19. A Musical Horror Film (That’s Not Rocky Horror, Little Shop of Horrors or Nightmare Before Christmas).
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Mermaids make their way up from the abyss to the seabed. Then they use it for leverage and swim to the surface. I give you: The Lure.”
In Poland, this movie was called Córki dancingu (Daughters of Dancing) and it’s a musical reworking of The Little Mermaid but filtered through director Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s experiences growing up in her mother’s nightclub, a place where she experienced her “first shot of vodka, first cigarette, first sexual disappointment and first important feeling for a boy.” She said that she used mermaids to hide the personal parts of the story and create a way to hide all of the emotions that came from her real life. Yet she took those mermaids and made them, in part, monstrous. Writer Robert Bolesto was inspired to also tell the story of two of his friends that were part of the 80s nightclub scene.
Golden (Michalina Olszańska) and Silver (Marta Mazurek) rise from the water and watch a band called Figs n’ Dates playing music. They follow them back to a nightclub where they become dancers with the band, finally becoming The Lure, the main attraction while the band plays behind them.
All the while, Silver falls in love with the bassist Mietek — who sees her as an animal and not a woman — while her sister only views humans as food.
They’re not the only undersea creatures that are in Poland’s music industry. Triton (Marcin Kowalczyk) is a singer for a metal band and knows how the world works between the magic world and the mundane world. If Silver gives her heart to Mietek and he marries someone else, she will become sea foam. She gives up her tail and her voice for love, yet even her new body — covered with surgical scars and blood — disgusts Mietek, who marries a woman he has only known for a day.
Of course, this must all end in tragedy. Silver must devour Mietek before daybreak, but she can’t bring herself to do so. You can imagine the pain and horror that comes next. The ocean beckons, after all.
We live in a world where people become enraged when someone with a different skin color is a mermaid. All of those people so upset should watch this. Then, mermaids should devour them.
This is a film that I’ll ponder over probably for the rest of my life. It’s not as upsetting as Mermaid In a Manhole — what is? — but it gets close in all the very best of ways. Plus, the songs have a way of getting wrapped around your ear.