On Friday August 26, 2011 at 1.00 am (technically Saturday) ‘The Los Angeles Ripper’ screened for the first time in public. The Los Angeles Ripper opened to a packed theater, reminding the audience of what a “Midnight Movie” was, and what it could be once again.
The Los Angeles Ripper directed by Craig McIntyre, tells the story of Grahm (Randy Tobin) a quirky Scott Thompson meets the 80’s looking character. Grahm is a serial killer known as The Los Angeles Ripper and the story is told from his perspective, as he hunts for his prey and lives out his fantasies. Tobin’s portrayal of the Rain Man-esque Grahm, who’s obsessed with his trophy victim (while all other’s are just a way of passing the time), is reminiscent of Nicolas Cage‘s early work. The work we loved in films like Vampire’s Kiss. Tobin and McIntyre effectively walk that very fine line of satire, without ever letting you know they’re in on the joke themselves.
Celeste Martinez holds her own as the fresh off the bus Kristy, who’s new to Los Angeles and looking for friends and taking her singing classes. It’s Kristy, who has become the apple of Grahm’s eye and the object of his obsession. Martinez is able to give her character strength and still maintain that innocence naivety we all lost so long ago.
Another performance worth noting is the scene stealing Brandon Engstrom who deftly lends his talent to the satirical festivities in The Los Angeles Ripper.
The graphic special effects and gore are so intense and over the top, that it has been reported that during a scene were Grahm is scalping a victim and eating her brains, lead actor Randy Tobin actually gagged and had difficulty making his way through the scene.
McIntyre very cleverly sneaks in an “Art-House” film in what on the surface looks like a trashy blood and guts B Movie. Starting out as a cartoonish take on the slasher genre, reminiscent of such cult film’s as ‘Things’, The Los Angeles Ripper takes you on a detour into a nightmarish fable that is perhaps told from the perspective of The Big Bad Wolf. It is the ability of the filmmaker to trust his instinct’s and the actors ability to trust his director, that allow the film to be so effective to the audience.
I asked Randy at the Los Angeles premier where do you draw the line? The answer:
There is no line, we just erased the line completely.
~Randy Tobin (Grahm in The Los Angeles Ripper)
Craig McIntyre represents a new breed of filmmaker that are beginning to rise up. One’s that are tired of the Studio System running the show, and just want to make their film’s their way.
Say what you will about The Los Angeles Ripper, but it’s not a sequel, a prequel, a re-make or a comic book turned into a movie – and these days that says a lot. In other words, it is original. This film actually has a lot going for it, reminiscent of American Psycho– if it were directed by Rob Zombie, or imagine ‘Se7en’ if John Waters had directed that. Obviously it won’t be for everybody and it will be difficult for some to make it all the way through to the end, which is where the real payoff is.
For me it was the over the top violence and gore that desensitized the audience, while effectively setting us up for an emotional impact that you just don’t expect. The audience genuinely loved this movie, and to my surprise and perhaps to the cast and crew as well, went for the ride laughing, clapping and oohhing in all the right places.
I asked director McIntyre what his plans for distribution were, and he slyly answered:
I don’t have any plans yet, just exploring different offers and if any are good enough maybe I’ll do that. Or, maybe I’ll just do my own distribution.
~Craig McIntyre (Director)
An ironic statement, since The Los Angeles Ripper premiered at Quentin Tarantino’s legendary theater The New Beverly Cinema, where just the day before, Indie director Kevin Smith was completing a 2 week run for his film Red State to qualify for the Oscars. Red State was another film where the director turned his back on the old ways, and toured with the film himself in 15 cities, perhaps setting a new precedence of thing’s to come.
Regardless, distribution should be an easy task for Team McIntyre.
Filmed with a surprising production value and packed with music from awesome Indie bands YIDHRa, Lost Boy Scout and Full Blast. It’s a fun little film and deserves to be watched. Craig McIntyre is already putting together his next project, that will have a budget. I can only imagine what this band of misfits could do with a real budget? It is a scary thought.
If you missed The Los Angeles Ripper in LA, you will get your next chance in Las Vegas when it screens as an official selection in the Polly Grind Film Festival this October. No news on the official website yet, but we will keep you posted.