Scare Me
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Credit: Shudder

Look of the Week: Aya Cash's spooky Scare Me sweater

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Oct 30, 2020, 4:31 PM EDT

Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!

Horror has many indelible style moments that stand out across the last 100 years, from Tippi Hedren's Edith Head-designed skirt suit in The Birds to the recent Midsommar May Queen flower gown. Just because a movie is scary, it doesn't mean fashion has to be sacrificed. Furthermore, an endless budget is not required to serve a memorable look. Think Laurie Strode in effortless JC Penney jeans and button-down in Halloween or Barbara's timeless trench in Night of the Living Dead, both of which embody how a simple costume can speak volumes. And because it is Halloween weekend — aka the highlight of the spooky season — a new standout scary movie sartorial moment that is anything but simple requires celebrating.

Credit: Shudder

Scare Me is very aware of its origins, name-checking everything from An American Werewolf in London to paraphrasing Stephen King. Aya Cash and Josh Ruben — who also wrote and directed — play strangers whose paths cross while they are both seeking inspiration out in the wilderness. Both Fanny and Fred are horror writers at very different stages in their career; she is a best-selling author who has written what many outlets have named "The Best Horror Book of All Time," whereas Fred has the gem of a reductive idea. The pair first meet during the chilly daytime when they are both out for a run, which is the first indicator that Fanny's style is on point. Her attire is less Lululemon and more 1970s, which includes a bold yellow sweatband, two-tone track pants, and a highly covetable chevron jacket.

Other than this brief scene, Fanny spends the rest of Scare Me in one outfit that proves how far a costume can go when different layers are removed and added. The red poncho evokes Little Red Riding Hood symbolism, in part because they are out in the middle of the woods, but also because his story centers on werewolves. The power outage that causes Fanny to drop in on Fred — scaring him in the process — leads to a night of unnerving (and hilarious) storytelling enhanced by the lighting, production design, and costumes.

Credit: Shudder

Costume designer Sean Dermond selected garments from Cash's own closet, which adds authenticity to the piece while also speaking to the constraints on this type of filmmaking. The star spoke to SYFY FANGRRLS earlier this month and explained the financial reason behind this: "The clothes are my own because on these low-budget movies, there's really just such a small budget for clothes. And I love clothes, so I often will bring stuff and let them choose from that." She wore her own vintage pieces for Interview magazine and Photobook shoots while promoting Scare Me and Season 2 of The Boys, further highlighting her fashion credentials.

Pulling focus on the poster and whenever she is on screen, the black and white sweater is part of the "Handsy" capsule collection by Brooklyn-based boutique Meg that was first released in 2017. While Cash noted she purchased the sweater several years ago, she encourages fans of this instant horror movie costume classic to message the brand. "Small businesses are struggling right now. [So support] a female-owned small business in Brooklyn. Maybe she'll start making them again if she gets enough requests." Small Business Saturday is a month away, but no need to wait until then — and while you're there, check out the Breast Cancer Awareness Month sweatshirt and the very useful "You're On Mute" tee.

Credit: Shudder

Not only is this sweater cool af, but the black and white design ensures Cash stands out even when the cabin is at its darkest. Whether lit by the fire, flashlight, or an imaginary TV light, it often looks like the hands are moving. It isn't quite a skeletal impression of a hand, and this image adds to the unsettling aesthetic of the dimly lit room. This is how you serve a spooky sartorial high five.

Shifting from hilarious to terrifying, the tone of Scare Me is matched by the use of the space and the physicality of the performers. When a third person joins Fred and Fanny — the hilarious Chris Redd as Carlo — the sweater is ditched, revealing the red crew neck is from a striped & Other Stories tee. The red has been peeking out of the sweatshirt, adding a pop of color that is also the universal horror code for danger. The classic Breton stripes — complete with French stitching reading "Amour Moderne" — is juxtaposed against the unique horror adjacent hands print. It is just as eye-catching but less unsettling than the sweater.

Credit: Shudder

Bold lipstick during a devilish storytime is another strong stylistic choice that adds to the illusion of being in the creepy tale rather than just witnessing it. The line between what is real and what is imagined blurs as the movie progresses. One of Scare Me's strengths is in these exaggerated movements that take a familiar format and doubles down on the ghoulish elements. So when the story and mood shift again in the final arc, it is matched by Fanny's return to the Red Riding Hood-adjacent poncho.

Using the image of a familiar fairy tale that forms a foundation for children's capacity to be scared, it is also worth noting that the themes of this movie dig into the construction of horror stories. Like all genres, there are expected story beats and familiar archetypes. To become great in a sea of writers is incredibly hard. So while Fred's lazy idea to watch movies to become a good horror writer is to be avoided, Scare Me and Fanny's "Handsy" sweater are far from derivative. If you're looking for something to watch this Halloween weekend or want to get in the spooky season outfit spirit, then Scare Me is for you!

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