All these lame horror clones that make it to theaters not cutting it for you? They’re all crap if you ask me. I haven’t been satisfied with mainstream horror output in years. Setting my sights on indie horror has yielded much more entertaining results. Indie horror out of New Jersey is even better, it must be something in the water, or better yet, the tomatoes! The most recent film out of Jersey that I had the chance to check out was Mary Horror, a Ryan Scott Weber production. For horror fans, this film literally has it all: murder, a psychiatric hospital, a witches spell book, and someone even loses and eyeball!
Mary Horror exhibits some of the most technically sound independent film work I’ve seen. Writer/Director Ryan Scott Weber and cinematographer Ryan Coyle soar when it comes to shot composition and incorporating the subtle lighting and Jersey exteriors. Since the movie was filled with interesting settings and the use of real locations such as a hospital and Bernards high school, it all contributed to the realism of the film. The filmmakers were able to build the viewers anticipation as they used their production techniques to suck us into a world that we all could relate to – high school. But that’s only the beginning before things spiral out of control for Mary Horowitz. Yes, I said Horowitz…you’ll see.
The actors took their jobs very seriously and it was clear that they were all in sync with Weber’s vision for the film. Susie Duecker, the actress who played Mary Horror herself, was quite good. It was fun to watch her become so involved in her character. Her transition from typical high school girl to an extremely unhinged one was ghastly and sublime. In my book she really understood the character which is a delicate balance since another actress may have gone on screen acting like a complete over the top psycho and that wasn’t the idea. Credit must also go to Ryan Coyle for the makeup as well as the crew in the costume and wardrobe department. Duecker was creepy as hell when she officially became Mary Horror. I only wish mainstream horror filmmakers could take the hint that simplicity can leave such an impression and we don’t need to see an hour and a half of lame CGI for the film to be unnerving.
The kickass makeup and practical effects were not used frivolously. The film has an old school horror flair, and although it doesn’t take itself too seriously in some scenes (like the one where Weber himself plays an EMT who beats up his co-worker while being interviewed on TV by a reporter) it still retains it’s spookiness. Without a huge budget, Weber managed to use subtle lightning and dutch angles to create the eerie atmosphere of the film. I especially dug a scene that utilized a strobe lighting effect as Mary was about to “interact” with 2 other characters. What tied it all together like The Dude’s rug was the cinematic quality of Scott Vincent’s score. Some parts were so triumphant and joyful, but still sent the message that all is not going to be well.
Mary Horror is filled with cool cameos. Some of the quick scenes were filmed at Monster Mania while others were full on roles! You’ll see Patricia Quinn, Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, Jersey girl and Bernards H.S graduate Deanna Russo, as well as a hilarious cameo from Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson in the film.
Up next from Weber is the sequel to Mary Horror, Sheriff Tom vs. The Zombies. You can see the preview to this if you go to the showing in Bernardsville on 11/20!
A castle themed exterior seemed fitting for Chiller Theatre. The expo’s relocation to the Sheraton in Parsippany turned out to be positive on all levels. Lines were still long, but not as long and cramped as they were previously. Forget about parking at the hotel, even if you got there early you still had to park across the street. That’s not even a bad thing for a couple of reasons. Parking was free no matter where you parked and at least there WAS parking available. So in some respects this was a positive step forward. If they decide to move again it will have to be to some place really big like Metlife Stadium. (That is sarcasm in case you didn’t sense it.)
Chiller has grown to become such a huge iconic event. I’ve been going since I was a kid and it really has become a mega-con. While Monster Mania keeps with the horror theme, Chiller is more of a pop culture event. All kinds of stars came out this year including Joan Collins, Andrew McCarthy, and Samantha Fox. Dustin “Screech” Diamond was even there. There were rockers, wrestlers, pinup models, and artists, although I was only there to meet one guest in particular this year.
I didn’t think anything could top last year’s Chiller. You might remember when I was sandwiched in between Deb and Hilly from Weird Science. Basically my dream come true since 1985! This year was no exception. Star of Dallas and A Chorus Line, Audrey Landers, announced to yours truly on Twitter that she’d be in New Jersey for the Chiller convention this Fall. I was super excited because she’s one of my main celebrity crushes of all time. Getting the chance to meet her sounded great to me, and of course shopping around the dealer tables is always my idea of a good time.
Once she arrived at her table, Audrey looked literally dazzling in a green sequin dress. She was sociable and looking as radiant as ever. Of course what impressed me more was that she saw my Sexy Armpit T-Shirt and recognized me right away “Hey I know you from Twitter!” she said. Very good memory on her! After taking a photo, we chatted about her having a role in the new Dallas series on TNT, the big Halloween parties she has back home, and the hurricane that’s threatening the area. From there, it was time to do some shopping.
I made it into the dealer rooms and met up with Jess Rajs from Gorgeous and Gory. The brand new zombie pinup calendar is OUT NOW! The theme this year is mermaids! Get yourself one HERE. Also, the official launch party is at Roxy & Dukes in Dunnellen NJ on November 2nd so we will see you there! It was also awesome to finally meet New Jersey’s own Ryan Scott Weber the director of 2011’s MARY HORROR, which was showing at midnight on Friday and Saturday at Chiller. Review of this cool horror movie is on it’s way here at The Sexy Armpit, so be on the lookout!
No Chiller Recap is complete without a run-down of what I picked up. My “shopping cart” wasn’t too full this year actually – I only bought one thing. I actually bought the first thing that caught my eye which was a Lily Munster T-Shirt. I’d never seen this particular one and I wanted it immediately! It was coincidental because my DVR at home was recording the underwhelming Mockingbird Lane at the same time.
That was the Fall installment of Chiller for me. I had a good time with @exiledinNJ and the new venue was cool. If prior Chiller’s left a bad taste in your mouth, I say give it another go in the Spring time. It’s definitely improved on some of it’s flaws.