DARLING producer and GEP pal Jenn Wexler will be showcased at this year’s Frontières International Co-Production Market in Montreal for her directorial debut film The Ranger.
Back in February, we told you about Shudder Labs, a new program from the horror-specific streaming service—which is still quite new itself, having launched last summer—designed to help up-and-coming horror filmmakers launch their careers by introducing them to mentors with experience serving in the horror trenches. Since then, the Masters-In-Residence for the program have been announced—Habit director and ubiquitous indie-horror actor Larry Fessenden, The Boy writer Clay McLeod Chapman, Darling producer Jenn Wexler, SFX artists Josh and Sierra Russell, and more—but we’ve yet to hear about the lucky fellows themselves.
By Chris Alexander at ShockTillYouDrop.com:
It’s not what you have.
It’s not the colors in the pallete.
It’s not the gear.
It’s not the tech.
It’s not the government funding. It’s not the marketing.
Art is none of these things.
No, art is simply the reflection of the artist, authentic and true and brave and bold and alive and visceral. Art is using whatever you have at your disposal to project the dreams and nightmares and hopes and fears and horrors and truths and fantasies you want to share in ways that are pure. In ways that are yours, unique to you.
The movie we’re chiefly here to discuss today, right now…It’s an immaculate work of art and one of the most affecting horror movies I’ve ever seen.
As you already know, that picture is director Mickey Keating’s poisonous psychodrama DARLING, a movie that breaks rules and is filled with so much innovation and such daring, deceivingly simple vision, that I actually yelled out loud as it un-spooled, shouting in excitement and a joy stemming from the revelation that the people that made it were not only making an auteur horror movie that was progressive and meaningful, but that a third party was backing the movie, distributing it and ensuring that people saw the movie and knew it existed.
DARLING. Sweet, horrible, savage DARLING.
Imagine early incarnations of David Lynch, Roman Polanski, Lars von Trier and Guy Maddin on a three day meth bender in one of Stanley Kubrick’s suites at The Overlook Hotel and you’ll get a sense of DARLING’s mission statement. Made for very little money with a skeletal cast on spare locations (primarily a looming house in what I think might be upstate New York), DARLING casts the doe-eyed Lauren Ashley Carter (JUG FACE) as an obviously disturbed girl who accepts a position as the caretaker at posh mansion owned by an elegant, icy and presumably wealthy woman (BLADE RUNNER’s Sean Young, looking great and a welcome presence back on the screen). Like Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance at the aforementioned Overlook in Kubrick’s impossibly influential THE SHINING, it’s clear that Carter is crackers from frame one. But considering the home’s haunted history, it’s a given that she’ll go even madder as the movie progresses. And she does.
My god, does she.
DARLING is co-produced by the great Larry Fessenden, who also appears in the film, a product of his Glass Eye Pix, a company that almost always makes interesting, modestly budgeted and wholly original horror films.
But here, backing Keating’s vision, they may have made their first real deal masterpiece.
DARLING is a perfect movie in its imperfection. It’s a movie that bends rules and defies expectations and always remains a messy, personal primal scream of a picture. It’s most assuredly a work of dark, seething art and, as the hyperbolic headline of this review screamed, it’s the best horror movie of 2016.
Well, so far, anyway.
But I can’t imagine it will get any better than this.
Then again, I haven’t seen Keating’s Sundance hit CARNAGE PARK yet…
Look for DARLING when it opens theatrically and on VOD on April 8th.
Blumhouse spoke with Fessenden, Graham Reznick, and GEP Producer Jenn Wexler (among others) about the development and use of the term “DEATHWAVE” to label horror movies with elevated plot and characterization.
FESSENDEN: I think my films have a deliberate and determined vulnerability, dealing with melancholy and loss as much as the horror tropes that I clearly love. I have tried for authenticity in my work, tried to get at nagging truths about things as I see them. There is nothing calculated or commercial in the work (just ask my investors) and so the movies are inspiring to young filmmakers that come from a more idealistic place as they start out in the business. I have also championed the do-it-yourself approach which again is inspiring for those with few resources and a dream. Maybe most of all, I take horror movies seriously. I’m telling scary stories that matter to me, the viewer can tell that. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea of course.
