Hex’s Automata

Something sinister lurks in the wilds of Scotland, something persistent and determined which moves forward in its terrible quest, stepping to its own rhythm and purposefully defying the expectations and trends to which those of a more civilised society are tied, and so it is that the Fife based Hex Media unleash their fourth feature, Automata.

The creation of director Lawrie Brewster and writer Sarah Daly, not to be confused with the Antonio Banderas science fiction film of the same name, Automata enjoyed its world premiere on the Saturday afternoon of the FrightFest strand of the Glasgow Film Festival, the most epic and ambitious production yet mounted under the Hex banner.

Opening with an ambush of a Jacobite scouting party by a force of Redcoats, their anticipated hostility masks a more specific goal, an attempt to seize a specific object of great value, “the Infernal Princess,” a clockwork marvel crafted in 1786 by Alexander McIntosh in the likeness of Talia, daughter of the general who wished to preserve her as “forever young, forever beautiful.”

Two hundred and fifty years later, historian Doctor Brendan Cole, author of The Infernal Princess – Fact or Fiction? is contacted and asked to authenticate a discovery which may well be said object, and with his stepdaughter Rose they travel winding roads through the damp and mist to their destination, the remote Blackhall Estate, to conduct the investigation.

A huge stylistic departure from the monochrome mania of The Black Gloves despite the similar isolated country mansion setting, Automata is lushly lit in glorious streaming coloured lighting, the Infernal Princess flawless in her ruffled scarlet hooped ballgown despite the decades she has lain undiscovered in an underground chapel.

Her reputation for those who come into contact into her to succumb to “maladies and madness” preceding her, Brendan and Rose are ripe targets in their already awkward relationship where he as the adult should be the one responsible for setting and maintaining boundaries but instead allowing Rose to flirt with him, even encouraging it.

The Unkindness of Ravens‘ Jamie Scott Gordon once again Hexed as Brendan, Automata lacks the claustrophobic menace of that film, and if the actions and behaviour of Brendan and Rose (Victoria Lucie) seem forced and unnatural it is because they themselves are puppets in service of the calculating mechanism, the haughty beauty of the Infernal Princess embodied by The Black Gloves‘ Alexandra Nicole Hume.

Brewster a stated fan of the work of Roger Corman and Mario Bava, that has never been so apparent as in Automata with its hallucinogenic dream sequences of candlelit dread and tales of madness and abuse echoing through generations unable to break the cycle, a Gothic horror of uncomfortable impressions and misdirected love and obsession.

Automata is currently playing the festival circuit

The Glasgow Film Festival 2019 has now concluded



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons