Throw-Back Horror

Bruce Von Stiers

Carmen Anello is one of my favorite theatrical actors. I have seen her in co-starring roles in Here On The Flight Path and In The Heights. Carmen also starred as Mortica Addams in a theatrical production of The Addams Family.

Not only is Carmen fantastic on stage, she now has branched out into being a film actor. I recently had an opportunity to view a film that Carmen starred in.

The film is an indie horror film titled Exposure. The film also starred Owen Lawless and featured cameos by Lynn Lowry and Bruce Smith. Prior to this film, Owen co-starred in the film Helltown and the series Think, Create, Repeat.

Carmen portrays Myra and Owen is James. They are a younger couple who seem to have had a very rocky year. They come up to a mountain cabin in order to reconcile and rekindle their relationship. The cabin had belonged to James' grandparents and he had fond memories of coming there as a child.

But there is something not quite right about the cabin and the areas surrounding it. At least the viewer gets that impression from Myra's expressions and some eerie music that plays during some of the scenes.

During a conversation about his family, James reveals something terrible that happened with his grandparents. There's a cutaway scene that shows a wild-eyed disheveled grandfather. He is played by Bruce Smith, another actor I've seen in several stage productions. But usually, on stage, Bruce is doing something comedic and often with a highball glass in his hand.

Lynn Lowry is the grandmother in the film. From 1973's The Crazies to this year's Rabid, Lynn is well known for her roles in horror films.

The production company behind the film was Sunrunner Films. The film is being released by Scream Team Releasing.

The film was produced by Clayton Ashley, Jake Jackson and Andrew Snell. It was directed by Snell and edited by Ashley. The three of them had worked together on a previous film. The eerie music that I mentioned earlier was composed by Joshua Luttrell, who just so happens to be Carmen's husband. The film has a run-time of just over an hour seventeen minutes.

Information on the film lists it as a practical effects feature. That is, there was no CGI or post production effects used to produce the horror effects in the film. Jake Jackson was in charge of the effects. Several other people with the last name of Jackson were involved in the makeup effects along with a few other folks. Those included Tatum and Abigail Musick, Angela and Jalen Blackwell, Larissa Goodwin and Justine McKinney. Stephen Farrell was the sound guy along with help by George Valyer.

As for the practical horror effects, they were interesting. There as a strange, oblong thing that slides out of a fish to bite James. And there are things like a penis looking tongue and similar appendages and some vine like tentacles that try to ensnare Myra. There is a very cool visual effect at the end of the film that I can't reveal without spoiling things.

The film included a couple of songs by a band called Westfall that were pretty decent.

Although the film is available for streaming, it was also released in other formats. There was a DVD format, a Blu-Ray format and even a VHS formatted released.

For those copy-in-hand formats, the film had several extras. Those extras included production stills from the film, a theatrical trailer, a VHS trailer and trailers from other films being offered by Scream Team Releasing. There was a behind-the-scenes special effects montage and a few audio commentaries. The audio commentary I checked out featured Austin Snell, Jake Jackson and Carmen and Owen. It was an insightful running dialog about the entire film and how much fun they had making the film along with various aspects of the production.

Exposure was definitely a throw-back horror film. Elements from 80's horror films can be found here; relationship tensions gone awry, an isolated cabin, eerie music and a sex scene. Yes, there is the gratuitous sex scene, but it wasn't overdone or cheesy. The dialog between the characters seemed to flow well. The visual effects could have been better, but this was a low budget, indie film and a throw-back one at that. The reasoning behind people turning into monsters wasn't fully realized, but in the case of Myra and James jealousy seems to be the catalyst. I thought the cameo by Lynn Lowry was a nice touch. Owen did a decent job in his portrayal of James, although a couple of the scenes were iffy. Carmen had the better role, with great facial expressions ranging from confusion to being scared to anger and even regret.

If you like that throw-back style of horror films, then Exposure is one to check out.

Streaming outlets for Exposure include Showtime and Amazon. Physical copies of the film can be obtained at various outlets.

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© 2019 Bruce E Von Stiers