The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds Invades Texas Frightmare Weekend!
When Susurrus Stirs (2016) is a ooey gooey spin on symbiotic relationships with flairs of David Cronenberg's The Fly, Abel Ferrera's Body Snatchers and most notably Frank Henenlotter's Brain Damage. It is also a film that will make you audibly say "Oh My God!" at least three or four times. The fact that director/cinematographer Anthony Cousins could do that all in under 10 minutes is pretty remarkable for a debut short film. Combine that with gut churning effects from Ryan Schaddelee, you have a debut director, out of the gate, with a stunning visual eye. I mean LOOK at this still from the film:
Gah! Gorgeous! Disgusting! Everything that I like!
Well, the same team behind the eye popping When Susurrus Stirs has cooked up a fun slice of camping horror just in time for summer with The Bloody Balled of Squirt Reynolds, premiering at Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas, Texas THIS WEEKEND!
From the director:
"My favorite part of the slasher genre, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this, is the KILLS. I’ve had one particular kill in my mind for years dubbed “The Duck Call” and I basically built a seven minute short around wanting to finally realize that scene. The goal was to tell the legend of a new killer while capturing that late 70’s/early 80’s feel that birthed the genre."
Paired again here with Ryan Schaddelee, Anthony Cousins delivers on his message of 70's/80's aesthetic without feeling on-the-nose nostalgic. Instead of relying on a crutch of pop-culture references laced throughout the short dialogue, Cousins shows us how adept he is at capturing that fuzzy VHS feeling that others try and hopelessly fail at. While understandably this aesthetic isn't attractive to all, for fans of the genre it can be like candy, especially when done so well. The images have just the right amount of softness, over stark, garish reds and blues.
The dialogue is sparse, but whats there is strong for the type of film Cousins is making: a send up of our favorite summer slashers. This all works because of strong commitment to character from the cast, imbuing it with an awkward humor that was fresh to me in this context, gelling remarkably well with the purposefully stilted acting. There's one gag in particular that should earnestly make any slasher fan laugh as loud as I did, and is a verbal gag at that.
As Cousins said, he essentially made a seven minute film to showcase a death scene and when it happens? For the budget, for the experience, for being up-and-coming filmmakers, for the swiftness of the rest of the film: "the kill" is unbelievably masterful for the Gore Scholars.
Texas Frightmare Weekend will be taking place Friday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. If you're going, make sure to catch The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds on Saturday May 5th at 5PM!