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Massawyrm Embraces THE LOST!!

Merrick wishes Jacko would stop caressing his skull like that...

Massawyrm sent in one last review from the madness of SXSW 2006 - THE LOST, based on a novel by Jack Ketchum.

Sounds like it could be a truly chilling example of “emotional, uncomfortable filmmaking” (Massawyrm’s words).

Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Massa use the term “asshat” before. In fact, I've never seen the term deployed as widely as it’s used on AICN’s Talkbacks. It’s really rather spectacular. We should make it the official AICN motto/slogan, and print it on some T-shirts…or something. "Asshat!"

Here’s Massawyrm…

Hola all. Massawyrm here. While as of late I’ve become known as the guy around here that sees the films others won’t, longtime readers know of my deep, unbridled passion for indies. Not just the indiewood indies (films peppered with A and B list stars, financed with modest budgets by easily recognizable production companies) but the true down in the dirt indies. Undistributed independent labors of love directed by and starring names that even the most astute and avid of movie watchers don’t recognize. Films so outside the system that in order to succeed, they have to tell us the stories Hollywood won’t or can’t. The problem, of course, is that sometimes you have to swim through seas of shit to come up with a solid gold nugget. Well thankfully, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I was introduced to just such a nugget this weekend. A little psycho-sexual drama/horror film called “The Lost.”

The Lost is directly adapted from the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name and follows world class shitheel Ray Pye, a small town loser suffering from little man syndrome in a big way. Ray wants to be cool, he wants to be respected. But in truth, he’s just another drunken asshole who will fuck anything that moves and keeps around only the friends he can bully. And Ray has finally discovered the secret to power. Killing.

Now unlike other films of it’s ilk – this isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a serial killer movie. It’s not Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or Red Dragon – it’s not about a super villain serial killer, nor is it trying to reconcile what it is that makes a man a killer. Ray Pye’s life isn’t bad. He wasn’t abused, he’s something of a rockstar to the women of his small town (most of whom he proudly boasts that he’s either fucked or will fuck eventually) and he’s got a steady supply of drugs and booze to facilitate his party all the time lifestyle. Really, he has little to complain about. He’s just an asshole. And The Lost never makes any apologies for that. Rather, the power and sympathy of the piece centers upon the people in Ray’s life – from the cops who know what he’s capable of to his best and very abused friend to the women caught in the charismatic black hole that is Ray Pye. And you watch, knowing full well that while at any moment Ray is going to snap, you don’t give a shit what happens to him. But you’re entirely concerned with what he’s going to do to everyone around him.

The Lost is first and foremost a character piece, detailing the lives of Ray and the six main characters caught up with him. Director Chris Sivertson and producer Lucky McKee assembled a fine cast of relative unknowns to front the piece, with Marc Senter really stealing the show as Ray. This guy nails the role so well that you simply want to pull him off of the screen and beat the living shit out of him. He’s a punk, a real asshat. The kind of guy that used to kick your ass in high school and now works managing the carwash down the street. And Senter sells every second of it. This is one of those guys I’m going to keep my eye on. With a few high profile roles, this guy could really make a name for himself.

Backing him up is a bevy of beautiful and competent actresses who all perfectly fall into their roles as the various women (both willing and unwilling) in Ray’s life, most notably Shay Astar, whose performance as Ray’s battered but unconditionally loving girlfriend rips your heart out and lets it bleed in your lap. And to top it off, there are a handful of seasoned character actors like Michael Bowen (Buck from Kill Bill vol. 1) and Ed Lauter (veteran of some billion and six films and one of those great character actors you recognize instantly) who add a touch of old school class as the cops who just can’t nail Ray.

The Lost is unrelenting - a vicious, abrasive film that begins with an unforgiving sucker punch of an opening, then evolves like a slow motion train wreck that you just can’t take your eyes off of. You sit there, hand clenched over your mouth, praying that no one gets hurt – but knowing full well that someone will, you become anxious about just who it will be. This is not a film for anyone looking for standard by the numbers horror. There are zero jump scares and it’s by no stretch of the imagination a fun movie. It tells you exactly where it’s going every step of the way and then delivers with an unhinged third act riddled with raw, realistic brutality more akin to a 70’s crime film than it is most modern horror. Gritty, more true to life than most would like to admit and ultimately fearless, The Lost is a film for anyone who enjoys emotional, uncomfortable filmmaking.

While the “Just tell me, are there tits and blood?” crowd will certainly find themselves sated (there is plenty to be found of both sides of that equation), The Lost aims at disturbing its audience rather than titillating it. While there are several scenes likely to turn you on, Director Sievertson seems bound and determined to keep either from seeming either glorified or gratuitous. Every act of violence, every sexual act, further defines each character in the film and gets us to the core of who they are. And in that way, it’s not a film to “get off” to. Rather, it’s a film that fucks with you and in the end, when all is said and done, doesn’t let you get turned on or excited by either for very long.

