COVID has been hard on the local film industry, with a lot of filmmakers unable to operate safe sets to continue their craft. However, at least one has managed to release something so rampagingly puerile and obscene that it can’t help but be admired. That man is Jeremy Sumrall (Pickaxe), who has finally put out the fake trailer, Cannibal Call Girls From Hell. It had a debut at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin over the past weekend.
The project was originally for a mock trailer contest at Texas Frightmare, though he has since begun crafting it into a full feature script that is looking for funding. The story involves a raucous bachelor party full of strippers that turns into a blood-soaked massacre when the man’s nervous fiancée casts a black magic spell to make sure that he remains faithful. The trailer features many of the Houston horror scene mainstays such as Chaney Moore and Aaron Walden.
It also features an absolutely astounding amount of nudity and blood, which is fairly typical of Sumrall’s grindhouse aesthetic.
“Cannibal Call Girls From Hell is heavily inspired by the films of Frank Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski,” he says. “The kind of quick and dirty films that Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer starred in. The ones that were filmed on short ends over two weekends to turn a quick buck. It's meant to be trashy and sleazy and really harken back to the days when video store shelves were filled with boobs and blood and nastiness.”
Speaking as someone who had spent eight hours stuck in Texas legislature committee meetings on livestream for work, seeing Sumrall’s notification that his gory near-porno was now available to watch over and over again was definitely a cure for the real world blues.
As opportunities to work again open up, Sumrall is already planning the next entry in his oeuvre. He’s in pre-production on a new horror flick called Hellfire that should go before cameras later this year.
“Hellfire is a project that I was hired to direct by the maniacs with Gatorblade Films out of Florida,” he says. “They went looking for ‘...a filmmaker with no brains and gigantic balls,’ and I knew it was a match made in cinematic sleaze heaven. It's a meat-and-potatoes revenge story about a man who witnesses his family murdered. He's left for dead, and when he wakes up from his coma, he only has one thought on his mind: bloody, bloody revenge against the drug kingpin who ordered the hit. It's filled with all of the hallmarks of a true Texploitation flick. Imagine if Andy Sidaris wrote Death Wish for Robert Rodriguez to direct with Cannon Films as the producers.”
The past year has taken so much from us in Houston, and it’s nice to see the horror film community start to rally back into shape. If Sumrall’s spate of news is any indication, we’ll be seeing a lot more locally grown grotesquery in the very near future. Check out the trailer below, and it is obviously not safe for work.
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