This Friday (5th July) sees the release of Midsommar, the hotly anticipated follow-up to Ari Aster’s acclaimed 2018 supernatural horror Hereditary. The film centres around a group of young people who get more than they bargained for when they embark on a field trip to a remote pagan community in the Swedish countryside, and judging by the trailer should feature plenty of psychological chills and spills.
But what’s with that name? Everyone knows that you don’t spell ‘midsummer’ like that. Yes, Midsomer Murders had an odd spelling as well, but that was named after the fictional village in which the series was set. So, why is Aster’s film titled Midsommar? Here, we explore the strange (and slightly irritating) phenomenon of misspelt movie monikers…
1. Midsommar (2019)
The more observant among you may have already guessed why this film is named as it is. ‘Midsommar’ is Swedish for ‘midsummer’, and seeing as Ari Aster’s horror flick is set in Sweden – and in the middle of summer, no less – that kind of makes sense. Except it doesn’t, because the film is in English and therefore should really have an English title. Perhaps they should rename the Swedish language version Midsummer, just to confuse people.
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Quentin Tarantino’s Second World War romp is probably better known for its bizarre title than for how good it is – which is a shame because it’s very good. Appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman shortly after the film’s release, the director failed to give a satisfactory explanation for the peculiar name, saying only that Inglourious Basterds was “the Tarantino way of saying it”. But surely if that was the case, wouldn’t there be an F-word in there somewhere?
3. Pet Sematary (1989/2019)
Neither Mary Lambert’s 1989 original nor Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch’s 2019 remake managed to spell ‘cemetery’ correctly – but that can be excused because both films were, of course, adapted from Stephen King’s horror novel of the same name. To be honest, we don’t mind that King misrepresented the word either, as it was a reference to how the kids in his book spelt the name of the graveyard in which they buried their furry friends. And we like creepy stuff like that.
4. Terminator Genisys (2015)
We’d love to tell you about how the fifth film in the Terminator series had to be renamed because Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford et al objected to the use of their band’s moniker, but alas that wasn’t the case. No, Genisys is named after the fictional Cyberdyne Systems’ sinister new application software, the secrets of which need to be uncovered by Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and her cronies. That still doesn’t explain why the name of the software was misspelt in the first place. Maybe it just sounded more futuristic.
5. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
We’re sure that plenty of people have spelt ‘happiness’ with a Y in school tests and such like, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong – just ask Chris Gardner. In Gabriele Muccino’s adaptation of the US entrepreneur’s book, Gardner (played by Will Smith) is seen remonstrating with the owner of his son’s day-care centre over the fact that a banner on the wall misspells ‘In pursuit of happiness’ – a phrase taken from the United States Declaration of Independence. Happy, Gardner was not.
6. Se7en (1995)
David Fincher’s crime thriller had a lot going for it – a twisty plot, an impressive cast, a head in a box – so why its marketing team felt the need to draw more attention to the film by throwing that figure 7 into the name is anyone’s guess. The reason behind it has never really been explained, so we can only assume that they were inspired by the Nineties dance combo 2 Unlimited. According to rumours, there were plans to make a sequel to Se7en – however, the project was shelved because they couldn’t find a way to squeeze an 8 into Eight. Maybe.