Něco z Alenky (Alice) (1989). Dir. Jan Švankmajer. Starring Kristýna Kohoutová.
I’m sure you’re familiar with Alice in Wonderland. Even if you’ve never read Lewis’ novel, you’re probably heard of the animated Disney movie, Tim Burton’s 2010 rendition, American McGee’s dark and twisted version, or a myriad of slutty “Wonderful” Alice costumes at Halloween (which are now available in children’s sizes because people are disgusting.) Whichever version you’re familiar with, the same story is more or less present throughout; Alice’s descent into complete and utter batshittery. There are some dark elements in all these versions, sure, but for the most part it’s nothing too disturbing. Jan Švankmajer’s Něco z Alenky (lit. “Something from Alice”), takes a slightly different approach.
I’ve been informed that this film doesn’t actually classify as “Horror”, and that it is technically “Fantasy”. I ask – have you seen this film? Look at those eyes. The teeth. My mind immediately screamed “WHAT THE, HORSE? DOG? HORSEDOG?!” as my jaws clenched and my vision began to fade. Nope – that’s the caterpillar. Sure it is, Jan, sure it is. I can only imagine the levels of psilocybin in Švankmajer’s system while he’s was thinking up this one. Oh, and remember the part where Alice becomes a giant doll and you can still see her eyes behind her new dead and unfeeling face?
And let’s not forget the White Rabbit. Everybody remembers the White Rabbit – always in a hurry, so worries about being late, but is logical and usually without malice. Even Tim Burton, who is fond of putting his twist on classic characters, kept the rabbit pretty true to his roots. Surely, Švanky wouldn’t fiddle with such an iconic character.
Of course. More nightmare fuel. A sawdust filled rabbit comes to life and leads Alice into madness. Also, it more than willingly participates in the Red Queen’s beheading-happy antics. And the teeth chattering. Dear god, the teeth chattering.
In all seriousness – Něco z Alenky is not the scariest film I’ve ever seen. And truthfully, it’s not that scary at all. But goddamn is it uncomfortable. Švankmajer uses stop motion excellently to portray a classic story in a very different way. Alice is the only human in the entire movie (unless you count her mothers legs at the very beginning of the film). The interactions with the surroundings and the other characters are really quite interesting, and Alice’s narration throughout is both unnerving and strangely calming – really helping out the dreaminess of the story. At 84 minutes, it’s not too long – but beware, this movie might not be for everyone. If you like weird movies and have Netflix instant, give it a watch.
Něco z Alenky
Scare Factor: 1/5
Lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes: Innumerable