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2:37 (2006) is a harrowing, brutally honest film. I don’t think I’ll be the same after having watched this raw portrayal of teenage life, especially since I have a daughter who, next year, will start her teenage years. 2:37 is stunning, shocking, sadly beautiful, and absolutely brilliant. I don’t usually post about dramas on this blog because I rarely watch them and, when I do, I never see any that truly move me. However, this one truly moved me.

*** SPOILER ALERT *** If you plan on watching this film, stop reading now. In order to write about why this movie moved me, I have to reveal the major plot points and the jaw-dropping end.

2:37 is an Australian drama, written and directed by Murali K. Thalluri, that tells the interwoven stories of six high school students. Each student is dealing with his or her own problems, but, they all intertwine. Melody (Teresa Palmer) is struggling with an unwanted pregnancy, while her brother Marcus (Frank Sweet), a gifted student, is struggling to win their wealthy father’s approval. Marcus witnessed his parents having sex when he was younger, and the image still resonates with him, driving him. He raped melody when their parents were away and, now, she’s pregnant. Luke (Sam Harris) is a popular football star who is struggling secretly with the fact the he is gay, while his girlfriend Sarah (Marni Spillane) is dealing with an eating disorder. Luke is good friends with Melody, and when Sarah learns that Melody is pregnant, she thinks Luke is the father but blames Melody. Sean (Joel Mackenzie) is a stoner who gets high to deal with being openly gay in a school filled with students who are not very sympathetic. Sean is in love with and has had relations, in secret, with Luke even though Luke berates him in public. Finally, Steven (Charles Baird) is an awkward boy who suffers medical issues that cause him to wet himself. He’s an outcast, and, all of the students constantly taunt and ridicule him. All, except for one student… Kelly (Clementine Mellor). Kelly’s biggest problem is that she cares.

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Marcus (Frank Sweet) and Melody (Teresa Palmer) in 2:37.

The story takes place over the course of a single day and, at exactly 2:37, a suicide occurs. Each of the six students is dealing with personal issues that are boiling over on this day, leading us to believe that any one of them could be the one that will surrender to his/her pain. However, the sad truth in life is that the ones who are in the most pain are the ones who seem like they’re in no pain at all. Kelly, who isn’t even one of the six dealing with major issues, is the one who commits suicide at exactly 2:37. She just wants to be noticed. She doesn’t want to be alone. She doesn’t want to be forgotten. But, that reveal, in itself, isn’t what moved me about this film …

Kelly’s suicide, which is graphically depicted, is possibly one of the most harrowing scenes on film that I have ever watched. It’s absolutely devastating. Kelly locks herself in the school’s bathroom, sobbing as she contemplates taking a pair of scissors to her wrist. Eventually, she does, with a quick cut. The blood spurts up, then, begins spilling out onto the bathroom floor, as we watch her sobbing, on the floor, slowly bleeding to death. “Help me,” she begs, softly, through her tears, but, it’s too late. This chillingly real portrait of suicide, apparently, caused some controversy when the film was initial released. Some mental health groups were concerned about the occurrence of copycat suicides. Kelly’s suicide and the equally graphic incestuous rape scene forced a rating on the film that did not allow for its intended audience to see it.

The suicide itself is so disturbingly realistic and Kelly’s despair is so heartbreakingly intense that I find it difficult not to sob myself when I watch this scene. It’s a shocking, and unsparing. I hope that Clementine Mellor won an award for her performance. She is just amazing. Watch that performance here …

The entire young cast of this film is fantastic, by the way. Terese Palmer, in fact, offers another performance as raw and heart-wrenching as Clementine Mellor. We feel Melody’s despair from the very first second we see her crying in her bedroom. Surprisingly, filmmaker Murali K. Thalluri was only 22 years old when he finished this film via private financing. He shows how his characters lives intersect by filming same scenes from the perspectives of different characters. In addition, each character offers testimonials that reveal what they’re feeling thus avoiding dialogue that would seem trite. In the end, Thalluri reveals the inspiration for his film …

Dedicated to My Dear Friend Kelly
Born February 7th – 8:34pm
Died September 3rd – 2:37pm

Heartbreaking. Now, watch this video for the song “Don’t Forget Me” that plays over the film’s end credits …

Beautiful. The song was written and recorded for 2:37 by Chloe Castledine, who was a production assistant on the film. Finally, I love the poster art above, but, Melody’s make-over is contradictory to the film’s theme. Here’s a more fitting  poster for 2:37

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Do yourself a favor – watch this movie, even if you’ve read my entire post.

