance, one of the most uncomfortable scenes in the film exhibits an extremely large and clearly visible mermaid vagina. Indeed, you read that correctly. However, the puzzling and odd sequences go hand-in-hand to develop the film in such an expressive and clever way. 

A special thanks to Magic Lanterns Films for exhibiting critically-acclaimed films as well as cult classics. Magic Lantern Films acquires its name from what was previously known as the Magic Lantern Theater. Today, we call it the Isla Vista Theater. Open to the public, Magic Lanterns presents films in the Isla Vista Theater on Fridays and Mondays with two showings at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. For only $4, check out which movies are buzzing in the film world!

Make sure to check out Magic Lantern Films for upcoming showings! Check out “Terminator: Dark Fate” on Jan. 24 and 27 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in I.V. Theater for $4 per ticket. No I.D. is required.