Glass Eye Pix braved the masses again this year for New York Comic Con 2015. Check out our photos from the event right here!
Fantastic Fest just wrapped up, and the reviews have been pouring in for the Mickey Keating-directed GEP Psychothriller DARLING. Starring Lauren Ashley Carter and featuring Fessenden (who also starred in the Fantastic Fest flicks THE MIND’S EYE and SOUTHBOUND), the movie centers on Carter as a young woman tasked with looking after a mysterious old home.
Here’s what the reviews are saying:
A shocking, hallucinatory and masterful film, DARLING doesn’t just happen in front of you, it pulls you into the story of a woman who takes on the job of looking after a mansion-like home that may or may not be haunted, and throws you into her complete descent into absolute madness.
Shot entirely in black and white, the film is simply gorgeous to look at. The empty streets of New York City and lonely hallways of the house look even more desolate without color. It was a bold decision, but it pays off in spades.
On only his third film, Keating has already established an instantly recognizable style. Call them Keating Beats: Whether it’s strobe-speed edit, a sound mix that will deliberately challenge the listener, or simply the decision to shoot in stark black and white, they constantly throw the audience off guard.
Also, it is not often that the sound design of a film stands out from all of the other elements, but in this film the complexity of the sound design sets itself apart from other films. The balance between what is real and what is not real, a strong score and jarring metal song to shake loose the audience expectations, is not an easy one. The sound in Darling totally nails the many levels or reality in DARLING.
Carter puts in a devestatingly memorable performance, but the real star of the film is Mickey Keating’s stark, stylish direction.
To round out the festivities, Writer/Director Mickey Keating boxed THE MIND’S EYE Director Joe Begos in the ring, and DARLING was picked up for worldwide distribution rights by Screen Media Films.
Fangoria’s got a brand new poster for Mickey Keating’s DARLING, which Fangoria describes as:
Written and directed by Mickey Keating, whose POD just saw release (see story here), DARLING stars JUG FACE’s Lauren Ashley Carter as a young woman who takes a job as a caretaker in a mysterious Manhattan mansion, where the last person to have the job committed suicide and her own sanity begins to crumble. The cast also includes Brian Morvant, Sean Young, Larry Fessenden, John Speredakos and Helen Rogers, and the film was produced by Fessenden, Jenn Wexler, Sean Fowler, Keating and Carter.
For the full post and an exclusive image, head to Fangoria.
From Samuel Zimmerman at ShockTillYouDrop.com:
A budding tradition and must-see at the annual Stanley Film Festival in Estes Park, CO is Tales From Beyond the Pale Live, an in-flesh, festival-tailored iteration of the Larry Fessenden & Glenn McQuaid-produced horror audio dramas. One of the festival’s more experiential events, Tales From Beyond the Pale Live: The Stanley Edition is written exclusively for the Stanley and features performers in person, as well as the magic of live foley, sound and music. It’s a treat that both reveals the form and yet draws you in even further.
At the 2015 Stanley Film Festival, taking place April 30-May 3 at the Stanley Hotel, Tales From Beyond the Pale Live is entitled The Stanley Edition: Parlor Tricks. Taking place Friday, May 1st at 7 p.m. sharp at The Historic Park Theatre, Parlor Tricks is comprised of two tales: Cold Reading, written by Glenn McQuaid & newcomer to Tales, April Snellings (writer and editor at Rue Morgue Magazine and co-editor of the book Horror Movie Heroes); and No Signal by Larry Fessenden.
The show will feature the voice talents of Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, We Are Still Here) and Leon Vitali (Barry Lyndon, Terror of Frankenstein) as well as Larry Fessenden (We Are Still Here, Body, Habit). The rest of the cast will be filled by very special guests.
Check out the full article and learn more about the show at ShockTillYouDrop.com.