Mama’s EVIL Little Boy. “Mother” reviewed! (SRS Cinema / DVD)

A boy’s best friend…is his “Mother.”  DVD at Amazon.com

In the deep pocket of rural America, a son is born in a country home and over the years, the baby of the house lives a cossetted life by his mother.  Warped by her mollycoddling ways and unaffected by the death of his father, the now young man apathetically bends to his mother will whether she’s conscious of it or not.  He responds in unkind to overprotect his mother when an envious older brother derides their special son and mother bond and is murdered in cold bold.  As more years pass and his mother succumbs to her health deterioration, the son, now the last of his family, remains in solitary at the family home and the absence of his beloved mother haunts him as he processes his unnurtured and unhealthy sexuality onto the unwilling living and the unresponsive dead. 

In 2003, the NY-based indie horror filmmaker Michael P. DiPaolo gave us “Daddy,” an undead rape-revenge zombie-thriller that brought the corpse of an abusive father back from the grave to exact a fate far worse than death on his daughter and her friends who put an end to drunken state defiling of his little girl.   Three years later, DiPaolo releases to us “Mother.”  However, don’t expect this to a companion film connected to “Daddy.”  Instead, “Mother” is a whole new story with a whole new stylistic approach, including zero dialogue in a black and white frame – much like a silent movie but with more Foley and no corresponding continuous piano tunes. Ed Gein became the core inspiration for DiPaolo who retells the Plainfield, Wisconsin described Ghoul‘s horrifying deeds of exhuming corpses, creating trophies out of the remains, and even the slaying of two women, a tavern owner and a general hardware store clerk. DiPaolo self-produces the film under this Black Cat Cinema productions along with associate producer Zachary Balog and shoots the film most of the homestead around Cropseyville, New York, near Albany, and the surrounding area.

Comes no surprise that the actor who once portrayed the former Republican Vice President, Dick Chaney, for Damon Packard’s Fatal Pulse also plays the details likes of one of America’s most notorious murderers. The Buffalo, New York born John Karyus, who had a minor role in “Daddy,” reteams with DiPaolo to present a dialogue-less version of the life and death of Ed Gein by stepping into virtually his skin – that’s an Ed Gein joke in case you were paying attention. Karyus and DiPaolo don’t hold anything back in the peculiar biopic that dives deep into dismemberment madness, fascination killings, and the loss of motherly love. Half of the praise should be awarded to Nina Sobell as the son’s mother. Sobell not only plays mommy dearest but also the hardware store clerk and the tavern owner in an unrecognizable fashion. The up-in-age actress’s comfort level was high enough even for a nude scene in which Karyus has to dress her approaching older age and invalid body. Karyus might be on centerstage as the star of the show, but Sobell’s in the backstage manipulating the pullies, curtains, and supporting Karyus with different angles that give way to the avenues of an aggressor’s cloistered milieu. Other minor characters quickly come and go amongst the silence feature with costars in Jason McCrea as the bigger brother, Phil Sawyer Jr. as the best friend, Adam Zaretsky as the father, and Svetlana as the exhumed corpses brutally hacked away for her bone-afied trophies.

The distorted mind of Ed Gein must have been a surreal inverted world. I think Michael DiPaolo encapsulates a similar essence of the upside-down perspective seen through the eyes of a killer with what can be said to be his woven auteur’s arthouse tapestry. You would think no dialogue would drag the film through the monotonous much and show signs of repetitive tiresome, especially dressed in a colorless monochrome but the crafty cinematography and grisly gestures never waver interests as we’re along for the fall of man beheld as not only mother’s baby boy but also as her ardent admirer. Her presence was a tattered thin tether that kept him secure to reality and once she checked out, the abnormal fascinations that always laid dormant now flourishing with full force like an unchecked weed in an immaculate garden of prize-winning roses. The son goes from a chaperoned teetering-maligned individual to full-fledged grave robber and skin suit tailor, raping and ripping the flesh from dead bodies over the course of years, denoting just how psychologically paramount a mother’s care is for a boy in the balance of good and evil. DiPaolo more-or-less hits every note in the book in regard to Ed Gein’s past, tweaking a few historical moments for dramatization or budgetary limits, while still maintaining a professional code of conduct despite constructing the film on the cheap. DiPaolo definitely knows and understands what he’s doing and how to work the system as clearly seen between the tone and expression differences of 2003’s “Daddy” to 2006’s “Mother.”

First, there’s was the back form the dead “Daddy.” Now, there’s the spoiling to sociopathic “Mother.” A match made in Hell and both available on a region free home video DVD from SRS Cinema. The “Mother” release is presented in black and white on SOV 1.33:1 aspect ratio, reconstructed in an impressive 6-7 megabytes per second due partly because there is nothing to decode from a RGB color signal. Contrasting is good as you can greatly appreciate the spectrum between light and dark patches. Sporting no dialogue, the LPCM 2.0 stereo features slightly exaggerated Foley and a dissonant vocal score, some in the Russian language nonetheless, from the Moscow born, New York residing folk instrumental artist LJova (Lev Zhurbin). There’s clarity over ambiguity to the action-destined soundbites being conveyed even if a bit over-the-top as if to compensate for the no dialogue. The 76-minute film is coupled with a DiPaolo short film “Brutal Ardor” about a woman trapped inside her small apartment and an immense amount of despair living with a sexually overbearing and jealous husband. Also included in the bonus material is a making of featurette voiced over by DiPaolo as he goes through his creative process and techniques (and is also somewhat of a comedy track), a director’s commentary, the feature trailer, Michael DiPaolo film trailers, and other SRS trailers. Perfect for a double bill with DiPaolo’s “Daddy,” “Mother” is a cynical and desolation ark of biblical proportions adapted from a horrid torrent of truth.

A boy’s best friend…is his “Mother.”  DVD at Amazon.com

Evil is Starving for Your Parts! “Model Hunger” review!

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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.
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Buy Debbie Rochon’s first film “Model Hunger” at Amazon.com!