Magic realism has never gone out of style, just out of sight every now and then, but the film industry uses it all the time and call it fantasy. Three truly magic realist cinematic greats, for me, are; Twin Peaks (1990) (Frost & Lynch 1990), the series and the movie; the movie Horns (Aja 2013), and the series American Gods (Fuller & Green 2019). Twin Peaks was/is a surrealist’s dream. Subtlety wasn’t something the directors were going for and it was the type of in your face magic realism that snaked its way into the mind. Three decades on Twin Peaks still thrills and excites the viewer and is a cult classic. It also has the ability to become a cult classic with a new audience.
Horns (2013) is based on the novel by Joe Hill (Hill 2019) Stephen King’s son. The protagonist, Danial Ratcliff plays the role of a grieving boyfriend and the only suspect in his girlfriend’s murder. It begins as realism and the introduction of the magic is so subtle that its unclear at first if it is reality or a dream. Having been accursed even by the preacher, the protagonist becomes the devil they believe him to be. With his new look, he could draw on magic powers, for lack of a better term.
The series American Gods (2019) is a surrealist’s dream, but like Twin Peaks, it isn’t for everyone. All the gods play a part; Bilquis, or Queen of Sheba; the Norse god, All father (Mr. Wednesday) and a variety of other gods. Their truth is played out and the series holds nothing back. One of the first episodes shows Bilquis devouring a man with her vaginal and birthed into the cosmos (Wigler 2017). It’s both disturbing and fascinating all at the same time. Each finds its place on the surrealist’s spectrum and perform as they were designed, uniquely.