Horror is the perfect vehicle for social commentary, Just look at George Romero’s Dead films. At this point in our history/reality, America stands at a crossroads filled with desperation, fear, and frustration. We have an internal battle of compassion and hate that sometimes spills out on to the street and people get hurt. We are deeply, deeply divided, and there are those in power who are happy to exploit that division and even maximize it for their own personal gain and to bolster their agendas. In other words, America is fucked right now.
In times of crisis, we always look to artists to help articulate our anxiety. Right now, the humanitarian crisis on the border is perhaps the biggest black eye on our liberty since we swept across the continent under the banner of Manifest Destiny, slaughtering everyone in our way. You would think that after World War II when we liberated the Jewish people from death camps (not to mention our own internment camps for Japanese citizens) that we would be wary of keeping masses of innocent people in cages. After 2016, though, the world is upside down and we have a “president” who can’t spell empathy, much less possess it in his heart.
Izzy Lee’s latest short film, Re-Home, starring Gigi Saul Guerrero, Kasey Lansdale, and Morgan Peter Brown, is a ghoulish imagining of a very near and very possible future that sees a border wall creating an opportunity for some very insidious exploitation. Again, this is a short film and I could spoil the whole thing in half a sentence, so I want to remain as vague as possible about the plot. What I can tell you, after watching all of Izzy’s films over the last couple of years, is that Re-Home, in terms of quality of storytelling and filmmaking, is another home run for Izzy Lee. It’s creepy and sad. Guerrero (Mexico Barbaro, Luchagore, Culture Shock) turns in an empathetic and heartbreaking performance with Brown (All the Creatures Were Stirring) and Lansdale (Post-Partum) providing counter-balance as seemingly benevolent white allies with twisted hearts. Re-Home tells a complete story in a matter of minutes, a very hardcore punk response to a deep and troubling issue (see also Izzy’s film Rites of Vengeance, which takes a baseball bat, literally, to the church sexual abuse scandal that will likely be revealing itself for years to come). Re-Home plays with Guerrero’s feature, Culture Shock, at Fantasia Fest on July 25th at 9:45 pm.
Then on the flip side, we have Izzy’s other new short, The Obliteration of the Chickens. “The universe does not care. The abyss is stupid.” Narrated by author Bracken MacLeod (13 Views of the Suicide Woods, Mountain Home), Obliteration uses all stock footage to lay bare and reflect upon the banality of existence. This is probably the hardest you’ll ever laugh at the utter pointlessness of our stupid, stupid world. I watched this one on my phone while taking a lunch break at a fast food joint, and I just sat there chuckling to myself, but also wondering if it would even matter if I were to go back to work.
With each new release, Izzy displays her broadening versatility as a storyteller. I’m a big fan and look forward to whatever she does next. Like Nihil Noctem Films on Facebook to stay up to date on screenings, links, and anthology contributions.