The oft-used phrase “write your story” applies to the immersive, first rate horror/thriller Slapface. Writer-director Jeremiah Kipp pulled elements from his grandfather’s life to give his narrative an authentic feel. With locked in collaboration from producer/actor Mike Manning, cinematographer Dominick Sivilli, and lead actor August Maturo, Kipp has cooked up a delicious cinematic meal. The interview was just as appetizing, as references to director Samuel Fuller, Huckleberry Finn, and Mary Shelley were sprinkled throughout our talk. Check out our Find Your Film interview with Kipp below!
Find Your Film co-host Eric Holmes and I both recommend Slapface, and Holmes also wanted to spotlight the indiegogo campaign from the short Don’t Pick Up. Starring Keith David and Kathryn Erbe, the short is directed by Jeremiah Kipp and penned by Susannah Nolan.
Check out our Slapface review on the latest Find Your Film episode:
“(Don’t Pick Up) is set in a children’s bookstore,” said Kipp. “It reminds me of David Lean’s Brief Encounter. It’s a really beautiful film from the 1940s about a couple that tentatively gets together but there are awkward things that get in the way. It’s almost like a dark rom-com where you feel these two people who are messed up and thwarted by life almost getting together. And the audience yearns for them to make it work. The children’s bookstore, where the film is set in, kind of lends a very fantastic, fairy tale tone to the piece. Which as you know from Slapface, really attracts me. Don’t Pick Up is not a horror film, but it has dark underpinnings.”
Slapface centers on Lucas (The Nun’s August Maturo), a young boy who is being parented by his older broher Tom (Mike Manning). To instill strength in Lucas, Tom plays slapface with his sibling, and no matter how you slice it, this is downright abusive. Tom is also builled by three girls in his neighborhood (the feature is mainly set in the woods), and a monster (Lukas Hassel) is also taking over the kid’s life. Haunted by a traumatic past and scarred by abuse, Lucas’ shot at happiness seem like a pipe dream.
Kipp upends our expectations of the horror/thriller narrative, and viewers’ loyalties may shift as the narrative progresses. Co-starring Libe Barer (Sneaky Pete) as Tom’s new girlfriend and Mirabelle Lee as one of Tom’s bullies, Slapface also exists in a realistic and uncompromising world. There may be a monster lurking around the woods, but this tale is not just a fantastical tale; the all too often heartbreaking situations in Slapface are the stuff of life.
“It started, for me, rereading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” said Kipp. “And loving the middle the section of that book, where the monster is outside the farmhouse and studying the family inside. And (I thought) that would make a heck of a movie. The monster is outside looking in – and who are those people inside?”
My previous interview with Jeremiah Kipp, along with actors Mike Manning and August Maturo, is below: