Mickey Keating (2016 color)
Angela Trimbur, Ashley Bell, Jeff Daniel Phillips
Psychopaths” is a dog whistle for midnight movie fans,
who are likely to cringe and laugh in equal measures.
With a hallucinatory visual and aural sense, and interspersed with nice nods to movies like
Taxi Driver and Audition, the film creates a nightmarish landscape of madness and murder.
Tribeca 2017 Interview: Mickey Keating, Ashley Bell & Larry Fessenden
Discuss Reteaming for PSYCHOPATHS
by MICHAEL GINGOLD
Rising horror director Mickey Keating has been exploring insanity for his last few films, and after the monochromatic psychodrama of DARLING and the desert dementia of CARNAGE PARK, he goes full-blown crazy with PSYCHOPATHS, abandoning conventional storytelling to plunge into the avant-garde.
A world premiere at the current Tribeca Film Festival, PSYCHOPATHS was described by Keating during the post-screening Q&A as “a collage of violence and glamour,” and that’s a pretty accurate and succinct summation. To detail: the movie begins with the rants of serial killer Henry Earl Starkweather (Larry Fessenden), who promises that his impending execution will unleash an explosion of violent mania across the land. And sure enough, the ensemble we meet following his introduction is chock full o’ nuts. There’s Alice (PARK’s Ashley Bell), with a murderous split personality who dwells in a fantasy world modeled on 1950s musicals; the Midnight Strangler (James Landry Hébert), first seen claiming a victim in a seedy motel; and a killer (Shudder curator Samuel D. Zimmerman) who wears a series of plastic masks.
Then there are those who victimize these victimizers, including Blondie (TRASH FIRE’s Angela Trimbur), a would-be Midnight Stranglee who turns the tables on her attacker and subjects him to even worse treatment than he had in mind for her, and an out-of-control cop (THE BATTERY filmmaker/star Jeremy Gardner) determined to nail the masked man. As we follow this gallery of maniacs, a couple of their exploits intersect, though Keating’s intent is less to create a shared-world narrative and more to present an overall environment of insanity, a kaleidoscope of bizarre behavior and shocking bloodshed.
To do so, the writer/director applies a very loose approach to narrative that might confound viewers expecting a traditional portrait of some serial killers, and will fascinate others who’ll find themselves caught up in the accumulating, accelerating madness. Keating is after impact via imagery and sound, and both are as varied and off-kilter as the psyches on display, while he once again pays homage to past cinematic favorites. With cinematographer Mac Fisken, he adopts different lighting and color schemes from character to character, ranging from noirish shadow play to giallo-esque primary colors, and editor Valerie Krulfeifer assembles it all with echoes of David Lynch surrealism. That feeling is furthered by the soundtrack, including a mix of hypnotic original compositions by Shayfer James and others and some well-chosen vintage songs.
More than just a technical exercise, PSYCHOPATHS is also a showcase for several different styles of unhinged acting, which is what truly holds the attention. All the leads convincingly convey their variously disturbed states of mind, but Bell commands the most attention as the singing and dancing, slicing and dicing Alice. From THE LAST EXORCISM through the underseen THE DAY and now her one-two punch with Keating, she has proven herself a genre actress with true range and a willingness to play any role to the hilt. It has always been interesting to see which fear stream Keating will head down next, and one hopes he will continue to take Bell with him.
Matthew Passantino 4/25/2017
Tribeca Review: ‘Psychopaths’ is a Fun, Retro Horror Flick
Dennis Dermody 4/21/2017
Director Mickey Keating has made a series of fascinating chillers–from Darling to Carnage Park–but nothing as ambitious and fabulously deranged as this dream-like shocker. On the eve of messianic mass murderer Henry Starkweather’s (Larry Fessenden) execution he prophesies a night of “chaos” where his “children” will wreak terror. Sure enough, we helplessly watch random scenes of loony killers causing carnage- from mask wearing assassins, to stranglers, to schizophrenic escaped female mental patients, all cutting a bloody path across the land. With a hallucinatory visual and aural sense, and interspersed with nice nods to movies like Taxi Driver and Audition, the film creates a nightmarish landscape of madness and murder.
