B-movie Scream Queen Debbie Rochon makes her directorial debut with Model Hunger, and it’s everything one would expect from a low-budget splatter film.
Rochon is no stranger to the horror genre. Her IMDb page lists an impressive 246 credits, with most of them being b-movie trash. But it’s trash in the highest regard. Trash that I love and continue to watch over, and over again. Most of these movies have no redeeming moral values – they’re filled to the brim with gore, violence, and hammy acting to further it. The films that Rochon have acted in are a “screw you” to the mainstream Hollywood movie machine. There’s no better way to describe them.
It makes sense, then, that her first film behind the camera would be a little-to-no-budget film about a cannibalistic ex-model/psychopath. The story is simple enough: Ginny (Lynn Lowry) is an old woman, used up and sick of being exploited by the modeling industry. She takes revenge by killing. Killing (seemingly) indiscriminately. Men, women, and all. However, the main component to her rage is the emphasis on the scrutiny of the female body.
Lowry is a b-movie star in her own right as well and absolutely kills it in her role. The movie seems entirely self-aware and unabashedly fun – if watching an old woman cut out a vagina and eat it is your type of fun, that is. She is able to give it the perfect amount of schlock, dialing in an overdramatic southern accent that seems strangely out of place yet also weirdly appealing. The camera work is wobbly and constantly going out of focus, adding to the kitschy nature of the whole affair. You could probably get a more consistent film quality out of your iPhone 6.
But really, that’s the fun of these movies. Not all will get it. Most won’t. Model Hunger isn’t supposed to be The Revenant, and it doesn’t want to be, either. The appeal to a film like this is the levels of depravity and gore it can reach on a shoestring budget. Dialogue? The more offensive the better. Story? Eh, that’s just a minor detail in the grand scheme of it all. We want blood and guts, and Model Hunger delivers. The influence of H.G. Lewis is flowing from each bloody frame of the film.
Which makes it all the more confusing when a trippy dream sequence appears towards the end of the film. It attempts to invoke a sense of emotional weight that the rest of the movie disregards. It’s shot well, the lighting is adequate, and it actually works in creating something that resembles art. It’s out of step with the rest of the film and throws off the momentum. But by the next scene, the cheesy goodness is back with a vengeance, bringing the violence and obscenity to full speed.
Model Hunger is not for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not for most people. If you love z-grade entertainment and gory trash films like me, then you need to watch this immediately. To top it all off, Harry Manfredini has gifted the film with an original score. It is absolutely fantastic and is worth the admission price alone. If you’re expecting high art, please, just do yourself a favor and skip this one. It’s most certainly not for you.
Model Hunger is out on DVD on July 12, 2016. You can preorder it here.