Monday, July 25, 2016

The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom

The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom

The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom is about a woman named Laurie who after being attacked a year ago now suffers from agoraphobia. What she soon realizes over the course of 3 fateful days is that there may be more to fear inside her own home when an intruder begins to torment her.
It's ambitious for such a low budget film to do a period piece like this. The 1980's don't seem that long ago but technology and style has changed so much that the production design would require a lot of attention to detail and the film crew pulled it off perfectly. The time period was presented wonderfully without any in your face moments that scream, "see! It's 1988, see!" I can't say the same for some bigger budget productions I've seen recently who go out of their way to make sure you know it's the 80's, so big kudos to the filmmakers here!
The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom is also largely a one person show with Shannon Scott as Laurie on screen for almost the entire run time and she has the enormous responsibility of getting the viewer to care about what's going on. And Shannon Scott succeeds in a huge way. This actress is extremely likeable and very talented, She comes across as funny, sweet, and very charming. She's a classic girl next door who gives a tense, convincing, and heartbreaking performance once the 'torment' begins. This is one of those movies where you want to yell at the screen and jump in to help the main character, it's no surprise that Shannon Scott won best actress at Freak Show Horror Film Festival.
The music is a spine tingling mix of a distant emergency siren and the sound you feel when adrenaline rushes through your body when your scared. It's a compelling compliment to the dread and frantic antics of Laurie as she struggles keep her composure.
There's also some nice playing with light and dark in the film. Whenever there seems to be someone in the house early on it suddenly seems slightly darker than the scene before and when the intruder shows up he seems to come out of the darkness. In contrast, Laurie always looks bright and well lit until shadows take over the film as night falls. I can't say if these were concious decisions or merely happy accidents but it's something I noticed and it worked!
The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom is an extremely satisfying watch and well made horror film with a well placed nod to Halloween, a villain who resembles Kane Hodder, and solid songs to represent the era and a musical score that does the same. There are creepy moments, scenes that are hard to watch, and a well paced build up of events all surrounding a sympathetic lead character. That's what makes this film such a great watch for horror fans. Luckily star Shannon Scott and writer/director Mark Dossett are working together again on his next film and based on what I saw in The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom I can't wait to see it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

INTERVIEW: Debbie Rochon

I was very happy to get the chance to connect with the great Debbie Rochon and discuss her career and new film/directorial debut Model Hunger. Debbie is an absolute indie horror legend and looking over her IMDb page is mind boggling with 250 actress credits and no less than 15 films in various forms of development. Whether it be her time at Troma, Fangoria Radio with Dee Snider, or her award winning column Diary of the Deb, Debbie Rochon has more than a lifetime in horror behind her and she's only in her forties. Add a directing credit to her resume and she shows no signs of slowing down.

How long were you thinking about directing a film and what was it about the Model Hunger script that made you decide it would be your directorial debut?

DR: I have always had my sights on directing but it had to be something special and unique. I had offers before but the scripts were very flat and typical. When James Morgart sent me the script for Model Hunger I couldn't put it down and it was something I could really get behind and add so much to. I immediately knew this was the film I wanted or rather had to make and could live with for the years it would take from start to finish.

What films and/or filmmakers influenced your direction of Model Hunger and what was the most surprising lesson you learned being a first time director?

DR: I have always been a huge fan of the NYC underground movies from the 70s and 80s. Also Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch and John Waters are huge influences for me. The most surprising lesson I learned making the movie was how incredibly creative being a director can be. As an actress you have a lot of creative input but as a director you have say over every aspect of the movie and I really loved that. I love details and that was the most fun, creating tiny details that people might get or they might not get but either way it's OK because they are there for those that see them.

Both Lynn Lowry and Tiffany Shepis give emotional and strong performances in Model Hunger. Even the younger actresses demonstrated real fear when Ginny (Lowry) got a hold of them. What preparations as a director were needed to bring out such strong performances from your actors and was there anything you said to them to get them in that frame of mind?

DR: I rehearsed a lot with the younger actors in the film. I really needed them to be on point and in the right mode for the scenes to work. Without the rehearsals I think it might not have been as visceral. Lynn and Tiffany bring a lot of experience so working with them was more about giving them space, direction when needed, and as many takes as they needed. They were both so incredibly prepared so it was a joy to see.

You have over 250 film credits to your name and you always manage to give such intense and committed performances. Where do you draw the energy and creativity from to constantly be at the top of your game and is there a performance or two that you are particularly proud of?

DR: I always try to bring everything I have to a role. I may not always succeed but I always give it my all. I think having had so many difficult times and situations in my early years really gives me a lot of angst to draw on. I love working on characters and finding their flaws and vulnerabilities. Even crazy killers have them. Hard to name just a couple of performances because sometimes you can love a role but the movie didn't turn out as well as you hoped it would. But roles where the movie came together along with my roles would include American Nightmare, Nowhere Man, Colour From the Dark. There might be more but those jump out when I think about the work put into the character and the movie turning out so well.

You've overcome a lot in your life and achieved a lot as well, making a living as a working actress and becoming a cult movie icon, and now having directed your first film. Have you ever thought about writing your memoirs?

DR: Yes. This has been an on going project. I do get side tracked by other projects but I indeed am working on that as well. I realized I couldn't condense everything and still bring the readership into the depths of the experiences by trying to write everything in one book. My beginning years as a homeless teen would be a book unto itself I realized. Too many stories and intense experiences to just skim over it all.

And finally, what upcoming projects do you have coming up that we should keep an eye out for?

DR: Thank you so much for this interview, I appreciate your thoughtful questions. Coming up next will be a few different projects all extremely different in their styles and substance; MALEVOLENT, NIGHTMARE BOX, KILLER RACK and DEATH HOUSE are a few to look for in the near future!

Thank you so very much to Debbie for taking the time to chat with me! Be sure to check out her directorial debut Model Hunger which is available now on DVD and keep an eye out for her many upcoming projects (Killer Rack is a must see, more on that coming soon). To keep up with her ever busy career be sure to follow Debbie on Twitter at @DebbieRochon and Facebook at @DebbieRochonNewsPage.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Oct. 23rd

This is a snapshot review of a supernatural thriller called Oct. 23rd. The short film is based on a true story and is about Karen Fernhill (Amanda Wyss), who after telling her story to family and doctors on Oct. 23rd 2011, slipped into a coma and remains asleep to this day. Watch Oct. 23rd here.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


This is a snapshot review of a short horror/comedy film called DINNER. A woman heads out for a date, will she make it to dinner or will she become dinner? Watch DINNER here.