Justina Walford and John Stuart Wildman of "Ladies of the House"
In the Horror genre, sex and fantasy almost always make a gruesome collision with homicidal mania, and if we're lucky, there will some dark resounding purpose behind the killings. This rarely occurs, except in Asian Horror and in Ladies of the House, a fresh intelligent take on Grindhouse horror produced by writer/director wife/husband combo John Stuart Wildman and Justina Walford. The differences between Asian and American Horror are radically different. In the Asian horror genre, women aren't fearful, hyper-sexualized objects, but also take on antagonistic roles. "I wanted to make female characters who are strong and not in a position where they are terrified victims or monsters, and we wanted to clear the deck completely and make a world in which men were superfluous and there to serve women," added Wildman. Check out the filmmakers' exclusive interview with Indiezone.tv!
Filmmakers Justina Walford and John Stuart Wildman of "Ladies of the House" sit down with Indiezone.tv to discuss the joys and tears of making their first feature together!
The plot is fun and full of lust and bust. Two arrogant idiots and one insecure fat boy decide to follow a stripper home for some action. Things take a bad turn and whoops! The stripper ends up dead. Worse, her close-knit older roommates, also hot lesbian strippers in boudoir wear, just happen to be cannibals.
The raw tension of the exchange between the terrified men of prey and the angry, predacious cannibalistic women is heightened by both the raw, saturated shots and the 1950's brightly colored Formica furniture and familiar electronics reminding us all of a familiar moment in our collective memory. "The space is completely filled up," Wildman says. Each detail from the toaster to refrigerator magnets make set look family focused and lived in, so that the sentimentality of the suburban nuclear family contrasts against the tantalizing tickle of cannibalism and feminine power.
"We wanted a beautiful film," Wildman said. "Cinematographar Bo Ethridge did a amazing work." Wildman and Walford argued passionately about the color scheme, and painstaking care was placed into the film's visual aesthetic. The result is a subtle and intricate use of color that is mystifying and begs for this film to be watched again and again. In Ladies of the House, color has meaning; it speaks to the personalities of the characters and twists in the plot are cleverly foreshadowed by aesthetic clues laced throughout the film.
Borrowed from Korean horror, a starkly un-American device of deliberately muting the grotesque and reducing the amount of shock the audience will register, is often employed. This is why IndiezoneTV agrees with Dread Central that Ladies of the House really is black comedy. The women's performances are as strong and in control as their characters, but as Americans, we're conditioned to see sexy women eating men as comedy; we can't imagine women as lethal cold blooded cannibals. Ladies of the House takes your there, without taking you back out of the film.
For an independent film of the Horror genre, Ladies of the House delivers with a kind of irreverent culpability usually only accomplished by much more expensive films. There is one gruesome scene, one massive visceral explosive moment full of gore and horror and it definitely exceeds expectations for an independent film. This is a beautiful film featuring everything you fantasize about all while stretching gender and culture norms. Let's hear it for the Ladies of the House, the New American Horror.