Saturday, 15 November 2014

Lustful Desires

Director: Jason Impey
Writer: Jason Impey
Producer: Jason Impey
Cast: Wade Radford, Kaz B
Country: UK
Year of release: 2014
Reviewed from: online screener

Well-made, thoughtful, but very economical and deeply unpleasant. That’s Lustful Desires – and none of this should be a surprise when watching a Jason Impey film.

Impey is a maverick, a man whose body of work inspires endless discussion and fascination for the small number of really serious British Horror Revival fans out there. Starting out with a video camera when he was still at school, Impey’s IMDB page currently runs to 79 titles as director, many of them feature length. Although there are a number of zombie films on that list, young Impey has always had a prevarication for the extremes of human behaviour, and that’s very much the theme here.

Wade Radford, Impey’s regular leading man in intense sexual dramas like Twink and Boys Behind Bars, is Freddi. Porn actress Kaz B is ‘Lustful’, the prostitute he hires, whose card proclaims that she can supply ‘oral, anal, BDSM’. Though used to dealing with some seriously fucked-up people, Lustful has never come across anyone like Freddi, who seems more OCD than BDSM (she mustn’t sit on the sofa). Paid in advance, Lustful’s attempts to leave whenever Freddi crosses the line become increasingly half-hearted. But when one party is paying another for the right to do what he wants with her, where does that line stand?

Lustful Desires is 20 minutes of intense sexual psychodrama, shot in a single location – a nondescript house on a modern estate in Milton Keynes. It is absolutely not the sort of film that a neophyte director would make, but Impey has been pumping these things out for 20 years, teaching himself, learning on the job. His script is written to fit the two-actors-one-set limitations, his direction is assured and confident, his choice of actors adroit.

Radford does a great job of portraying a character with multiple aspects to his personality, none of them ones you would want to introduce to your mum. No mere cypher or cartoon, this. And for an adult performer who started out in a Fiona Cooper video (they still make those?) and has posed for a range of well-known top shelf art pamphlets, Kaz B is actually a very good actress, bringing internal conflict to a character who invokes both sympathy and scorn. (On her NSFW website she says she’s “fanatical about horror, vampires and zombies” so she may well make further appearances on this site in the future. For now her principal horror credit is as ‘Vampella’ in Zombie Driftwood under her other name, Karen Bridle.)

I couldn’t say I enjoyed Lustful Desires. One doesn’t normally ‘enjoy’ a Jason Impey film, but they are never less than interesting. Where other micro-budget film-makers are often content to simply aim for the lowest common denominator of gore’n’gags, Impey is way past that point, making pictures that explore human behaviour and psychosis. It would be extraordinarily easy to write off Lustful Desires as exploitative misogyny but those of us who have followed the director’s career can see past that shallow interpretation to the deeper ideas evident in his later work.

If there's a mis-step, it's a curious choice towards the end, when some serious wounds are inflicted (I won't say by whom on whom or in what manner or for what reason). The problem is that the instrument of choice is a safety razor, which simply wouldn't be up to the job of creating the incisions depicted. It's entirely possible to nick oneself with a safety razor. (Possible? It's almost mandatory. I reckon I'm single-handedly keeping the British toilet paper industry afloat.) But the whole point, as highlighted by the name, is that one cannot cause serious injury with the thing. It seems odd that Jason didn't use an actual razor blade which, quite apart from it's visual iconography, is cheap and easy to obtain, and can be easily blunted for safety reasons (or replaced with a silver-painted bit of plastic after a couple of close-ups). Still, that's the director's choice.

For those yet to sample the oeuvre of the Milton Keynes Maverick, Lustful Desires is as good an introduction as any to the world of Jason Impey.

MJS rating: B

No comments:

Post a Comment