Romantic notions about Swinging Sixties London were slashed to pieces at the Venice Film Festival Saturday with the premiere of "Last Night in Soho".
It is a very different role for Anya Taylor-Joy, the breakout star from last year's Netflix hit "The Queen's Gambit", who finds herself doused in gallons of blood in the new psychological horror.
But at its heart, the movie has a serious point to make about our rose-tinted views of the past, director Edgar Wright told journalists in Venice.
"It's dangerous to romanticise the past," he said.
"As you get further away from a decade, you tend to concentrate on the good things. The Sixties become about the fashion or Carnaby Street and reduced to, like, Austin Powers fancy dress. But everything bad that's happening now was happening then."
Wright made his name with comedies "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" that played with the cliches of horror and action films.
His new film, playing out of competition in Venice, takes a more serious approach.
It features a modern-day fashion student (played by Thomasin McKenzie) transported back in time to 1960s Soho in central London.
Initially intoxicated by the glamour of the time, things take a dark turn as she discovers the brutal misogyny suffered by her alter-ego (played by Taylor-Joy).
As it evolves into a slasher picture, the film keeps up a steady stream of classic songs from the period, which Taylor-Joy said was a particular pleasure for her.
"The first music that I really fell in love was the music of the Sixties," she said at a press conference.
"I tend to make playlists for my characters and for Sandy (her character) it was all the music I listened to when I was 16... It was a blast."
"Last Night in Soho" proved to be the last film for Diana Rigg, star of the iconic 1960s TV show "The Avengers", who died in September 2020.
"It's desperately sad that I won't be able to have another gossipy brunch with Dame Diana Rigg. The only thing I can take away is how lucky I was to work with her," said Wright.
"She had to finish her work on the movie -- she was such a professional," he added. "We were told she needed to finish very urgently and we knew what that meant without asking."