The Kirlian Witness (aka The Plants are Watching), Jonathan Sarno, 1978, 73:00, USA
Available online at kim.lv
29.06 – 06.07.2020
Presented with a video introduction by Kier-La Janisse, founder of Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies.
Available online for one week, view the feature film ‘The Kirlian Witness’ (aka ‘The Plants are Watching’) by Jonathan Sarno, with a video introduction by Kier-La Janisse, founder of Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. The film is a key reference to the ‘All Flesh is Grass’ project on view at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre.
Janisse writes of the film:
‘[I]mportantly, The Secret Life of Plants would act as the impetus for what remains the only horror film to foreground plant communication in crime-solving: Jonathan Sarno’s 1978 film The Kirlian Witness – later retitled The Plants are Watching – which is a deliberately paced, ethereal thriller set in a long-vanished version of New York City, with a score by a pre-Friday the 13th Harry Manfredini. A woman (Nancy Boykin) who owns a plant shop (in reality Plantworks, in its original location at the corner of Mercer and Waverly in Manhattan) and has an empathic relationship with a plant, is murdered – with only the plant as a witness. Her photographer sister (Nancy Snyder, who was then part of the Circle Repertory Company run by Lanford Wilson) adopts the plant following her sister’s death, and upon reading the book The Secret Life of Plants, begins investigating her sister’s death through various methods of communication with the plant, including Kirlian photography, ESP, and polygraph indicators.’
– Kier-La Janisse, ‘Murder Season: The Strange World of Vegetal Detecting’, byNWR, Vol. 5, (2019)