It was probably a good 15-20 years ago when a personal ad I'd cleverly titled "Footless Fantasy" led to more than a few unusual responses, most notably an extraordinary number of men despite the ad being very clearly placed in the "Men Seeking Women" section of Indy's most popular alternative news magazine.
One response, in particular, still gives me chills whenever I think about. One male, we'll call him Mike, noted our unusually high compatibility and spent several messages attempting to persuade me that such a high compatibility rating MUST mean that I was at least bisexual.
The more we exchanged messages, the stranger he acted. He was clearly a devotee, meaning someone who had a strong preference for men with disabilities, and it sure seemed like the more disabled the better.
I could practically hear his heavy breathing in my mind every single time another message came in.
Eventually, of course, I got the big reveal when he shared his big fantasy - he wanted this double, below-knee amputee to also have both arms amputated.
Yes, he wanted complete, 100% dependence. Or, perhaps I should say, maybe 98.6%?
Anyway, I thought about him a lot as I watched the latest devilish delight from indie actress/filmmaker Cindy Maples, whose recent departure from the Indiana/Kentucky region has left a noteworthy hole in the Indie film scene in the region but whose work continues to be an absolute delight even as she continues to collaborate with some familiar faces including real-life husband Rusty James and others.
98.6% stars Maples as Mel, an attractive, successful businesswoman who has agreed to go out on a blind date with one seriously suave suitor, Bradley. The date goes exceptionally well, though Bradley being the gentleman that he is opts to not join her upstairs in her apartment for a nightcap.
Of course, this is a Cindy Maples film and we know there's no possible way everyone's going to live happily ever after.
Indeed, the 11-minute 98.6% does a slow build into the indie horror that we've come to expect from Maples, whose aura could best be described maternal instinct with a serious bite to it. Putting a demented twist on the concept of nearly perfect compatibility, 98.6% benefits greatly from Randy Murray's demented, occasionally laugh out loud script that is played to perfection by both Maples and James.
Maples is an absolute hoot here, bathed like a temptress in Chelsea Casanova's atmospheric, deceptively serene lensing and accompanied by music that is spot-on perfect. Maples is a master at playing to her full range, simultaneously warm and fuzzy and weird and wonderful and, yeah, rather horrific when the need arises. It's not surprising, of course, that the chemistry between Maples and James is believable, James's low-key, cocksure attitude completely confident of having the upperhand until, well, he doesn't completely have that upperhand.
If you're a fan of Maples, and you should be, then you likely already have a bit of an idea of what to expect here but, at least for my money, this is one of my favorite Maples' projects to date with the perfect weaving together of dark humor and insane horror.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic