Here is the transcript of Darrell Buxton’s introduction to new horror film by Scream Queen Debbie Rochon in her directorial debut. This introduction was done during the Fantastiq weekend of Derby Film Festival.
Model Hunger is out on Region 1 DVD on July 12th – Go buy it!
We offer you some crazy stuff during the Fantastiq weekends, and if you were here for the 2015 festival you can’t fail to remember our pick-up from Southend’s ‘Horror on Sea’ event, the outrageous modern grindhouse splatter sensation KILL, GRANNY, KILL! Well, as is our wont here in Derby, we’ve picked up another granny for you this year.
I attended Paul Cotgrove’s ever-entertaining Southend horror bash once again last January and, as well as BANJO and THE SNARLING which also form highlights of the Fantastiq bill, I saw the movie we’re about to parade before your disbelieving gaze. It’s called MODEL HUNGER, and if you like the idea of KILL, GRANNY, KILL! uprooting itself from the backwoods and relocating to an urban city environment, you’ll find yourselves in horror heaven.
MODEL HUNGER is the directorial debut of Debbie Rochon, the Scream Queens’ Scream Queen. In the recent past Debbie has documented her career in the pages of Fangoria magazine, in the no holds barred monthly column ‘Diary of the Deb’. At last count her IMDb acting credits numbered around 250, putting her on a par with legends like Sir Christopher Lee and John Carradine. Hell, she’s been in nearly as many movies as Eric Roberts during the 21st century to date! And surely you all remember Deb from SCREECH OF THE DECAPITATED, DR. HORROR’S EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS, ANAL PAPRIKA 3: MÉNAGE-A-DEATH, SANDY HOOK LINGERIE PARTY MASSACRE, SCROTAL VENGEANCE, and – lest we forget – TALES FROM THE CRAPPER.
Deb’s a real trooper, mind you. Despite her resume giving the impression that she will act for food, should you happen upon one of these video bargain bin or pound shop DVD shelf fillers, whatever else the movie in question happens to fling at you, you’ll emerge with a clear vision of Ms. Rochon’s usually first-rate, committed and determined contribution forefront in your mind. Take the 2014 British flick SERIAL KALLER, for instance. Plot? Yes, that old standard again, “psycho offs the working girls at Babestation in various gruesome ways”. So far, so ho hum. But Debbie transforms SERIAL KALLER into something very special indeed, with an incredible turn as an ageing waitress harbouring dreams of working those late-night TV sex phone lines herself, convincing us that her cougar-like ambitions are vital to her life and self-respect. Her contribution to SERIAL KALLER’s deranged final act lifts the movie several extra hellish notches, leaving you in no doubt that she approached this cheap little slasher item as though she had secured the role of Lady Macbeth or stolen a prestigious lead earmarked for Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren.
Debbie has shown such ambition throughout her career, and while quick to praise other talents crossing her working path, will call out producers or directors with whom she disagrees or who simply aren’t capable of the task in hand, even if that task is a picture about mega-mammaried Martian mutants on a budget of $1.98. So it came as no surprise when she took up the directorial reins on MODEL HUNGER. Debbie is an easy target for the scummier echelons of horror fandom, and constantly comes in for heaps of abuse and insults, which of course she is more than able to fend off, ignore, or turn back on her critics – but I’m pleased to say that MODEL HUNGER has been the recipient of worldwide praise, and this first foray into directing – which could have proven a focus for the latest barrage of hostility and personal attacks – has managed to silence any doubters simply by virtue of its quality.
In using the word “quality” there, I can sense the 42nd Street wannabes in the audience getting a tad antsy! Don’t worry, grindhousers, MODEL HUNGER gets my nod because of, rather than in spite of, its sleazy, gory, seriously shocking aspects. It’s a perfect choice for Fantastiq’s late, late slot and guaranteed to satisfy the primal urges of the basest blood-and-guts devotee. No need to drool and nod along in recognition, we know who you are. But there’s so much more to MODEL HUNGER than mere depravity. Debbie seems cool and assured behind the camera, building the story with effortless effect, cranking up the violent set pieces at just the right junctures, and wrenching quite, quite astonishing turns out of 70s legend Lynn Lowry and former Troma pin-up Tiffany Shepis. Fans of THE CRAZIES, SHIVERS, SCORE or I DRINK YOUR BLOOD will question my judgement here, but Lowry has never been better – the role of former catwalk queen Ginny Reilly seems to fit her like a Gucci gown, and she achieves a proper, layered, affecting performance in this featured part which could so easily have gone down a grotesque Baby Jane route.
Shepis, meanwhile, is the absolute heart and soul of the film, with superb, subdued and understated playing as the troubled neighbour caught up in the mayhem. And for the John Waters fans in the audience – that’ll be all of you, then – we even get a character who makes Divine seem demure, portrayed by the irrepressible Babette Bombshell, a cross-dressing self-promoter who styles himself “entertainer, artist, satirist, cult movie star, and proprietor of the world’s only vacation getaway for ghosts”.
If we’ve got you ravenous for MODEL HUNGER by now, prepare for a feast of gourmet grindhouse gluttony. The movie’s tag line reads “Size zero is a bitch”. We’ll discover whether the same can be said for Lynn Lowry as this year’s new entrant on QUAD’s ever-increasing psycho pensioner register. Enjoy this gory gem – and do not eat the home cooking…