Heather Wixson 4/24/17
Tribeca 2017 Interview: Mickey Keating, Ashley Bell & Larry Fessenden Discuss Reteaming for PSYCHOPATHS
Exclusive first clip from horror-thriller Psychopaths is (unsurprisingly) deranged
by Clark Collis
In the course of his short but prolific career, writer-director Mickey Keating has been responsible for creating some memorably twisted characters, from Lauren Ashley Carter’s unraveling housesitter in the haunted house film Darling to Pat Healy’s homicidal sniper in the survival-thriller Carnage Park. But, if we’re understanding matters correctly, with his new film Psychopaths, Keating has set out to see what would happen if he filled a film with nothing but maniacs.
The film concerns a sort of Mischief Night for a group of serial killers which is triggered by the execution by electric chair of a madman in an unidentified prison. There’s Alice (Ashley Bell), an escaped mental patient who thinks she’s living in a 1950s glamour world; Blondie (Angela Trimbur), a beautiful seductress who lures men down into her suburban basement; a strangler (James Landry Hébert) who preys on unsuspecting women; and an enigmatic masked contract killer (Sam Zimmerman) whose next job sends him to seedy nightclub. As the night progresses, the body count rises and the fate of these deranged murderers is sealed in blood.
Psychopaths receives its world premiere at the forthcoming Tribeca Film Festival on April 20. Watch the exclusive first clip above.
Psychopaths is a 2017 American horror film written and directed by Mickey Keating (Carnage Park; Darling; Pod; Ritual).
It is described as “a sprawling, psychedelic ensemble piece that follows several serial killers over the course of a single night.”
The film stars Jeff Daniel Phillips (The Ice Cream Truck; 31; Halloween II), Ashley Bell (Carnage Park; The Day; The Last Exorcism and sequel), Angela Trimbur (Trash Fire; The Final Girls), James Landry Hébert (Ghost House; Carnage Park), Helen Rogers (Darling; Body; V/H/S), Matt Mercer (Beyond the Gates; The Mind’s Eye; Contracted and sequel), Mark Kassen, Jeremy Gardner (The Mind’s Eye; The Battery; Spring), Padraig Reynolds (director of The Devil’s Dolls; Rites of Spring).
Principal shooting on the Bad Camal/Glass Eye Pix/High Window Films production wrapped on March 4 and the film is now in post-production.
Keating was also a producer, along with Jenn Wexler, William Day Frank, Cam McLellan and Al Lewison. Larry Fessenden served as executive producer.
ANGEL TRIMBUR, “Blondie” is an American actress, comedian and dancer. She is best known for her role as Isabel in “Trash Fire” starring opposite Adrian Grenier, Tina the wild 80’s party camp counselor in the horror comedy film The Final Girls (2015), and Penny Whitewall on FXX’s animated series Major Lazer. She has also had roles in the films Halloween II (2009) and The Kings of Summer (2013).
ASHLEY BELL, “Alice” made her feature film debut in Lionsgate and Strike Entertainment’s thriller, The Last Exorcism (2010). Her performance garnered her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and an MTV Movie Award nomination, while the film grossed nearly $70 million, worldwide. The New York Post praised Bell’s performance as “Oscar-worthy” and one of the 10 best performances of 2010 for her extraordinary portrayal of the possessed “Nell Sweetzer”, which she will reprise in the highly-anticipated sequel, entitled The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), set to be released, nationwide, on March 1, 2013.
JEFF DANIEL PHILLIPS, “Storyteller” A native of Chicago, Jeff Daniel Phillips’ artistic pursuits began with his studies of Fine Arts abroad and evolved into film making at the University of Southern California where he received degrees in both. After graduation, he developed a career both behind and in front of the camera. Jeff has over ten years experience working as a production designer, art director and prop master for film, television, music videos, commercials and print ads. He has also acted on stage in the states and Europe, on television and in films such as Sneakers, Zodiac and Lords of Salem. He most recently has a recurring role on the new series Westworld, produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Jonathan Nolan for HBO and Rob Zombie’s upcoming film 31.
JAMES LANDRY HEBERT, “The Strangler” was born on October 4, 1984 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He is known for his work on Gangster Squad (2013), Looper (2012) and Seven Psychopaths (2012).
MICKEY KEATING, writer/director – Mickey Keating is an LA-based writer/producer/director who made his debut at 22. His films include the occult thriller Ritual (2014), Pod (SXSW, 2015) and Darling (Fantastic Fest, 2015). Keating’s most recent film, Carnage Park premiered at Sundance 2016. He is represented by CAA and Circle of Confusion.