Cursed Films II takes a different direction with its latest episode. Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker is surrounded by legend. The movie is about the eponymous figure leading two men to a place that grants people’s innermost desires. It is a science-fiction story that explores deep themes. The legacy it leaves behind goes further than its plot, however.
When people talk about films with a dark cloud over them, the conversation usually turns to death. This episode is no different as real life sickness and death are an unfortunate part of Stalker. Since many passed away due to the same type of lung cancer, some have stated the movie’s filming location (an old chemical plant) was the cause.
But Cursed Films II also explores avenues never seen in the show before. For starters, there were a number of production problems. In today’s world of constant release delays, that does not seem like much of a curse. But the things that happened were not run of the mill reshoots. The Soviet government, a new film stock, and natural disasters are all a part of the movie’s lore.
Most of the episode is spent in the Ukraine. (The show was shot before the Russian invasion.) The parallels between Stalker and Chernobyl are striking, but the look at life in the region now are the most interesting parts. This includes interviews with real life “stalkers”. (In this case, the term refers to a guide.) This installment is haunting in a way no previous one has been.
Cursed Films II airs Thursdays on Shudder
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