Rapture October 13, 2022
Marta Fernández Muro
1 Hr., 45 Mins.
n Rapture (1979), a horror movie splashy declared a classic by director Iván Zulueta’s onetime collaborator Pedro Almodóvar in recent years, a dissatisfied, heroin-addicted horror-film director, José (Eusebio Poncela), receives a stretch of film reel and a house key from Pedro (Will More), the amateur-filmmaker brother of an ex (Marta Fernández Muro) he’s met only a couple times, in the mail. The gesture prompts some flashbacks to
their odd handful of encounters. Then it leads to a full reconnection, much of it motivated by Pedro’s befuddlement around how his camera — which recently turned on by itself while he was sleeping and kept on recording — has been acting of late. He’s particularly intrigued by a mysterious, maybe even conscious red blot that keeps showing up at ominous intervals in his footage, and how he seems to wake up discernibly weaker than he’d been before going to bed — like someone had drained him of some of his blood while he dozed.
That’s about as much a narrative Rapture has. It’s the kind of dreamily constructed movie where dread hangs over proceedings that move so slowly and obliquely that you can’t always be sure what’s happening. You learn to make peace with that indirectness. I didn’t find Rapture as immersively creepy as its champions do; I’ll fess to having a problem staving off creeping-in boredom. Still, I found the film’s use of the camera as a practically vampiric force, literally sapping the life out of the people whose lives orbit around it, to be compellingly provocative here, especially as it dovetails with the free shooting up of heroin — an addiction Zulueta shared behind the scenes.
In Rapture, an all-consuming dedication to your art can be as destructive as it can be exciting. What are you supposed to do when the very thing that motivates you in life proves more personally harmful than healthy? Zulueta never again made a movie; his next few years would see most of their notoriety coming from his memorable designs of promotional posters for Almodóvar’s movies. But that aforementioned guiding question continues reverberating long after you’ve finished Rapture, a tech-horror movie that walked so that films like Pulse (2001) and Ringu (1998) could run. So do its final images, if not as much anything else. B