I hesitate to call this horror, because it’s not trying to scare you – it’s not trying to creep you out. It’s trying to disturb you, trying to show you the seedy underbelly of the violence of the world we live in. And I strongly feel that it accomplishes this goal with panache.

But ultimately, this film proves to be a love letter to the fiction it’s based upon. With a simple title card at the end of the credits, Sivertson displays his adoration of the material. It reads simply: If you liked this movie, read the book. If you hated this movie, read the book. And sure enough, at the end of the Screening, Sievertson was there, handing out complimentary copies of the novel. And the guy definitely earned a few more points with me for that kind of dedication. It’s a really good movie and definitely worth a look by anyone who’s a fan of this kind of filmmaking. Highly recommended for fans of films like May or the more brutal horror/crime films of the 70’s.

Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. I know I will.


Come on, you know you want to e-mail me. Just do it.

Readers Talkback
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  • March 22, 2006, 10:07 a.m. CST


    by BannedOnTheRun

  • March 22, 2006, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Keep working on that tagline Merrick!

    by brolly

  • March 22, 2006, 10:41 a.m. CST


    by Joseph Merrick

    Damn it! OK.

  • March 22, 2006, 10:47 a.m. CST

    wouldn't the obvious tagline be

    by lopan

    i am not an animal

  • March 22, 2006, 10:48 a.m. CST

    What? No news on Fast & Furious, Tokyo Drift?

    by Orionsangels

    Starring that kid Frank from Sling Blade. Paul Walker Lite and Bow Wow! Wow the trailer!

  • March 22, 2006, 11:11 a.m. CST


    by CrimsonGhost

    I am going to seek this movie out, great review Mr. Wyrm

  • March 22, 2006, 11:19 a.m. CST

    The surest way to earn my respect...

    by Childe Roland a film maker would be to hand out copies of the book your movie is based on after the screening. It essentially says: "Here, this is why I made this movie. You just saw how I interpreted it, but don't take my word for it." Nice. I'll see this in the theater if I can.

  • March 22, 2006, 11:37 a.m. CST


    by haywire666

    he's a farker dude

  • March 22, 2006, 1:05 p.m. CST

    I saw this at South By

    by Kevin Bosch

    It immediately became my favorite movie at the festival up to that point. This movie is unrelenting and unforgiving to it's audience. I'm one of those people that, despite being dutifully desensitized by the media, is still affected when somebody is killed onscreen. This movie makes you feel every death and act of violence toward important characters or random people. By the end you want to kick the shit out of Ray Pye. This actor also reminded me of a young Crispin Glover on steroids.

  • March 22, 2006, 1:12 p.m. CST


    by babybabe

    you should be asking yourself that question. you just made three posts in a row. clearly you're just as "damn intrigued" by maniacs and freaks as the rest of us are.

  • March 22, 2006, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Good review

    by Stollentroll

    I don't think I'm going to see this, but I liked the review.

  • March 22, 2006, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Misty Mundae is in this...

    by Neo Zeed

    She's hot.

  • March 22, 2006, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Neo Zeed - Yup

    by Massawyrm 1

    Although she's going by Erin Brown now, and her scenes, are well, awesome. She is, in fact, gorgeous.

  • March 22, 2006, 4:17 p.m. CST

    I got the recipe the other day on the food channel.....


    And I must say that Ray Pye is my new favorite. Seriously, even more so than pumpkin which obviously I have every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You may not believe me but when you put a couple o' scoops of whipped cream on a piece of Ray Pye, you sir have a treat!

  • March 22, 2006, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Erin Brown?

    by Neo Zeed

    I guess the "Misty" thing is over...but does she get nude in this? I'll respect her as an actress n' stuff, but I still gotta know (Yeah I know...evil male genes yadda yadda..) My favorite actress is Jennifer Jason Leigh, and not because she gets nude....but it certainly don't hurt none ;)

  • March 22, 2006, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Neo Zeed - Yuppers again

    by Massawyrm 1

    The promotional poster for the festivals is of her naked. So are the promotional matchbooks. So yeah.

  • March 22, 2006, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Thanks Massawyrm

    by Neo Zeed

    All is right with the world..Take care broseph..

  • March 22, 2006, 6:30 p.m. CST

    anchorite, by that ROTS comment

    by Novaman5000

    Are we to assume that you actually thought ROTS had any sort of legitimate character development whatsoever? I don't remember one natural thing about how the characters acted/reacted/evolved in that film.

  • March 22, 2006, 10:10 p.m. CST


    by Buster Gonads

    Hey Merrick, I agree with Lopan, your tagline should have I am not an animal as its base...maybe something like....I am Merrick and I am not an animal

  • March 23, 2006, 2:55 a.m. CST

    Neo Zeed

    by DocPazuzu

    Dude... Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of the most overrated actresses in the United States. Have you seen her in Georgia? eXistenZ? Single White Female? The Hudsucker Proxy? Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle? STINKO!!