NOTE: OK, it’s 24 hours later and I am still shaken by this brilliant film’s final moments. I keep replaying that scene in its entirety hoping, I guess, that by doing so, I can become numb to it. But, it’s not working.

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Hot Rod Girls Save the World (2008) is a retro-styled “hot rod B-movie” inspired by the trashy teen exploitation films of the 1950s and 1960s. Those films featured teenage delinquents, hot rods and rock ‘n’ roll. HRGSTW doesn’t have teenage delinquents, but, it does have plenty of hot girls, hot rods, rock ‘n’ roll, and… aliens and zombies! The film, written and directed by “musician turned writer/director” D.A. Sebasstian, is, for the most part, a wonderfully authentic tribute to a forgotten genre. However, at 122 minutes, it’s a bit lengthy, but, the film’s campy charm helps to keep the pace from dragging [but, not the cars!]. HRGSTW is one cool movie!

Vanessa Trojan (Lindsay Calkins) is a field reporter for the Seattle Northern Sun. She slept with her senior editor at the last Christmas party and now, because he’s afraid to fire her, she’s in Anywhere, WA, to do a human interest story on a local drag racing duo known as the “Hot Rod Girls”. Betty Petty (Kimberly Lynn Layfield) is the duo’s mechanic. Her father was drag racing legend D.B. Petty who died in a race when his car hit a tree. Nineteen years later, Betty crashed into the same tree that killed her father and, now, she’s permanently mute. JoLeene Dodge (Melene Marie Brown) is the duo’s driver. She’s a brunette hellcat who speaks enough for both of the “Hot Rod Girls”. She has a thing for Johnny DeSoto (Jesse James Stewart), singer of the rockabilly band The Wages of Sin [in the movie and in real life]. The Wages of Sin, with their Celtic influence, sound like the Pacific Northwest’s answer to the East Coast’s Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys.

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Betty Petty (Kimberly Lynn Layfield) and JoLeene Dodge (Melene Marie Brown)

Meanwhile, on the planet Moosha Maa, Funkendaa (Mike Ditmore) is mad that his intergalactic TV reception is being interrupted by radio noise from Earth, 33 light years away. Forced, again, to watch the video for Channel 13 by NYC’s “horror rawkillbilly” band Psycho Charger, Funkendaa decides to borrow his neighbor’s Destrukto Ray Gun to “mentally liquify” the humans and turn them into “zombified killing machines”. Moosha Maa’s language, by the way, consists solely of the words “moosha” and “maa”!

Back on Earth, Betty and JoLeen take Vanessa to a rockabilly party where, after The Wages of Sin perform, JoLeen flirts with Johnny, much to the dismay of JoLeene’s rival and Johnny’s ex-girlfriend Vikki Lee (Heather Lewis). Soon, a brawl breaks out and, suddenly, a strange light appears in the sky. The next morning, Vikki Lee turns up missing and Anywhere’s only gumshoe, Detective Lloyd (Jimmi Davies), at first, accuses JoLeene. However, as more people turn up dead and others start acting crazy, like zombies, Detective Lloyd realizes that something really weird is going on. Now, he must work together with Vanessa, JoLeene, Betty and Betty’s blind, rap-loving grandmother Nell Petty-Tucker (J. Maki) to figure out what happened in Anywhere and, possibly, everywhere. Will Detective Lloyd and the “Hot Rod Girls” be able to save the world?

