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Monday, July 11, 2016

MODEL HUNGER -- DVD Review by Porfle

There are those movies that appeal to a really wide range of people and can be enjoyed by just about anybody.  And then there's MODEL HUNGER (2016), a stomach-churning horror comedy that certain people will find perversely delightful just as others are wishing they could Drano all traces of its memory from their brains. 

Whether or not you like BLOOD FEAST is a good indicator here, because scream queen and first-time director Debbie Rochon (THE THEATER BIZARRE, RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH VOL. 1, CAESAR & OTTO'S PARANORMAL HALLOWEEN) is definitely channeling Herschell Gordon Lewis in some of the film's more horrifying forays into unrestrained torture-porn gore and depravity.

While we're waiting for such scenes to occur (as they often do), the story focuses on former nudie model Ginny Reilly (Lynn Lowry, THE CRAZIES, THE THEATER BIZARRE, CAT PEOPLE, SHIVERS), who was forced out of the business when skinny models began to replace the more full-figured gals such as herself and who now spends her days as a bitter old crazy lady living alone in a house that doubles as a torture chamber and cannibalistic kitchen for the unsuspecting victims she draws into her evil clutches.

Meanwhile, Debbie Lombardo (fellow scream queen Tiffany Shepis, BONNIE & CLYDE VS. DRACULA, DARK REEL, and LIVE EVIL) and her chubby hubby Sal have moved in next door to Ginny, and in no time Debbie begins to suspect the creepy old lady of being up to no good.  Shepis, who's usually a knockout in her various film roles, seems to enjoy playing a rather non-glamorous part this time and comes off well as the emotionally troubled wife with a little too much time on her hands. 

The supporting cast is dotted with quirky and entertaining characters such as Arnold Winters (Michael Thurber), a strangely birdlike neighbor with a thing for Ginny; a couple of ditzy cheerleaders who make the mistake of being invited into Ginny's lair for tea; Ginny's auto mechanic friend Colin, who also makes the mistake of venturing where he shouldn't; and a hapless door-to-door girl evangelist whose chipper virginity drives Ginny to some of her most unspeakably heinous acts of cackling sadism.

There's also a whole extra element of interest in Ginny's favorite shopping-network show, "Suzi's Secret", which is always on her television.  Suzi (Suzi Lorraine of SCAVENGER KILLERS in an obvious fat suit) extolls overweight women to revel in their largeness and buy her exclusive line of roomy lingerie, while plus-size models such as the grotesque Babette Bombshell (a caricature of Divine, if such a thing is possible) writhes provocatively. 

It's Lynn Lowry as Ginny, however, that gives MODEL HUNGER its own special top-shelf spot in the annals of recent horror.  She has a field day as the wilted Southern flower whose veneer of curdled gentility hides an inner psycho just bursting to crack skulls and wreak vengeance upon women, whose youth and beauty she resentfully envies, and men, whom she blames for--well--everything else.

Lowry is nothing less than amazing here, delivering a performance that's literally Oscar-worthy (even though she's got about as much chance of being nominated for it as I do).  The more horrific the scene, the more she seems to draw some terrible kind of energy to transform into one of the most gleefully deranged crazy women the screen has ever seen.

Director Debbie Rochon likewise has no reservations about giving fans of extreme sadism and gore plenty of raw meat to gorge themselves on.   The film isn't always particularly polished but has a rough-hewn, no-holds-barred appeal for anyone who likes undiluted horror exploitation with a twisted sense of humor, and is directed with confidence and a measure of style.

The DVD from WildEye Releasing is in widescreen with 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  Extras include a director commentary, trailer, a music video, a self-interview by co-star Aurelio Voltaire, a supremely nauseating Babette Bombshell video called "Nasty Nibblin'", deleted scenes with Rochon and Troma honcho Lloyd Kaufman, and an Easter egg featuring an isolated music track by Harry Manfredini of FRIDAY THE 13TH fame.

MODEL HUNGER jumps feet first into the deep end of the super-sicko sadism pool, wallows around to its black heart's content, and entertains us while doing so.  Some of us, that is--others, as previously warned, should stay as far away from Ginny's house as humanly possible or risk fainting dead away like Scarlett O'Hara on a balmy August afternoon. 

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