Thursday, October 11, 2012

Phil's Halloween Horrors Marathon, Day 9: Phil reviews JESSICKA RABID (2010) DVD from Troma Entertainment-October 9, 2012

Starring: Elske McCain, Trent Hagga, Jeff Sisson, Jason Foster, Cisiany Oliver
Written by Matthew Reel and Elske McCain
Produced by Elske McCain, Matthew Reel, Cisiany Oliver, Faith Preston
Directed by Matthew Reel
A Dahlia Jade Productions
Distributed by Troma Entertainment

My Halloween Horrors Marathon continues with Day Nine! The very first Troma movies I ever saw occurred on a Saturday night in February of 1992. I saw the TOXIC AVENGER trilogy on the USA cable show Up All Night and I immediately became, as we fans like to say, Troma-tized! Overnight I became a rabid Troma fan and proceeded to rent, watch, and own just about every single Troma movie in the universe. Now a lot of them are fantastic, while others are just abysmal. But every now and then they release a film that really catches me off guard and I completely become enthralled with it. With their newest release JESSICKA RABID, I have never seen such a brutal, ugly, and ferocious film like this before, and I loved it!

The film stars Elske McCain (who also co-wrote the film and is the first film she produced for her own production company Dahlia Jade Productions) as the mute, slow, and slightly deranged Jessica, whose family members keep her locked up in a large doggy cage in the garage. Her incestuous, inbred, white trash, redneck cousins Marley (Troma alum Trent Hagga) and Brad (Jeff Sisson) treat her like an unwanted and neglected pet. They feed her dog food, hose her down from time to time to clean her, drag her around on a leash, take her outside so she can urinate, rape her, and stripped her of what little humanity she had left. However Jessica escapes from her captivity and soon she's "biting off more than the hand that feeds her!"

What I love about the film is its look and feel. Director Matthew Reel and McCain really delivered a true underground cinema masterpiece. Filmed on location in Tuscon, Arizona, the film's gritty and grainy look is an amalgam of home movies, grindhouse movies, and a snuff film shot in an avant garde, documentary style. Some of the scenes are very disturbing and hard to watch; seeing poor Jessica being kept in a dog cage and then raped by her own cousin stands out the most in my mind. There are also some powerful POV shots of Brad, looking gleefully deranged while he beats and rapes his cousin Abby (Cisiany Oliver). Reel doesn't shy away from the graphic violence and instead shows us all the ugliness within the film as well as with each and every one of these characters. These people make the Firefly family from Rob Zombie's THE DEVIL'S REJECTS  look like THE WALTONS.

Retro Grindhouse Style Poster (2011)
McCain is just amazing in the film. While she has no lines in the film, she communicates to us with her expressions: her eyes are at times curious, afraid, and violent. The scene where Marley takes her outside on her leash so she can pee, that's real. In the behind the scenes featurette, McCain is really squatting outside peeing! Now that is method acting right there! I doubt any big time Hollywood actress would go that far in any of their roles. And I doubt any of them would strip down naked and get hosed down like she did. Elske McCain is also one of the sexiest new indie horror actresses ever to grace the small screen. Let me just say that she could give Mae West a run for her money.

Seeing Hagga again in another Troma film was just the icing on the cake (his last appearance was in CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER PART IV). His portrayal of Marley was so damn incredible as well as believable. I really disliked his character, which proves Hagga's acting talent. If you don't hate the main antagonist, then your film doesn't work. Both Hagga and McCain will be appearing together again (along with Jenny Spain from the indie horror film DEADGIRL) in her new upcoming film IS ANYONE THERE? The film will be her second feature for Dahlia Jade Productions and will begin production later this year. McCain will also be writing the script and directing the film is newcomer Hugh Jordon. Also Hagga made his directorial debut with his new film CHOP, which was just recently released on DVD so be sure to look for it on the shelves at your local retailer.

The DVD has some very cool special features. Among them are the formentioned behind the scenes featurette, behind the scenes slide show, exclusive Elske McCain slideshow, audio commentary, film's trailer, the Lloyd Kaufman outtakes, digital JESSICKA RABID comic, Lloyd Kaufman's interviews with Trent Hagga, a transvestite PSA from the film TERROR FIRMER, and Troma trailers for FATHER'S DAY, MR. BRICKS, THE TOXIC AVENGER, and POULTRYGEST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD.

JESSICKA RABID is my vote for best underground film! The film is a powerful statement that the spirit of independent filmmaking is alive and well and that you too can make your own film. The movie's not for the faint at heart, but if you're brave enough to watch it, you'll be seeing one hell of an exploitation movie! 5 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!

JESSICKA RABID is currently available on DVD and can be purchased at your local retailer or on the Troma website. Visit to order a copy for yourself today!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

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