Former pin-up model Virginia “Ginny” Smith lives a solitary life on the street of a quiet Buffalo, New York suburban neighborhood. Her modeling past was prosperous, posing erotically with curves similar to that of pin-up queen Bettie Page, up until a newer, thinner model named Chloe undermines Ginny’s magazine spread career. Feeling abandoned, physically tortured, and seeking revenge throughout the years, Ginny eats up the competition from thin, to the fake, and to the virginal…literally! Sal and his mentally instable wife Debbie move in next door to Ginny. Soon after, Debbie suspects that her elder neighbor might be up to no good as people go into Ginny’s house but never come out. Chalking up her suspicions to psychosis, Sal ignores Debbie’s accusations until he mysteriously perishes in a car accident. Now nothing can stop Debbie from investigating into Ginny’s cold blooded habits.
“Model Hunger” is the long awaited directorial debut from long time scream queen and B-movie horror icon Debbie Rochon that publicly displays the dementedness clinging to the inner walls of her brain. Helming from off the screenplay penned by “Seed 2” producer James Morgart, Rochon quickly denotes the position of anti-supermodel figure, turning the thin, the snooty, and those who encourage that sort of behavior into nothing more than a gloppy stew of human chow. “Model Hunger” parodies the serious nature of young women whom go to extreme lengths of imitating the model beauties of today, but the film isn’t a clear-cut horror-comedy per say; instead, the genre of a bizarre cannibalism life style or social commentary revenge film might better suite the self-centering tone.
The premise most definitely classifies as a film Debbie Rochon would personally headline; Rochon personalized “Model Hunger” to her taste, but this time, Rochon’s sister-in-horror, Lynn Lowry (George A. Romero’s “The Crazies”) headlines as the vengeful, cannibalistic Ginny Smith. Lowry puts the hot in psychotic with a Southern Belle twist, delivering a memorable performance as a cougar-gone-cannibal and her character scores much of the Morgart screenplay dialogue that is overwhelmingly philosophical and ranting compared to a more downplayed principal character in the film’s third horror star – the veteran Tiffany Shepis. Shepis is Debbie next door and though that sounds like a title of a boorish 70’s porn, Debbie struggles with being burned out from a psychosis state that results in plagues of nightmares and prescribed pills. Aside from maybe the pill popping, nothing about Debbie’s persona brings to mind a porn starlet.
Contrary to a pair prominent female actresses who bring talent and experience from cult films such as “Tromeo and Juliet” and “Shivers” and a highlight of co-stars including the wonderful Michael Thurber (“The Sins of Dracula”), Brian Fortune (“Game of Thrones”), Carmine Capobianco (Psychos in Love) and “Chainsaw Sally’s” Suzi Lorraine casted ironically as a voluptuously large television host of “Suzi’s Secret,” the James Morgart script just couldn’t pull all the talent together. Points of unfocused storytelling noticeably stemmed from the first few scenes involving uncouth and dolled up cheerleaders practicing their routine, receiving their fundraiser packet, and going door-to-door soliciting. These segments run a natural course of supposedly setting up Lisa Dee (cheerleader Missy in the film) and Samantha Hoy (cheerleader Katie in the film) as the film’s leads. The squad practice could have been completely omitted and the story would have worked just the same without bamboozling the main players Lowry and Shepis. The script drags to a slow drift during the second act by not proceeding with much character progression other than Ginny slaughtering snared victim-after-victim to fill her icebox of superficial-inspired characters.
Honestly, the expectation of graphic violence had a sky high bar set upon the shoulders of Debbie Rochon’s inaugural film, but the special effects violence was unusually tame to a point, containing nothing too new and too extreme until near the finale that involves a naked Jehovah Witness and a medical grade scalpel. Aside from the lack of gross gratuity, the effects were borderline choppy; a prime example to consider would be the obvious rubber baseball bat, wielded by Ginny, that sprung forward and backward, like something out Looney Toon’s ACME company, when striking against an object, but “Model Hunger” was riddled, subtly throughout, with equipment flaws such as equipment shadows in scenes and a continuously shaky camera.
Wild Eye Releasing’s unrated DVD is presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. Aside from some awkward framing and a bitrate issue that causes a bit of blotchiness, the digital camera video looks good for the most part with an audio mix from “Friday the 13th” composer Harry Manfredini that’s well balanced. The director commentary, in the bonus features, is a highlight of the extras with Debbie Rochon letting you into her creative side of her film. The commentary is accompanied with deleted scenes, music video, an interview with Aurelio Voltaire, a Babette Bombshell short, trailers, and an Easter Egg! Overall, the underlining point is clear of reverse body-shaming in a very Hatfield versus McCoy scenario and Debbie Rochon, for her cherry-popping film, creates a solid horror entry that displays it’s quality scars and hiccups which the film, nor Rochon, apologizes for and that’s a filmmaker, and actress, I can get behind.