Ryan’s controversial film ’Amateur Porn Star Killer’ rises from the underground
Los Angeles (WebWire) August 20, 2007 -- It took roughly three hours to shoot and has one of the lowest budgets ever of any film that’s been nationally distributed. But neither stops underground filmmaker Shane Ryan’s “Amateur Porn Star Killer,” which screens at midnight August 24-25 at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 (8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood), from being one of the most disturbing and thought provoking films you will see on violence, sex and nudity.
Shot on miniDV for $45, “Amateur Porn Star Killer” is the story of a girl falling victim to a vicious predator. Playing on the illusion what you are watching is a real snuff film, the audience follows along as Brandon (played by Ryan) takes Stacy (Michiko Jimenez) to a hotel and proceeds to victimize her emotionally, physically and sexually, before ending her life.
“I wanted to do something that hasn’t been done,” Ryan said of his creation that is sure to cause controversy and also have a diehard cult following. “I also wanted something I could afford.”
Ryan blends the genres of horror, true crime, mockumentary and exploitation for an extremely effective film. Think a more sinister “Hard Candy” mixed with “8mm” and “Mute Witness,” crossed with “Girls Gone Wild” and “The Blair Witch Project,” and you get an idea of what you are in for.
“Sure, we had ‘8mm,’ but I wanted the film inside the film of ‘8mm’ to be a real, full length film,” Ryan said. “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, but I made it happen, and here it is.”
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the power of Ryan’s film. When PollyStaffle.com reviewed it in June 2006, it was called “mesmerizing and terrifying” and “downright painful to watch.” It was also noted that the film is “so close to being a masterpiece that even though it repulses me I have to praise it.” It later went on to win a Polished Apple award in the Second Annual Pollies for best use of sex/nudity because of the film’s impact.
One of the most effective things Ryan does in “Amateur Porn Star Killer” is show us glimpses of another encounter early in the film. The footage gives us the impression the other female Loren (Jan Gould) was a willing participant in the sexcapades, but after the rest of the film plays out, you began to question how willing a participant she was. This element should give viewers something to think about as far as pornography in general. Lots of women that perform in adult films later say they were taken advantage of and manipulated. Though most of the images used by directors don’t give off that impression, perhaps there is something to it.
“Amateur Porn Star Killer” pulls its viewers in with the false promise of delivering real horror. It then holds up its end of the bargain and viewers are left feeling empty inside, ashamed of their internal hunger.
“To me that’s what truly gives this film its power,” PollyStaffle.com Senior Editor Chad Freeman said in his review of the film. “What makes this movie stand out is its uncanny ability to give society what it wants - sex and violence - and twist it, so we completely question why we ever wanted either in the first place.”
The film was recently acquired by Cinema Epoch and Koch Entertainment and will be available for mass consumption on November 6. The DVD will include filmmaker/actor interviews, a “crime scene drive thru” and notes, as well as trailers, including Ryan’s on-going work in progress “Romance Road Killers,” and five shorts. Included on the disc will be the award-winning short “So, We Killed Our Parents,” which tells the story of an incestuous brother (Ryan) and sister (Vickey Rodriguez) that bash their parents’ brains in with baseball bats, the black and white sex-noir “The Cold Heat,” the experimental “The Snake’s Kiss Good-Bye” and the art house/horror shorts “Lucifer’s Mind” and “The Pure Exodus.”
Ryan told PollyStaffle.com that although he is excited, he doesn’t know how he feels about his little movie’s release.
“I’m not sure if I’m happy or terrified,” said Ryan, who has already received hate e-mail and been publicly confronted due to the film’s posters and flyers. “I don’t even know what to make of this film any more. Is it a horror flick or a PSA? Either way, I will stand by its side and say that it has become a part of my life, and I must live with it.”
And once you’ve seen it, you’ll be stuck living with the film as well. Like the great horror survivor films of the seventies such as “The Last House on the Left” and “I Spit On Your Grave,” Ryan’s feature delivers shock, while remaining realistic.
“Horror should either scare, terrify, disturb, or make you uneasy,” Ryan said. “This film, I believe, is a major reality check for real life. Yes, it will scare, terrify and disturb you, especially if you have a daughter of your own. But don’t look for entertainment in this movie. Look for reality, at its most ruthless and evil side. If you are, however, entertained, please call my shrink.”
Currently PollyStaffle.com is giving away passes to the Aug. 24 screening. Visit the site for details, but be warned, “Amateur Porn Star Killer” is not for the faint of heart. It has been described as “Ted Bundy with a camera” and the movie’s tagline states: “This young girl will be humiliated, raped, murdered and you will watch.” Unlike many of the grindhouse film’s of yesterday, Ryan’s film truly lives up to its hype and you will swear what you’re seeing is for real.
“And if you wish to watch such a realistic, disgusting act,” Ryan said. “Please join me at a screening.”
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