Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY ALEX DAVIS
Dir. Lucifer Valentine, Canada, 2012
Coming back to the world of Lucifer Valentine isn't something you could really say you were looking forward to. The director of the infamous Vomit Gore Trilogy is likely one of the most singular directors around, horribly original and never copied or imitated. Those three films – now four with the addition of Black Mass of the Nazi Sex Wizard – are and absolute marathon of endurance. You almost have to tip your hat to anyone that's made it through them. And although this short film comes with the Vomit Gore boxset, it's pretty different in tone, though keeps many of what you would call the Valentine trademarks. And if watching Megan is Missing hadn't already firmly put you off meeting people online, then A Perfect Child of Satan is here to drive the point home once again.
Our lead is Sarah, a woman who is very excited to meet her perfect boyfriend she met in an alternative chatroom. The opening scenes of the movie are pretty endearing – while Sarah does talk about some of the slightly unsavoury things she does to and for her 'clients', in general the opening ten minutes or so are pretty sweet as she dreams about what he'll look like and the things they'll do together. It's a pretty realistic depiction of the buzz of being in the scenario, and actress Chelsea Chainsaw plays the part perfectly.
But before long it's on to meet her online dream man, and the meeting takes place in a fairly anonymous hotel room. The camera switches from Sarah holding it to her unnamed beau holding it, which gives a different perspective to the second half of the short film. Initially there seems to be a buzz and a chemistry, but it turns nasty quickly as the man gets uncomfortably close to her before dragging her to the ground. What follows is pretty unpleasant as he strangles her, beats her, rapes her and then basically leaves her for dead on the bathroom floor.
I say 'pretty unpleasant' where you might think to yourself 'that sounds deeply unpleasant.' But it's all about context, and if you've seen any of the Vomit Gore movies, and built yourself up for something that horrible, then this does fall short of those for pure shock value. It's a more psychological nightmare, even though it has a physical aspect – the final scene is intercut with romantic proclamations made online, and one of the most cutting aspects is Sarah realising what she has gotten herself into and that her dream man is actually a nightmare. The filming is a bit chaotic, which adds to the sense of reality, and the closing shot is Valentine through and through.
Ultimately it's a pretty simple film, one half of which builds up the character before a second half that fundamentally destroys that same character. That gives it something different to Vomit Gore, as many of the victims in those movies we know little or nothing about. It's a bit of a new road for the director but one that I'm glad he decided to explore. No doubt there will still be viewers who find this one too intense, but in relative terms this is a director softening his style slightly to deliver something that remains very effective.
RATING: 8/10. Nothing revelatory in terms of plot or concept – the dangers of online dating and interaction have been discussed in movies plenty before – but the delivery is tidy and clever, and the fact we get to know Sarah and just how happy she is with no idea what is around the corner is pretty uncomfortable. This is probably some of Valentine's best work, or at least the most palatable, and if you wanted an introduction to the director's world I would start here. Because if this is too much then you'd be well advised not to delve any further. This one has a bit more psychology and less physicality, and so gets a very worthy 8/10.