When you speak of “names” in the film business certain things leap to mind. For example, you say the name Tom Cruise and the word “bankable” is a pretty good term to describe him — some might say “Scientology” — but “bankable” is more apropos to the discussion of movies.
Meryl Streep and “Oscar” spring to mind — 19 nominations — and you know in your heart of hearts that she’s not done yet. OK, what about Kevin Bacon? It’s “six degrees,” right?
See how this word association game goes. For genre fans, the name Debbie Rochon is an easy one, “Scream Queen.”
While the aforementioned Cruise, Streep and Bacon star in the larger budget films, Debbie Rochon has made a career in the indie world (with actually more film credits than Cruise, Streep and Bacon combined) and that has earned her the adoration of her legions of fans and the respect of those who have worked with her.
When word arrived this past week from Wild Eye Releasing that Debbie Rochon’s debut as a film director, Model Hunger, will be making its DVD debut on July 12, it was one of those magical moments. If you are a fan of her work — and who isn’t — that sort of news is “stop the presses news.” It’s a big deal!
From start to finish she has been involved in this project for something like four years. It’s a true indie film, with the micro budget and all that goes with it. But, Model Hunger has not been rushed to market.
It has an interesting, multi-layer script (from James Morgart (Won Ton Baby!), a stunning cast that includes the likes of Lynn Lowry (a cult favorite from the 1970s — The Crazies, They Came From Within) and fellow Scream Queens Tiffany Shepis (Scarecrow, The Frankenstein Syndrome, Sharknado 2: The Second One, etc.) and Suzi Lorraine (Dry Spell, House of Manson, Destined to Be Ingested, etc.), an original soundtrack from Harry Manfredini and technical contributions that belie the film’s limited shooting budget.
The story is terrific. Lynn Lowry plays Ginny Reilly, a former fashion model who got too old, who got too “heavy” (that means she put on five pounds) and was banished from a world that gave her both fame and meaning. She snapped.
She’s now a serial killer, bitter, but sweet and innocent enough to trap skinny girls like a bright light on the back porch attracts bugs.
She has intellectual conversations with her victims, they tell her that they think they are fat, not as pretty as they could be … and she helps them out. Under her knife that extra weight just melts away.
Meanwhile, in an homage to a certain 1954 Hitchcock thriller, Debbie and Sal Lombardo are her new neighbors and Debbie (played by none other than Tiffany Shepis) is convinced that the nice lady next door is not what she appears to be. Young women go in her front door … and never come out.
The third element of this lurid tale is the fascination of the local community with an access cable show by the name of “Suzi’s Secret” (hosted by Suzi Lorraine) and featuring a dead ringer for John Water’s favorite actress, Divine (played by the luscious Babette Bombshell). It’s reality TV from a very unreal world and is chilling in its own right; addictive.
All three of these diverse elements come together in Model Hunger to give genre fans what they crave. Something wholly original, but yet bloody familiar … indeed, Ginny Reilly and Norman Bates could be relatives; blood relatives!!
Be sure to circle July 12 on your must-see viewing calendar and pick up your very own DVD edition of Model Hunger; it’s a keeper!