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what if wes anderson directed this year’s most terrifying film, ‘the witch’?

A new trailer recuts scenes from Robert Eggers’s chilling tale of 17th century puritan witchcraft, and positions the terrifying historical thriller as one of Wes Anderson’s whimsical works.

by Emily Manning
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Dec 6 2016, 6:05pm

Wes Anderson's whimsical, colorful worlds exist in their own category of "cult status." And much like the work of other beloved idiosyncratic artists (David Lynch, for example), Anderson's subjects and style are often refashioned and reappropriated in new cultural collisions. Super-fans have imagined his versions of The Shining (the cleverly titled Grand Overlook Hotel), X-Men, and A Clockwork Orange. A new edit considers what might happen if the cult director became an occult director. This fan-made trailer recuts footage from The Witch - a supernatural horror film set in 17th century New England, and starring 20-year-old Anya Taylor-Joy in her breakout role - in Anderson's charming narrative style.

The Witch, probably the most terrifying film released this year, is the first film to be officially supported by the Satanic Temple - an endorsement granted thanks to its critique of patriarchal society, rather than its bone-chilling visuals. It follows a family exiled from their puritanical plantation due to a biblical disagreement, and their quest to build a new life. The new trailer sets some of the film's most dramatic moments - the exile from the colony, clandestine meetings in the woods - to the more twee music often scoring Anderson's trailers, and washes The Witch in Anderson's signature sunshine yellow color grading. It repositions the plot as a common Anderson storyline: a series of follies experienced by a dysfunctional family with a flawed father figure.

Though the trailer's humor is couched in the fact that The Witch and Anderson's work are completely incongruous, a real Wes Anderson horror film might be on the way. After Saturday Night Live created its own spooky Anderson edit (The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders) in 2013, the director confessed he'd actually like to work on a slasher during a panel at the 2015 Rome Film Festival. "When you make a horror or a thriller, you say you're supposed to be scared here. You're supposed to be relieved here...I like the idea of the requirements and the obligations of working in a genre like that," he explained.

So while the prospect of Anderson taking the reins on a deeply unsettling tale of religious panic is unlikely, don't rule out his Satanic Temple endorsement just yet.

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Text Emily Manning