  • March 23, 2006, 3 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    Here's a tagline for you: I'm a troll with a shrivelled dick who blames it on bodybuilding and who goes under the additional names of ForeverTJ, Powermetal1, Landoasskissian, Broncofan and Nintendo.

  • March 23, 2006, 4 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm , you really need to drop that logo picture

    by Undead Neverhood

    These days making fun of Christianity is simply daily routine. Even Evangalicals are no longer offended and laugh at that stuff. And if you don't believe me just check out Marylin Mansons album sales for his past 3 albums. Ok wow. An upside cross as a pogo stick...ooooh. You want to impress me, try poking fun at Islam. Half of Europe was put to the torch because of one cartoon with death threats to the artists involved. Try doing that and then you will actually offend long as you don't mind those offended people being homicidal 12th century maniacs swearing on your destruction and actually trying to follow through with it. Making fun of Christains is safer and older than flicking your T.V. remote.

  • March 23, 2006, 6:08 a.m. CST

    Undead Neverhood

    by Massawyrm 1

    Well, if you're going to be snarky about it, let me posit this: If you want to impress me, make an argument that doesn't involve insulting Islam. Really. If I had a nickel for every time someone makes that Arabophobic comment, I could afford to hire Alex Ross to paint me a new one. Now, if you read the talkbacks in my other story posted today, you would see the troubles I'm facing getting it replaced. It's old, both in style and humor. But it's what I've got for the time being. And for the 15th million time (god I sound like a broken record in these talkbacks) I'm a Christian, I have a beard, long hair and look like the modern, Americanized Jesus. Harry thought the cartoon would be a fun way to poke fun at me, my beliefs and my look. While pissing guys like you off in the meantime. 5 years ago. Expect the next cartoon to address and mock my republican beliefs.

  • March 23, 2006, 9:19 a.m. CST

    "I hesitate to call this horror"

    by SutureSelf

    The reviewer states,"I hesitate to call this horror, because it

  • March 23, 2006, 3:31 p.m. CST


    by Neo Zeed

    Yeah, I've seen all those movies, and she's great in all of them....especially in Georgia. Plus all those flicks you mentioned were at the VERY least 3 stars and up IMO...She totally immerses herself in every role she's in, and rarely stars in "generic" Hollywood bullshit. I'm not sure how to argue this without hearing why you think she sucks first, because frankly this is the first time I've heard that she was overrated? If anything she's underated.

  • March 23, 2006, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Neo Zeed

    by DocPazuzu

    JJL is a dreadful, dreadful actress. Every single thing she does, every inflection and every quirk reeks of affectation -- especially in Georgia and Mrs. Parker. When she's not playing her usual anaemic self, she attempts "character" parts with really ghastly accents and "subdued" acting straight out of The Winona Ryder Academy of Thespianism. What she can't achieve with talent she often attempts to cover up with primal screams or "artistic" nudity. The only time I've ever enjoyed seeing her in a film is when Rutger Hauer pulls her in half with a truck in The Hitcher. She's almost as bad as Selma Blair.

  • March 23, 2006, 6:09 p.m. CST


    by Neo Zeed

    I enjoy her inflections and quirks especially in Miami Blues where she was absolutely adorable. I also thought it took real talent to deliver her dialogue in early Hollywood style delivery in Kansas City and Hudsucker. She makes choices which her roles and make it her own. At times she is a stylized performer like Gary Oldman, but I enjoy actors who like to out from the crowd..its fun to watch, and I'm sure for an actress more fun to play. Plus, I always sense an inteligence bubbling underneath the surface of her "subdued" performaces unlike Winona (who's been coasting off her Beetlejuice fame for years...)or Selma Blair (Who cares?) where I sense nothing at all..

  • March 23, 2006, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Neo Zeed

    by DocPazuzu

    To each his own, I suppose. Where you see acting skill and veiled intelligence I see a talent vacuum coasting on over a decade's worth of undeserved indie cred heaped upon her for horrendous performances in an attempt to make her their darling. I literally wince almost continuously while watching her "act", especially when she's in the company of other actors, at which point she does the same thing both Winona and Selma do, namely shrink into a state of utter non-presence.

  • March 23, 2006, 6:55 p.m. CST

    "ROTS had no real character development...

    by ToniTheCowgrrl

    ...and neither does The Lost." Am I missing something, anchorite, or have you not actually seen The Lost? It sure doesn't sound like it. This is what is known as "talking out of your ass."

  • March 24, 2006, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Reviews and TagLines

    by Cold Winter Wind

    Good review Merrick - and it didn't read like it was the actuall shooting script! Speaking of republican beliefs, how about "Merrick. I am not a derrick!" with an old school oil derrick covered by the international (O with a diagonal slash) Not Allowed symbol?

  • March 26, 2006, 2 a.m. CST

    I will not embrace The LOST

    by thebearovingian

    I will only embrace THE FOUND! Sequel?