“Love Object” (written and directed by our ol’ buddy, Robert Perigi) is a
life-sized Barbi® nightmare!
This is a good example what a twisted mind can do with $1 million dollars.
Imagine this: You’re name is “Kenneth” (Desmond Harrington)
and you’re a geeky guy (sort of like the song, Cellophane, from Chicago),
you work as a tech writer and your boss is Novak (Rip Torn). You discover
your writing skills have, pardon the expression, petered out and you’re
now on deadline for the largest project you’ve ever had and it’s writing
a huge, boring tech manual.
Enter the age of “Tekkies Unite!” and internet sales! Kenneth visits
a porn shop, run by John Burns, (who
looks to have a SERIOUS case of Rosaceae) and gets
turned on to a mail order “gal” of the rubber kind. Kenneth goes online
to order “Nikki” who becomes his S &M queen bitch of a dominatrix.
Nikki’s mouth doesn’t move but she invades Kenneth’s perverted mind,
and he submits to her every sick and twisted whim.
Enter a young cutie, Lisa, who has the “gift” of techno babble and Kenneth
“mentors” her into being his assistant writer. Actually, she does
the whole job while Kenneth takes the credit - and bonus! Kenneth
begins to mold Lisa into a real life “Nikki.” Lisa discovers the plot -
we won’t describe it because it would spoil the works- and promptly “shit
hits the fan” while Kenenth’s life goes down the toilet.
With nothing left to lose, Kenneth kidnaps his “Love Object” and removes
her to his apartment lair. Suspicious, the building superintendent
(deliciously played by hookah-smoking Udo Kier), investigates and
uses his master key - only to meet his maker in a trash bag.
To describe the rest of the movie would be to spoil it for everyone.
Suffice it to say, it has some delectable blood work, an authentic “off-duty
cop neighbor upstairs,” and Lisa gets to turn the tables... every girl’s
dream. BUT! The end has a TWIST you’d never suspect!
Shot by Jerry (aka Sidney)
Sidell on an ARRI
SR-3 camera in HD format and converted to 16mm (later transferred to
35mm), there’s some excellent shots that mess with your mind’s eye.
There’s a scene in the end that pays tribute to the “Phantasm” influence
with the container of orange-ish embalming fluid. “I couldn’t decide
on the color (of the fluid).” Said Perigi. “If I made it green it’s
"Re-Animator," if I made it yellow, it’s `Phantasm.’
So I had to make a choice.”
Robert and I also talked about the prosthetics that were used. “On
this kind of budget, it was pretty hard to come up with a good (translate:
“bloody”) mutilation scene.” he said. “But, I could mutilate the doll! So
that’s what we did.” The life sized “Nikki”doll - which could use
a MAJOR fashion makeover, btw, - was the deviant creation of Brian Penikas (Jeepers
We also had a chat about how hard it is to do a horror flick and not “take
on heat” because of the sexploitation of women in most films. Personally,
(and I told Robert this as well) I thought it was GREAT that the typical
“victimized female” turns the table goes all Jack Nicholson on Kenneth. (Again,
can’t say more without giving it all away!) The thing that keeps the
chicks coming back for more in roles like “Lisa” is the way we’re treated
on the set. If there’s a ton of guys hanging around drooling during
a nude scene, or there’s an AD (assistant director) with a foul mouth
- that actress is not coming back. If, on the other hand, directors
show appreciation of a woman as a professional performer, no matter
the amount of skin showing, that actress will bend over backwards - (QUICK!
Take the picture! Take the picture!) - for a director to get that special
shot that could make the whole film. Let’s face it, you can’t get
a decent rating if you don’t have a little “indecent” exposure going on.
In “Love Object,” Robert did a great job without it being “in your face.”
(see also: The Women of Phantasm:
It's A Different Take")
Here’s the problem:
(an up-n-coming cutie) played the role of Kenneth solid. He is
what he is - a psychopathic nerd.
an ingenue of great potential, did a Sam Phillips (Phantasm II) but went
WAY over the top and - just a personal take - was off rhythm in her big scene
Rip Torn looked
“ripped” and really just phoned it in on his role as Novak.
Udo Kier was terrific! His screen presence just dominated the
Speaking of the “others,” Bryan Crump (newcomer),
Ellen Green (Naked
Gun 33 1/3), Lyle Kanouse
(a professional “extra”), and Ward Shrake (king of the
“uncredited” role) gave performances that were flatter than a Texas cowpie
and some were just as stinky.
Basically, “Love Object” needs a love potion. When you shoot a “victim”
scene, especially with a woman,” you have to be able to care for the
character. This requires a deeper sense of affection between “Lisa”and
“Kenneth” than what was portrayed. We just don’t get that warm fuzzy
feeling of intimacy between the characters. So, when the tide turns,
you also lose the bittersweet irony that one should feel as a result of caring
for that person.
Overall, Vampi gives “Love Object” (on a scale of one to ten - ten being
the best), we’d give it an “8" for visuals, and a “5" for performance.
In any event, Robert Perigi deserves “two snaps and a twist” from Vampi
for getting the project to the screen.
You GO, Honey!
BACK TO NIGHTMAREZ CAFE