gonzoriffic, bitch!

Directed by Shasta Fairchild
Written by Amber Esquibel and Shasta Fairchild
Featuring Shasta Fairchild, Amber Esquibel and Sean Fairchild
Freakshit Hellbus Pictures

Jean Genet once wrote, "To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance." Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of low-budget, underground film, where quite often people are either trying to make the next cult hit, or seeing who can out-disgust the other. It would seem that in this age of digital moviemaking, where just about anyone can afford to film, edit and share their work with the public, individuality falls by the wayside, and we're left with what largely consists of camcorder footage of guys ripping fake arms off one another, accompanied by dialogue so poorly recorded that you can't hear it, and nothing resembling a coherent plot.

The title of Shasta Fairchild's debut film, SHIT FILLED CUPCAKES, suggests yet another hat thrown in this ring, hoping to gain attention with a vulgar and shocking title, but don't let it fool you. CUPCAKES is actually worth a look, if for no other reason, because it isn't a horror movie (thank you).

In the opening title sequence, we're introduced to our two main characters. There's the bratty, foul-mouthed Geena (Fairchild), a has-been actress desparate to get her faded career back on track, and her assistant Francesca (Amber Esquibel), who's just about had it with her employer's diva attitude. While Geena spends time having "glamour fits" at the beach, bitching out her agent on the cell phone, and drinking herself into a coma, Francesca takes care of the house and waits on Geena hand and foot. But when Geena squeals up the driveway one day and unapologetically hits her with the SUV, Francesca decides to get revenge. And it's anything but sweet.

The movie starts off slow, but builds a compellingly odd momentum that absolutely prevents you from turning it off. It is competently shot, written and acted, placing it high above your average microbudget effort. The music is fittingly strange, and the performances are all first rate. Fairchild in particular is a riot as Geena, spouting her lines in that near-improvisational way that fans of John Waters' early flicks will recognize immediately. As a matter of fact, CUPCAKES feels more like something out of 1970s Dreamland Studios than anything else I've seen that tries so hard to be. Mort, the perverted gardener, wouldn't be out of place in a Russ Meyer picture, or an obscure cult favorite like PLEASE DON'T EAT MY MOTHER.

SHIT FILLED CUPCAKES is without a doubt one of my favorite films to come out of the current shot-on-video ground swell, and gets Gonzoriffic's highest recommendation. It's got a re-watchability that is the earmark of all great cult films, and succeeds where so many others have failed, and efforlessly at that. Shasta Fairchild has achieved Genet's elegant harmony in bad taste, and in doing so, taken me completely by surprise. This movie made me laugh a lot, it's fun, and is appropriately vomit-inducing too. But more disgusting than centipede Jell-O, more sickening than a cat food smoothie, is the thought of Fairchild never making another movie. Ugh! I don't even want to picture that.

(April 2005)

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