After nearly 300 feature films, indie horror icon Debbie Rochon steps behind the camera for Model Hunger, a festival favorite set for a July 12th DVD/Digital HD release with indie distributor Wild Eye Releasing. To say that Rochon's directorial debut was welcomed with open arms by the horror fest circuit would be an understatement. The film picked up a slew of prizes along its festival run including the Jury Award at the Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest, Macabre Faire's Audience Choice Award and Best Actress prize for Lowry, and five awards at San Diego's FANtastic Horror Film Festival along with a couple dozen other nominations along the way.
While one might think that Rochon skated by on reputation alone, the simple truth is that Rochon has crafted one mighty fine low-budget indie with Model Hunger, the tale of a former pin-up model named Ginny (Lynn Lowry, Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People) who didn't take well to being cast aside by the exploitative modeling industry. Ginny's secret life goes relatively unnoticed until the arrival of a couple new neighbors, Debbie (Tiffany Shepis, The Violent Kind, Sharknado 2) and Sal (Carmine Capobianco, Galactic Gigolo). It doesn't take long for Debbie to suspect that something's not quite right with Ginny.
Um, yeah. I guess you could say that.
Model Hunger soars on the strength of Lynn Lowry's gleefully demented yet strangely sympathetic performance as Ginny, a broken woman whose brokenness inspires repulsive actions that are, at least on some weird and twisted level, kind of understandable. It's difficult to describe Lowry's performance here as it sort of weaves together Mommie Dearest meets Tammy Faye Bakker meets Sybil.
Weird? Yep. It also works.
The film is penned by James Morgart, who also serves as executive producer. Model Hunger, which is gory as hell, is also one of those rare horror flicks that seems to have quite a bit more going on than simply its excruciating horror. While I'm not quite ready to say it has an actual purpose, the truth is that there's a message behind all the madness that is pretty psychologically disturbing in itself. Both Ginny and Debbie fancy themselves fans of "Suzi's Secret," a rather Waters-esque (I made that word up!) underground television show with warped ways of presenting body positivity messages. While Debbie seems completely and utterl engrossed in the show and takes it for what it is, Ginny seems to use it as fuel for feeding her increasingly warped body views and, well, cannibalistic tendencies.
Yeah, folks, it gets weird here.
While there's no question that Model Hunger is a low-budget effort, Rochon proves that a whole lot of talent and some mighty fine connections can take you an awful long way. In addition to Lowry's top notch performance, Rochon gets fine performances out of Tiffany Shepis and Babette Bombshell, while Suzi Lorraine, especially if you know her other work, is an absolute hoot as Suzi. There's also some other familiar faces amongst Rochon's behind-the-scenes crew including none other than the prolific composer Harry Manfredini (the Friday the 13th franchise), whose original score here perfectly captures the film's emotional depths and horrific highs.
After quite a bit of success on the horror fest circuit, Model Hunger has been picked up by growing indie distributor Wild Eye Releasing for a DVD and Digital HD release beginning July 12th. With a wealth of extras and the satisfaction of knowing this is Rochon's first, but hopefully not last, directorial debut, Model Hunger should be a popular release for fans of indie horror.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic