A Chronicle of Corpses. 2000. USA. Written and directed by Andrew Repasky McElhinney. With Marj Dusay, Oliver Wyman, Margot White. Digital projection. 83 min.
The Elliot family plantation is as withered and rotten as the remaining family members. Once prominent, the clan is now fearful of a real or imagined supernatural force beyond the walls of their moldering mansion. Dementia and alcohol haven’t helped, either, but at least there is Sara, the youngest member of the family, who could rescue their reputation. But the enigmatic horrors in the tangled woods might just be unavoidable retribution for the days when the Elliots were slave owners.
Shot in 16mm, when director Andrew Repasky McElhinney was in his 20s, A Chronicle of Corpses draws from a cinephile’s love of Gothic horror films, while establishing its own unique visual language, aided by cinematographer Abe Holz. The atmosphere is both languid and charged, the actors are keyed up with fear yet move like zombies, and the narrative is intentionally old-fashioned and reliant on such key antecedents as Night of the Living Dead.
Andrew Repasky McElhinney joins us to introduce the 4K restoration of A Chronicle of Corpses on the 20th anniversary of its release.