‘Suburban Gothic’, From The Director of ‘Excision’, Is A Likeably Wiseass Horror-Comedy

“Meanwhile, landscaper Hector (Mel Rodriguez) and his crew accidentally dig up a child’s skeleton in the family’s backyard, unleashing a vengeful spirit that first makes its presence known via visions and nightmares suffered by Raymond, who as a child used to experience “paranormal stuff.” He enlists a similarly caustic local misfit, goth-styled bartender Becca (Kat Dennings, of “2 Broke Girls” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”), to help him guide the ghost toward eternal peace before it wreaks total havoc.”

 

-From the Variety.com review by Dennis Harvey

Wow, this doesn’t sound at all like 2012’s Excision (the début feature from Richard Bates Jr.), but it sounds like fun. Big selling points for us: he got John Waters back in the cast AND Jeffrey Combs (who per IMDB, plays a doctor; Combs always shines playing doctors*, as Re-Animator and its two sequels, not to mention House on Haunted Hill, proved) in supporting roles. The Soska Sisters have cameos! Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robocop, and the deeply disturbing Dead End) has a lead role. Matthew Gray Gubler (Life After Beth and Criminal Minds) won the Festival Trophy for Best Actor at Screamfest 2014, for this movie, too.

We’re all in on January 30th, when this horror-comedy hits VOD!

To read Variety.com’s entire review, click the “View original” link in the lower left.

cool-assgothichouse_day_stock.jpg

The photo is not in the actual movie, it’s just a really cool-ass gothic house/home.

 

*He REALLY shines when he’s playing Edgar Allan Poe, too.

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The Sick Short Film That The VERY Sick Feature Film Excision (2012) Is Based On Is Off Vimeo

September 2013 Update!
Goddamnit! Yep, thanks to those who alerted me, I checked with Vimeo and it’s not so much that my link doesn’t work (it doesn’t) but that someone, I assume Richard Bates Jr., took down the 2008 short film from Vimeo. I scoured Vimeo for about 20 minutes and it ain’t there.  I could describe it, but I’d just be parroting the Wikipedia description of the plot (which you can read if you want to).  This sucks and I’m sorry I took so long to look into it. I’m not taking this piece down, though, because other than not having a link to the film, it’s relevant. Only thing that’s changed is that I’ve seen the movie (and heard the feature-length commentary) Excision.  The short film has the same plot, just with added scenes (some of them really, really nasty), and a slightly different reaction by the mother at the ending. When I watched the 2012 film, I realized the ending and several other points had been totally spoiled for me, and wished I’d seen the movie first, then the short (though they were really, REALLY hard to wait for). I’m picking up the Blu-ray if it goes down in price.  I will keeping poking around online to try to find the short film, and also see if it’s on the Blu-ray (which, in a rare occurrence, Netflix actually got in on the official release date, not months later). By the way, the feature film-length Excision is also much dirtier and gorier, to the point where I had to look away a couple of times.
If I find a legal link to watch either film (short or feature-length) online I’ll put it up.  Until then, I highly recommend the Blu-ray, which is jammed with bonus features.  Also, I’ll try to keep you updated on my search online.
-Mrs. Horror Boom

 

…from the trailers, press material, and the clips, I’m pretty sure it’s going to stick fairly close to the plot of the gruesome short film. Both the (multiple) award-winning 2008 short and the feature film were written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr.

However, let me back up a little first.  You may have seen my piece on the upcoming extreme—and extremely sick, to the best of my knowledge –horror movie Excision  that I posted on September 18th.  You can find out more details about the movie if you’d like by clicking here to read my long-ass original post, which also contains the twisted, twisted Red Band trailer for the upcoming movie (with some links to clips, and some screen caps).


I could only feel growing dread as and horror as I watched Pauline’s already slippery grasp of reality dissolve. By the last scene, exactly what I was afraid was going to happen …happened.

I was happily surprised to be able to locate the 18-minute film of the same title available to watch.  Right now it can only be found on Vimeo—or at least that’s the only place I could find it. I watched it, and I recommend it …if you have a strong stomach. If the short movie were rated, it might be able to get an “R”, depending on what kind of mood the MPAA was in the day they watched it.  I’d better not get started on the shitty way the MPAA treats indie films VS. mainstream films or this piece will transform into one long rant.  Anyway, I’d definitely feel uncomfortable (at best) watching it with anyone besides my husband (and a few close friends who also love the genre and whom it takes a lot to offend —they know who they are). It’s not just the copious amounts of blood that make Excision  twisted and sick;  for instance, calling Pauline’s sexual fantasies and dreams ‘kinky’ is a laughable understatement. We’re also not quite sure if she can draw a distinction between reality and fantasy …though I’d definitely decided the answer to that by the time the credits for the short rolled.

The short film is just as sick and twisted as I’d hoped, but also had a strong emotional core. High school student  Pauline definitely is, as John Waters says in the trailer, a VERY troubled little girl.  Delusional, yes. Disturbed, most definitely. A budding psychopath?  Probably.

Still, Pauline has feelings, and we discover she wants her mother Phyllis’ love and even some understanding. Her passive father knows she exists, but makes no attempt to bond with her and talks at her, not to her.  Phyllis lavishes all of her maternal love and attention to Pauline’s little sister Grace,  whose health is frail due to her cystic fibrosis.  There was one scene, during which Pauline happens to overhear her mother’s casually heartless comments to her husband about her older daughter (though she says some cold-hearted things to her face at the dinner table, too) where she reacts with such utter devastation that I almost felt like giving Pauline a hug, or letting her cry on my shoulder. She’s definitely hurting. The actress playing Pauline in the short film, Tessa Farmer, is fearless and utterly convincing.  AnnaLynne McCord had her work cut out for her, but from even the small amount I’ve seen of her performance, she rises –or descends, depending on your POV,  I guess– to the occasion surprisingly well. Apparently (according to the director in this SFF 2013 interview) she also shaved her head for the role. That takes serious  balls for any actress to do, let alone one who usually is cast as a sex-kitten. (Update: I have since discovered, by listening to the commentary, that McCord did not, in fact, shave her head but wore a bald cap. She’s still great in the film, though.)

However, I could only feel growing dread as and horror as I watched Pauline’s already slippery grasp of reality dissolve. By the last scene, what I was afraid was going to happen, happened. This might be a good time to point out that the feature film’s plot will probably be close to the plot in the short film. The ending to the feature film is hinted at with some of the moments in the trailer—hell, even some of the art and stills released give you a hint.  I think a key character is going to have a very different reaction to a horrible  fucking turn of events in the feature film.  There’s plenty of bits and dialogue from the red band trailer in the original short. If you want to go into the full-length movie absolutely, totally 100% squeaky-clean when you watch it, you may want to reconsider watching the short film version of Excision.  Though again, if you’ve been following the movie closely in anticipation of the release date, there probably won’t be any huge shocks in the first place.

I’m looking forward to seeing the full movie flesh out (so to speak) the short film, adding new characters (I’d personally see it just for John Waters), more dark humor, and more of Pauline’s …um, vivid fantasy life. Yes, the above image was from one of her happy daydreams in the 18-minute short. In fact, if the short is any indication, the movie is going to be even more disturbing, intense, and horrifying.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the short film is included in the DVD extras, but if you can’t wait (I couldn’t), or want to get a stronger feel before you decide whether or not to see the feature film, now you know where to find it…

Also, they released a second clip from the film, and I found it on Dread Central. This is a short clip, but it features John Waters, PLAYING A CHURCH MINISTER,  doing his best to ‘counsel’ Pauline. Check it out here!