Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Faceless After Dark

FrightFest review – Faceless After Dark

This starts with relatively playful metafiction about the business – and status – of horror in a wider entertainment industry, then gets appropriately much darker if less faceless.

Actress Bowie (Jenna Kanell, who co-scripted with Todd Jacobs) appears in a killer clown slasher movie – NB: Kanell was in Terrifier 2 – and is remembered for a line (‘the circus has left town, bitch’) she complained about having to say.  She signs photos and appears in selfies with a few fans at a convention, though the guy who played the clown gets longer lines, an appearance fee and a cut of the merch so she’s ticked off.  She also records messages for fees for fans and seems to be drifting towards a kind of online scream queen Onlyfans situation/  Meanwhile, her girlfriend Jessica (Danielle Lyn) is a TV series star who has just been cast in a superhero movie – in a sequence which is excruciating for anyone who’s ever been on any corner of the triangle, Bowie is asked to take a photo of Jessica and a delivery guy who doesn’t recognise that she’s ‘someone’ too.

Alone in a relatively plush isolated home presumably bought on Jessica’s residuals, Bowie receives sinister gifts and is stalked by someone dressed as the clown killer from the movie.  Is it a crazed stalker, a real killer clown aggrieved by misrepresentation in shit films, a prankster who doesn’t mean any harm, the product of Bowie’s paranoid (and drugged) fantasies, a calculated tormentor with an agenda, or none of the above?

Director Raymond Wood puts together stylised, purple-lit sequences which evoke the kind of films Bowie has been in, but also suggest something classier, more fragmentary and politically motivated – it’s almost as if this is an allegory of how schlock horror interacts with ‘elevated horror’ … but the plot kinks at mid-point, from one sub-genre of FrightFest-friendly fear film to another, quite distinct but also often-revived mode.  Kanell is a tenaceous, vital presence and Faceless After Dark gets into a lot of interesting arguments about a range of topics which relate to horror on and off screen.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.




No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: