Movies & TV

Ari Aster Explains Midsommar And Why He's Not Going To Stop Crushing Skulls

The director got into the deep lore of his new film in a Reddit AMA.
IMAGE A24
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Midsommar is a film which leaves you with questions. What was the ending all about? Was Dani happy after all? How would you deal with being sewn into a bear suit? How practical is it to wear another man's leg skin as trousers?

Some of these questions were answered by director Ari Aster himself during a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread. You can read the whole thing here, which is worth doing for the exhaustive list Aster's put together of his favorite directors alone. These are the main takeaways.

Photo by A24.
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Oh, so that's how the May Queen stuff works

If you were a little bit lost as to how the lore of the Mayday festivities actually worked, you're not alone. U/bbqnachos asked: "My assumption is that this community gathers every year to do the normal May Fest activities since we see a bunch of different photos of the May Queens from the years. My question is what is different and unique for the specific event that happens every 90 years?"

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"The last ritual of the film is what happens every 90 years," Aster explained. "The rest is business as usual. Although it is suggested that there are more days of celebration to come. The movie doesn't span 9 days."

He's leaving horror behind for a bit...

Midsommar isn't a straight-up horror, really—it's more like a blackly comic psychological thriller—which does suggest that Aster fancies expanding his palette a bit. He said as much, though that doesn't mean he's completely done with horror films. "It might take me a few movies before I wind back around to it, but I love horror and I'm sure I'll be back," Aster said.

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Did Midsommar lead to you learning what a 'blood eagle' is, and immediately regretting it?

Yep. Sweet jumping Jehovah.

Nope, not going anywhere near the one pal.

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...and might be moving into comedy

Everyone's noticed how funny Midsommar is, and when Aster was asked straight-up if he fancied doing a comedy he was enthusiastic. "YES," he wrote. "And hopefully very soon."

That's not to say he's up for doing Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3. "Next one will either be a zonky nightmare comedy or a big, sickly domestic melodrama," he said in another answer. That said, he also said that one genre he wanted to get into was "animal movies". An Ari Aster animal film would presumably need the biggest "NO ANIMALS WERE HURT IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM" banner of all time.

It's definitely not a warning to Americans to cancel their European hols

Noting that Midsommar's been criticized by some people who thought its overall message was that Americans should be wary of other cultures—unfairly, it's important to add—u/CWFMAN asked: "How would [you] explain the film's relationship to travel and (extreme) cultural differences?"

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"I wouldn't want to explain anything there," Aster replied. "That said, I agree with you. I absolutely do not feel that the film's thesis is 'lucky Americans, stay in America.'"

Photo by A24.

The relentless skull-smashing isn't going anywhere

Between the decapitation by telegraph pole in Hereditary and the lads with the big hammer in Midsommar, characters' craniums tend not to have that long a shelf life in Aster's oeuvre. That's not about to change. "Head trauma will ALWAYS have a place in my films," Aster wrote.

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All the psychedelic stuff is based on first-hand experience

The trippy visuals and dead-on depiction of team shrooming dynamics didn't just come out of thin air. "Have you ever done psychedelics?" u/CannabisJibbitz asked. Aster replied: "Yup."

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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