Director: Michael Medaglia
Starring: Sean McGrath, Anne Sorce, Denise Poirier .USA. 1h 19m
I’m starting to get a feel for Uncork’d Entertainment, they champion the lower budget productions but there is a certain je ne sai qoui, a little element of the risque within each of them, the first one that caught my eye was the romp in the woods with a oily pagan deity in Clawed it was labored at times but provided an interesting viewpoint, the last gem was Dead by Dawn (2020) set in a holiday home in the wilderness, but with a very different cabin siege feel about it, however not as many axe wielding psycho’s as the cover may have suggest, it remains an original story blended with some talent however the effects budget was really spared, but I found a lot of charm in the vicious cabin in the woods thriller. But each movie seems to have an edge of brilliance but without a lavish budget to back it, however they remain really watchable and I’m thrilled to see the numbers growing.
Sometimes the artistic journey is more impressive than the final piece of artwork, but the torturous life of an artist and the mental stability of genius is in question throughout Michael Medaglia’s dingy horror drama with lashings of fierce black comedy.
Medaglia manages to conjure up the most downtrodden world around the most downtrodden character; a lonely self proclaimed genius, living on the breadline with his charming but not quite all there mother, young Hermann (McGrath) who has a face akin to a roman statue, and is a possible love child of Alex Winter and David Bennent stumbles through life with one purpose, one single obsession with making mobiles, but not the type you’d buy for your infant, he attempts to express world views and emotion through his mobile art pieces and is desperate to be noticed by an alluring and highly demanding Devora (Sorce) who own the hottest art gallery in town while also being hot stuff herself. But something isn’t right, absolutely nothing is going to plan in Hermann’s life, unable to make any money from his personal artistic vision which takes up all his time to look for work, his mother , whom he lives with is about ready to rent out his room so they will have to share a bed.
Out of desperation he calls his uncle for help and is offered to rent an apartment that is promised to change his life and steal for $800 a month, struggling to raise the money he eventually gets enough for 2 weeks!
Now the fun starts, assuming that this apartment is going to be the next step in his career, the peeling paper and damp atmosphere just solidifies that he might have been had by his uncle, but putting that thought to one side he attempts and totally fails to craft anything, feeling to close to artistic failure and near suicide he notices a small hole behind a painting of a peacock and everything he desires seems to lurk inside it’s darkness.
The Hole begins to offer Hermann items that he can use in his mobiles but soon it begins to talk to him, the sultry tones of Denise Poirier come with promises of success and the need of desire, much like the Æon Flux character she voiced back in the 90’s. With his new look mobiles Hermann begins to find success and way into the art world but then the Hole begins to make her own demands and the sex and killing starts.
This is no glory hole
We’ve seen creatives on the verge of their new artistic discoveries and once they use evil to make these things work then the game becomes clouded and complicated, Something similar happened to the charming but psychotic Walter Paisley in Roger Cormans’ Buckets of Blood after making sculptures from live subjects covered in plaster he gets a lust for the attention and success. But no one is getting hurt from Hermann’s handiwork no matter how organic his supplies appear to be, but the secrets of the hole aren’t really probed, apart from when Hermann begins to get a bit intimate with his new muse *ahem*.
There’s lot of tonal shifts in the second half of the movie, everything is focused on Hermann and his success with art and women, all mixing together and as concepts of art and passion but the movie also begins collapse with unfinished ideas and the addition of too many concepts but alas it has a poetic final word as the closes the curtains on a crazy exploration of artistic genius. I do love how this style of movie has art which all looks the same but it’s up to the viewer to believe that it’s just somehow better at the right moment.
Related: How to get ahead in advertising (1989), Horns (2013), Buckets of Blood (1959), Motivational Growth (2013)
List: Artist biographies, On the Verge of Madness