The TWCU, or Ti West Cinematic Universe, expands with an “X-traordinary origin story” for Pearl, the titular serial killer first introduced to audiences in A24’s SXSW breakout hit “X.” Mia Goth reprises the role in a prequel “Pearl” origin story to the ’70s-set slasher that debuted at SXSW 2022.
After “X” saw Pearl (Goth) murder an amateur adult film production in rural Texas, including Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi, and Jenna Ortega among the victims, Pearl’s roots will be uncovered in the upcoming film, in theaters September 16. Pearl’s pent up sexual frustration wrecks havoc on a group of Wold War II military veterans who reside on her Texas farm, setting the stage for her first massacre at the boarding house.
Writer-director West previously told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn that he found inspiration from Douglas Sirk melodramas and shot “Pearl” as a “Technicolor, ‘Mary Poppins’ kind of movie,” just, you know, with a whole lot more death.
“If ‘X’ is about the way this auteurist era of independent filmmaking is affecting people, ‘Pearl’ is sort of about the old Hollywood way that affected people,” West explained. “The way in which they enrich each other is all a part of the craft of the filmmaking. I wanted to do something where all of the crafts of the movie were their very apparent charms.”
West is already eying a third film set in the late ’80s, adding, “That one will be about how home video has affected people. I’m very proud of these.”
And the TWCU is just getting started: “I’m trying to build a world out of all this, like people do these days,” the filmmaker continued. “You can’t make a slasher movie without a bunch of sequels.”
Lead star Goth exclusively described her character of Pearl to IndieWire, sharing that she has a “lot of sympathy” toward Pearl and was determined to not fall back on “horror tropes” for a slasher.
“It was a pretty cathartic experience,” Goth explained, citing the realistic looking prosthetics used to transform her into an elderly version of Pearl for “X.” (Goth also played final girl Maxine.)
An IndieWire review for “X” called the feature an “ingenious rejiggering of genre archetypes” and praised the film for providing a “fascinating angle from which to interrogate the horror of aging in relation to sexual status.”
Check out the trailer for prequel “Pearl” below.
“Pearl” premieres September 16.