Wicked Wednesday: A Visit From the Incubus (2001)

Happy Women in Horror Month! Where our realities are terrifying, and the movies just reflect that!

And what better way to start the celebration than with a short film that was written, produced, directed, edited by the woman who also starred in the film as well did the costumes, sets and score. (And I’m pretty certain she sang her parts in the musical as well. Who says a woman can’t have it all?)

Anna Biller’s A Visit from the Incubus is a western horror musical that is as good as it sounds. Biller’s style has to be one of the most visually recognizable contemporary filmmakers. It’s in full effect here.

Young Lucy (Biller) is a woman in the wild west. Each night she is haunted by an incubus, who torments her by raping in her sleep. She goes to seek advice from her friend Madeleine, who admits she used to be haunted by the incubus as well. But Madeleine tells Lucy that she was able to get rid of her demon.

Despite the offer of refuge at Madeleine’s, Lucy goes home alone. That night, she’s visited by the incubus again. Only in the morning, Lucy doesn’t feel like taking the incubus’s shit anymore. In fact, she feels like a woman.

Taking her new confidence out for a spin, Lucy goes to the local saloon to ask for work – “that kind of work”.

That night, Lucy appears in her first show at the saloon. But her opening act is none other the incubus himself, trying to steal her limelight from her. The two begin their ultimate showdown the only way possible: with song and dance.

The incubus takes the stage and is booed off not once, but twice. And when Lucy hits the stage, she’s an instant success. She becomes the star of the saloon, and is immediately offered a new contract for $100 a week by the saloon manager. Lucy’s victory is her own.

It’s obvious what the message is here, but A Visit from the Incubus never feels heavy-handed. In fact, it also manages to elevate the genre it emulates, something a lot of similar writers and directors often fail to do. There’s a touch of The Harvey Girls with just enough Satanic fun. It’s amazing to see a character have a full story arc (with development!) in under a half hour.

This short was everything. It was smart, funny, provocative, and it can original songs! I’m a sucker for it all.

Women in Horror Month is an initiative to promote the work of women filmmakers throughout the month of February (and all year!). Whether that be behind or in front of the screen, it’s a celebration of a bad-ass group that’s largely underrepresented in the film industry. This month I’ll be highlighting female-directed movies, and I’m really excited about every single one of them.

Visit Women in Horror Month‘s website to learn more about their cause! If you’re a creator, it’s a great space to meet with others in the community.

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