review by Vampi the Vegetarian Vampire

“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.

Desmond Harrington
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.  
John Burns

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.

Melissa Sagemiller 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!

Jerry aka Sidney Sidell 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 Kreepers).

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:

Desmond Herrington (an up-n-coming cutie) played the role of Kenneth solid.  He is what he is - a psychopathic nerd.  

Melissa Sagemiller, 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 with “Kenneth.”
Rip Torn
Rip Torn looked “ripped” and really just phoned it in on his role as Novak.

Udo Kier

Udo Kier
was terrific!  His screen presence just dominated the others.

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!