Australian Torture Porn Prom Movie Needs Your Help

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Kickstarter can help you get your movie made by crowdsourcing funding for a project, but what about getting that film into theaters? Doing so can be just as daunting, but something called Tugg is looking to help struggling films overcome that barrier, and Alamo Drafthouse is hoping Tugg will be able to net Houston a run of The Loved Ones.

What is The Loved Ones? Well, it's a horror film, although that simple description doesn't really do it justice. Technically it belongs to the much-maligned torture porn category, but the Australian flick manages to turn that played-out genre right on its head with a fresh look and innovative setting.

You'd have to name at least a dozen films to box The Loved Ones in. Carrie comes to mind, as does House of 1,000 Corpses, but you also need the films of John Hughes or 10 Things I Hate About You. It's a high-school romance as imagined by Jeffrey Dahmer. Lola (Robin McLeavy) wants what every girl wants, a prom experience that she'll treasure for a lifetime. Unlike other girls, though, Lola plans on making sure it happens by kidnapping Brent (Xavier Samuel) and having him tortured by her and her father in their home, which has been decked out in full prom regalia.

Understandably, Brent is less than thrilled, but that's where the drills and the syringes full of Drano come in. The movie manages a gleeful brutality that is both saccharine and horrifying at the same time. McLeavy has the same impish evil that Ellen Page did in Hard Candy, or maybe even Winona Ryder in Heathers.

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The problem with torture porn films is that they spend too much of their time in a staring contest with the audience. It's a battle of wills between the gore on screen and the will of the viewer. Truly great directors like Sean Byrne instead use the violence and the horror with precision and without sacrificing a story. That's why The Loved Ones is such a must-see film.

Which brings us back to Tugg. The film will be getting some kind of larger theatrical push this fall, but Paramount is doing a campaign to raise awareness of the movie by having people program screenings across the country through Tugg. Houston was one of the initial six cities chosen to be used to roll out the film.

Tugg is fairly simple. People can program the screening, promote the event and then Tugg will do all the administrative work in regards to renting out the theater, negotiating with the studio and shipping the print to the theater. If the minimum number of tickets needed isn't sold, the screening doesn't happen and credit cards aren't even charged.

Paramount's hope is that these initial six screenings will provide a nice splash for the film that will lead to screenings being programmed throughout the country for the rest of the summer -- leading into the film's theatrical release in the fall. Essentially, it's Kickstarter for getting movies shown in your city that might not otherwise make it.

"It allows theaters to take more chances," said Alamo Drafthouse spokesman Robert Saucedo. "The Loved Ones is a different kind of situation because we have Paramount and their marketing budget supporting the film, but where Tugg will really shine is when used with real small, kind of off-beat films. Theaters will be able to roll the dice on programming a film that's hard to market, that needs to find its audience. If the audience doesn't respond and nobody shows up, the theater doesn't waste a theater and no money is lost. People are always asking the Alamo to play certain films and we'd love to take as many requests as we get, but sometimes it is too risky of a chance. With Tugg, though, we are able to let the fans dictate what we show and let the fans put their money where their mouth is and help us get their favorite films to the big screen."

The minimum number of presale tickets needed to secure the screening is 50. You can purchase tickets here.


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