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Unholy Women: The Mafu Cage

  • Barbican Centre EC2Y 8DS (map)

A deeply underrated horror that looks at the twisted dynamic that emerges between an astronomer and her psychotic sister when they live in the large house they inherited.

A wildly compelling horror film that looks at the intense and unusual relationship between a psychotic woman and her sister living together. One of only three films directed by Karen Arthur, it’s an intense close-up on an co-dependent and toxic relationship of enablement.

Astronomer Ellen (Lee Grant) lives with her feral-like sister Cissy (Carol Kane) in the crumbling mansion they’ve inherited from their late anthropologist father, complete with a large cage in the middle of the living room, where Cissy keeps her pet ‘mafus’ (monkeys). Cissy lives in a bubble of her own creation, and reacts aggressively to any attempt to alter her world. Ellen, who’s been taking care of her since their father passed, tries to edge her into adjusting to normal society. When Ellen starts seeing a co-worker, Cissy feels threatened and the suitor finds him in the centre of a violent retribution.


The Final Girls present Unholy Women,  a season of films with mould-breaking women that challenge notions of femininity, control and hysteria.

Earlier Event: June 28
Mirror, Mirror
Later Event: July 12
Unholy Women: Dementia + Panel