Meanwhile, back on Moosha Maa, Funkendaa’s son Buhgabaa (David Nance), regretful that his father zapped Earth, dons an “Earth Rocker Boy Disguise”, hops into an intergalactic transport pod and sets a course for our planet with the hope of righting selfish Funkendaa’s wrong. Will Buhgabaa make it to Earth in time to help Detective Lloyd and the “Hot Rod Girls” save the world?

Watch the trailer for HRGSTW here …

HRGSTW was shot (mostly) in B&W which enhances the film’s trashy ’50s-’60s feel. D.A. Sebasstian has the retro look (and sound) down; but, the dialogue isn’t quite as campy as the similarly retro film The Ghastly Love of Johnny X since HRGSTW doesn’t actually take place in that era. However, since it is set within the (fictional) small town of Anywhere, WA, where hot rods, sanctioned drag racing, and modern rockabilly rule, it’s almost as if it does. The cool original score of HRGSTW is by Sebasstian‘s industrial rock band KsK (aka Kill Switch…Klick), while the awesome soundtrack includes songs from various rockabilly bands such as DragStrip Riot, The Invisible Surfers, Billy Dwayne & The Creepers, The Mercury Four, Sebasstian‘s side project D.A. Sebasstian & The Inner Demons, and others. “Bitch” by Haeather Hexxx & The Hellions is a favorite!

The most captivating feature of this delightfully fun film, for me, is its three main characters and the lovely ladies who play them. We see that Vanessa Trojan had previously written articles about Seattle’s punk rock scene, and with her enthusiasm in sharing the story of two women who are dominating the men in their class, she’s like the riot grrrl of journalism. Lindsay Calkins is certainly charming as Vanessa, as are Melene Marie Brown and Kimberly Lynn Layfield as the “Hot Rod Girls”. I love the dynamic between loudmouth JoLeene and mute Betty. We don’t learn much about JoLeene’s backstory, but, I think she’s tough because she feels like she has to protect Betty after her accident even though Betty’s pretty tough herself. Layfield, with only one line of dialogue, in a flashback, brings her character to life with only her facial expressions and mannerisms. She’s just wonderful as Betty Petty! I love when Johnny introduces Vanessa at the rockabilly party by saying she’s doing a story on JoLeene, and Betty offers a shrug that says “What about me?!” It’s a great scene. Sadly, Kimberly Lynn Layfield was killed in a senseless act of violence in 2012 at the local bar she frequented in Seattle. She will be missed.

Melene Marie Brown and Lindsay Calkins previously appeared in the video for the song “Evil Undead Girlfriend” (2004) by D.A. Sebasstian & The Inner Demons. Watch that video here …

Looks like that would make a cool horror film, huh? Well, Evil Undead Girlfriend, starring Smookie Tiger and Becky Lee, is currently in pre-production for D.A. Sebasstian‘s Go-Kustom Films; as is Chopper Chicas, starring Heidi Van Horne and Monica Olive! He may as well just take my money right now!

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HRGSTW, by the way, is referred to as “The Anywhere Trilogy Part 2″ in the film’s opening credits. Part 1, the sequel to HRGSTW, will be called The Legend of D.B. Petty and it will, obviously, be about Betty Petty’s father, the drag racing legend of Anywhere, WA.

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This delightful photoset is by iudas (Bonnie and Clyde) from Mexico. She “collects souls.” She is “narcissistic, pyromaniac, obsessive, compulsive, hypochondriac, megalomaniac, cyclothymic, bipolar, misogynist, violent, paranoid schizophrenic. But more than anything, sadistic and suicidal.” But, she adds that, above all things,” she is a pathological liar. Her photography is sometimes dark but not in a traditional kind of way – her dark is vibrant.

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Rockabilly Zombie Hunter (1)

Michele Ginn (RockerMichele) is “a photographer, crafter, gamer, prop maker, artist” from Fayetteville, NC. This photo set is from Escaped Images, Ginn‘s outlet for “creative and themed modeling photography.” Michele Ginn Photography is her outlet for “personalized, affordable, and fun photography.” I love this photo set. Zombies are always my obsession but, lately, I’m on a major rockabilly kick, too. The lovely model’s name is Nicole Miles. That’s a very cute dress, by the way.

