We’ve all heard the stories of washed-up actors and child stars. The ones who couldn’t find success as an adult and their desperate bids to stay in the business and the limelight. Trying after all rational hope, as well as their sanity, is gone. We’ve also heard of all the young women who head to Hollywood looking for fame. And those more than willing to take advantage of them in one way or another. DEADLY FAMOUS brings them together in a grim and disturbing way.
Alan Miller (Daniel O’Meara BLOOD RANCH) childhood fame has long since faded, but he refuses to accept that his career has ended. He goes to auditions and blows them with outrageous behavior, usually directed towards females. He also rents out his guesthouse to aspiring actresses and offers his services as an acting coach. This also tends not to end well. And he has a new tenant, Pamela (Jackie Moore, PERNICIOUS).
He also claims to be producing a film and auditions actresses This usually ends up very badly because he’s also a serial killer. In fact, the film starts with an audition coming to an abrupt end when he creeps the would be actress out so badly she flees. He stalks her back to her apartment, filming it all, breaks in and brutally kills her. As this goes on an odd sort of friendship develops between Alan and Pamela. But when her career starts to take off and she finds a boyfriend something very nasty begins building in what’s left of Alan’s soul.
DEADLY FAMOUS is not a straightforward serial killer film. There is much use of distorted photography and images, (the open title sequence is stunning) as well as monologues. Alan still considers himself a working actor and rehearses them. Their content gives insight into his character. One scene where it’s heard over images of Pamela and her boyfriend has a serious impact. I don’t want to give the impression this is a pretentious art film, it’s not. But it isn’t a typical direct to DVD slasher either.
This extends to the kills as well. There is very little actual blood in DEADLY FAMOUS, but that does not mean the kills are weak. Alan has a thing for suffocation and scenes involving plastic wrap and a particularly viscous hanging are squirm-inducing. Even the first killing, while showing blood, holds back on what it could be showing and uses sound instead.
While DEADLY FAMOUS can be a little scattered and talky at times, writer/directors Jim Lane and Eric Troop deliver a well-made film with some excellent performances. Daniel O’Meara nails the character of Alan, obviously not all there but still able to conceal how far gone he is and what lurks under his eccentric appearance. As Pamela Jackie Moore really shines. She has talent as well as stunning looks and isn’t afraid to put those looks on full display. She had caught my eye in James Cullen Bressack’s Pernicious and this confirms my opinion of her. And I have to mention Eric Roberts (RUNAWAY TRAIN, HIDE IN THE LIGHT) who makes a couple of appearances playing himself, creepy and funny in a train wreck sort of way.
Filmed in 2014 as Head Shot and released in 2016 by Indican Pictures DEADLY FAMOUS isn’t a film for everyone. But for those who want something besides tired serial killer cliches, this delivers.