During it’s premier at the Toronto Film Festival, the North American distribution rights for Peter Strickland’s In Fabric were purchased by art-house film entertainment company A24. While the film has scheduled screening dates within the US for Fantastic Fest and Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (TIFF), a theatrical release was not yet confirmed for Strickland’s consumerist-tale of horror.
Variety reports that A24 has set In Fabric for a 2019 release in American theaters. In Fabric‘s plot is detailed as:
A haunting ghost story set against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person, with devastating consequences.
The dress is sold to victims by a cryptic and malevolent cashier (Fatama Mohamed (Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy)) of a paranormal department store, watched over by a couple of off-putting bureaucrats. Victims are longing, yearning, helpless souls clawing to fill a void in their hearts, unable to resist the temptation of the baleful dress. With Lynch-ian sound design and cinematography paired with off-kilter comedy, In Fabric aims to entrance audiences with a concept so absurd that they’ll be caught off guard when the terror of the plot finally strikes.
Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy) disclosed some interesting trivia for In Fabric‘s origins and influence during a Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival.
While the story primarily circles around the imagery of an enchanted–specifically, cursed–red dress, the dress was not initially the inspirational imagery for the horror film. Mannequins from old department stores, resin dripping from their faces, were a particularly disturbing imagery that Strickland drew from as the original inspiration for the backdrop and imagery of the film. Horror media has used mannequins to serve as some of the most horrifying imagery and creatures, so it’s not far fetched how Strickland could draw inspiration of terror from the uncanny, lifeless, plastic humanoids.
Strickland has also stated that In Fabric is a film that, while made as a horror flick, aims to celebrate the life of being a consumer, and specifically to commemorate shopping as a central component to our lives. Oddly enough, Strickland also revealed that ASMR played a role in constructing the sound design and plot for the film, with select scenes focusing on an action’s isolated sound. In fairness, if you’ve seen a film like Eraserhead, ASMR is not the weirdest sound design choice a director could use for a film; however, instead of meshing ambient sounds on top of one another to overbear the viewers hearing, Strickland just has the audience subject themselves to one isolated sound.
Another motif for the film is the essence of being human in the sense of our physical bodies, but more specifically bodily fluids; to elaborate, our interactions with fabrics and clothing often involve various stains we leave as permanent or temporary impressions. This is something Strickland considered heavily when writing and directing the film.
Outside of Strickland’s (artistic) fascination with bodily fluids, ASMR, and reflection of his childhood fears, In Fabric is influenced from Herk Harvey and John Clifford’s Carnival of Souls. Another influence for the film’s creation is the final fight from Lethal Weapon between Riggs and Mr. Joshua; specifically, the part in the fight where Riggs gets Joshua in a judo head lock with his legs. The fight was so intense and raw that Strickland wanted to encapsulate the feeling he had from this scene with the intensity of human nature in his film.
The cast for In Fabric includes Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars and Game of Thrones), Haley Squires (I, Daniel Blake and Southcliffe), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Robocop 2014 and Without a Trace), and Richard Bremmer (The 13th Warrior and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). While we know the film will release in 2019, no specific date has been listed yet, but In Fabric has so far received positive praise and reviews after it’s viewings.
In Fabric was shown at TIFF alongside a multitude of other huge films, including John Carpenter’s new Halloween. We know most of you have been chomping at the bit to hear more about Michael’s return home, so you can check our review of Halloween at its TIFF screening here!