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Rockabilly Zombie Hunter (2)

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Rockabilly Zombie Hunter (3)

Oh, and I love Michele‘s disturbingly beautiful makeup test on herself for a zombie shoot …

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oh noh! Zombay!

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The very bad-ass Saffron

Back in July, I posted about Boost Mobile Australia’s STAY LIVING ad campaign which consisted of four short (graphic) zombies films that were disseminated on YouTube and cut into several 15 and 30-second TV spots. The films were all pretty amazing but my favorite was Saff & Jen‘s in which Saff, a lovely lesbian in hot pants and on roller skates, clears a grocery store of zombies using a cricket paddle while her equally lovely girlfriend Jen, in Daisy Dukes, waits, blissfully unconcerned. Saff & Jen’s film should be expanded into a full-length feature!

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Saff & Jen surviving the zombie apocalypse with each other

I wondered, back in July, who the actress was that played Saff. I searched the internet far and wide, but, to no avail. However, now I know, thanks to the lovely Saffron herself! She is Dorothy Jean Joly, an Australian dancer, choreographer, actress, and model …

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The very adorable Dorothy Jean Joly

Check out Joly‘s website or StarNow page for more lovely photos. The one above is my favorite. And, check out her website or YouTube channel for some videos of her performing. That batucada, “an African influenced Brazilian percussive style”, is very cool. Thanks, Dorothy!

“Science created them. Mankind will fear them. Men will want to date them.”

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Fiend Fatale is an epic horror-adventure film, about five sisters, a vampire, zombie, werewolf, demon and mermaid, cloned from the DNA of extinct monsters, thrust into the modern world and facing off against the government, terrorists and themselves.

Fiend Fatale is a new project in development by Abyssmal Entertainment. It was [or will be] written and directed by the wonderful genius that is Abyssmal‘s founder Steven Shea! The project “is currently seeking financing, and being shopped around to different studios, executives and financiers.” In Fiend FataleShea and Abyssma“have created a brand that contains a proof-of-concept short film, comic book, video game app, as well as possibilities for a television series and sequel potentials.” I am excited for all of those things!

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In addition, the soundtrack will consist of popular rock, punk and pop bands for cross promotion. The first band on board is Dallas, TX-based “hellbilly/horror/cowpunk” Ghoultown, whose music sounds like it’s from the soundtrack to a spaghetti western/horror film. Listen to the tale told in “Drink With The Living Dead“.

Watch the Fiend Fatale concept trailer here …

Ooh, that bitchy werewolf makes me howl! And, that gamer demon is so hot! They all are! Those lovely fiend fatales are Nicole Hampton (Lorelei the Mermaid), Amber Sym (Mia the Demon), Lauren Kisner (Alex the Werewolf), Ansley Gordon (Anne the Vampire), and Amber Freeman (Shelly the Zombie).

Watch the Fiend Fatale proof-of-concept short film here …

Amber Sym (Mia the Demon), by the way, was the sexy host of a cool web series called Florida in the Shadows (2013) in which she played scantily-clad Countessa Lenore, “a modern Elvira”,  who was sent “to haunted locations in Central Florida to out the folklore, and legends, and put fear in its place once, and for all!” Check out the YouTube channel here. Highly recommended! The web series, created by filmmaker Bruce Wood, is being revived as America in the Shadows after being successfully funded via Kickstarter.

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Amber Sym as Countessa Lenore

Anyway, I will be following Steven Shea‘s Fiend Fatale project very closely, as well as checking out more good stuff from his Abyssmal Entertainment!

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Fiend Fatale concept poster

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Rockabilly Zombie Queen by EryckWwebbGraphics

Eryck Webb Graphics (EWG) is “a commission based graphic art business providing a variety of illustration and graphic design services!” This awesome piece is a “personal work to be used in Zombie Art book published in UK.” He says that it’s best viewed while listening to Rockabilly Zombie by The Straight 8s. I say it’s best while listening to Dial Z. for Zombies by Mad Marge and the Stonecutters.