SPOILER WARNING: The following contains many crucial plot details from recent horror movies X and Pearl. If you have not seen either, think of this article as an X-rated film that you should proceed to view with caution.
Horror fans were already praising writer and director Ti West in 2022 for resurrecting a long un-seen era of the slasher subgenre with his dark, dirty, 1979-set hit, X, before they were immediately treated with a peek at a prequel inspired by cinema’s more primitive age called Pearl in a post-credits teaser. Now, it appears that the indie horror hero is tackling another monumental time in Hollywood’s storied history with the final installment of this new trilogy called MaXXXine.
Already one of the most anticipated upcoming horror movies, there is still very little that we really know regarding the plot of this X sequel, which is currently in pre-production. However, what we do know has us excited to the maxxx. The following is a guide to all the most essential and confirmed facts about MaXXXine — starting with a peek at its leading lady.
Mia Goth Will Reprise The Title Role Of MaXXXine
I don’t know about you, but the first time I watched X, it was not until the end credits rolled when I found out Mia Goth actually played two different characters in the A24-produced horror flick from 2022. Not only did she don a wavy brunette hairdo as aspiring porn star Maxine, but she was also completely unrecognizable as the elderly and murderous Pearl, whom she would reprise in her own self-titled prequel with far less makeup this time. However, the upcoming installment of this period horror trilogy will mark the former character’s moment to shine on her own.
If you could not already guess from the cleverly spelled title alone, Goth is returning to play Maxine for a second and, supposedly, final time in MaXXXine. The London-born actor’s Scream Queen legacy actually dates back years before starring in Ti West’s trilogy, beginning with the UK-based post-apocalyptic thriller, The Survivalist, in 2015 and Gore Verbinski’s disturbing mindbender, A Cure for Wellness, the following year. After appearing in another unnerving British drama called Marrowbone in 2017, Goth went on top star in Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake for Amazon Studios and another creepy A24 film called High Life in 2018.
MaXXXine Takes Place After The Events Of X
As previously mentioned, Pearl, the follow-up to X, is a prequel. Also released in 2022, that September, the film — which Mia Goth also co-wrote with director Ti West — is set during World War I and chronicles the title character’s struggles to achieve her dreams of becoming a famous dancer as her own deep-seated, homicidal tendencies begin to take form. For anyone who has been dying to see what happens after the events of the first film, the wait is not far from over.
As West confirmed in a September 2022 interview with Bloody Disgusting, MaXXXine is a direct sequel to X that will allow audiences to catch up with what Goth’s character has been doing since she became the sole survivor of a horrifying Texas farmhouse massacre. Perhaps the film will also touch further on her past life as the daughter of a fundamentalist Christian preacher, which was revealed in the first film. The movie will also take the time-spanning franchise into a whole new decade.
MaXXXine Will Reflect How Hollywood Changed In The ‘80s
While focusing on a group of people trying break into the 1970s adult film industry, X was, at its core, really an homage to old school slasher movies of the time — especially 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Meanwhile, Pearl was a bonafide slasher itself, but was made to resemble the bright, Technicolor aesthetic of classic musicals like 1955’s Oklahoma. We cannot wait to see what creepy classics Ti West will pay tribute to with MaXXXine, which actually takes place at a time when the slasher was at its most definitive and fruitful.
According to IndieWire, this next film will follow Maxine as her ongoing pursuit for fame takes her to Los Angeles in 1985. An earlier article by the same publication features West claiming that the then-untitled MaXXXine would be about “how home video has affected people,” in the same way that X was about the effects of amateurish indie filmmaking at the time it was set and Pearl was about Old Hollywood’s dark hidden secrets. It really is refreshing to see a horror franchise offering potent historical commentary amid its more grotesque viscera.
Ti West Is Writing, Directing, And Producing MaXXXine
I think most fans would agree that the best horror movie franchises are the ones in which (nearly) every installment is helmed by the same filmmaker. For instance, there is Sam Raimi with the original Evil Dead movies trilogy, Wes Craven with the first four Scream movies, and…well, I guess there are not too many other examples, are there? That gives me all the more reason to be excited that Ti West’s X trilogy is a purely singular vision as he is returning as the writer, director, and producer (along with frequent collaborator Jacob Jaffe) of MaXXXine, according to Deadline.
West first broke out with his third feature-length effort, 2009’s The House of the Devil — another period horror flick and eerie slow-burn with allusions to ‘80s-era Satanic Panic — and followed that up with a straight-to-video sequel to Cabin Fever the same year. He later submitted his take on the haunted house (or hotel) genre with 2011’s The Innkeepers, teamed-up with some of his indie horror compatriots for 2012’s acclaimed anthology horror movie V/H/S, and put out his own found footage thriller in 2013 with The Sacrament. X actually marked the filmmaker's return to horror cinema after making the 2016 western, In a Valley of Violence, and helming episodes of horror TV shows like Wayward Pines and Amazon Prime’s Them.
MaXXXine’s Teaser Debuted At Pearl’s TIFF Premiere
Currently, MaXXXine is still just in the pre-production stages, having been officially announced in September 2022 at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is also where Pearl premiered. In fact — similar to how said prequel was teased at the end of X — it was after the credits of that very screening when audiences first learned that the new installment was going into production with a surprise sneak-peak, as Collider reported.
The MaXXXine teaser is one of the most creative trailers in recent memory, if you ask me. Bearing an authentic-looking, VHS-style graininess and featuring Animotion’s synth-drenched 1985 hit “Obsession,” it initially appears to show an overhead shot of Los Angeles’ unmistakable Mount Lee, where the Hollywood sign stands. However, the camera hovers over the hill and continues to pan out, revealing the text “MAXXXINE” in the iconic letters’ place.
It has been a while since trailer as cryptic as this one had me this excited for a film. Not to mention, rarely have I anticipated the third installment of a horror franchise this strongly, but what Ti West and Mia Goth have done with the story so far is astonishing. See how it all ends when MaXXXine hits theaters… eventually.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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