Tusk and Starry Eyes are two well-hyped recent films that are very different yet both feature themes of body morphing! While neither blew me away and I don’t feel a need to ever see either again (let alone add them to my personal collection), they are both quite entertaining. So I’ll go through them quick.
I would say Tusk has a more Kevin Smith feel than his previous “horror” film Red State (which I blog about here). It’s obnoxious, funny in a twisted way, sort of ridiculous, and even gives us some pop culture throwback by including Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 hit “Tusk” and giving Haley Joel Osment a job.
Justin Long plays a podcaster who goes to do a story at an old house in the middle of nowhere. You will either get a giggle from Justin’s performance or absolutely loathe his crass shtick.
But shit gets serious once Justin meets the man who lives in the house—Michael Parks (Nightmare Beach, From Dusk Till Dawn 3, Planet Terror, We Are What We Are). Tusk essentially becomes a mashup of Misery, Boxing Helena, and The Human Centipede as Parks tells a story of a time he was saved at sea by a walrus…a companion he would like to have in his life once again. Holy WTF. Poor Justin.
The performances of Justin and Michael make the movie, as does the heinous thing Justin becomes. What spoils it a bit is an unrecognizable Johnny Depp as an utterly absurd caricature of a detective. Seriously, what went wrong with this man’s career after A Nightmare On Elm Street? So much wasted potential.
STARRY EYES (2014)
Starry Eyes is sort of a hybrid flick that goes from trippy satanic/witchery flick to gross body horror to gory slasher.
The main girl lives in an apartment complex with a group of fellow wannabe actor friends. She suffers from some hardcore self-esteem issues that intensify when she tries desperately to score the lead in a project called “Silver Scream.”
After a final “audition” that includes the casting couch and her essentially selling her soul, she goes through a period of being “reborn” as the star she longs to be. Cue the nasty, gnarly body horror segment.
And finally, she must shed the last remnants of her post-fame existence, which means letting go of her past…and taking out anyone who doubted or got in the way of her talent.
Starry Eyes is dark, brooding, and depressing, which segues perfectly into all the repulsive gore and violence. If you’re a fan of the uniquely different Alyce Kills, which I blog about here, then definitely check out Starry Eyes.