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Chasing Skirts Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 15 January 2018
Severed Cinema Review of Matthan Harris's Chasing Skirts

Directed by: Matthan Harris
Written by: Matthan Harris
Produced by: Matthan Harris
Cinematography by: Nick Novotny
Editing by: Patrick Coleman Duncan
Music by: Blah Kesto
Cast: Matthan Harris, Nathan Paul, Sarah Kate Allsup, Sarah Gabrielle Paterno
Year: 2013
Country: USA
Color: Color
Language: English
Runtime: 10 min

It's always a strange thing when somebody who does horror films attempts comedy -- or you discover the person’s back catalogue and hit upon various shorts which are 'funny.' Look at, Sam Raimi. Before he sucked the Hollywood shaft and made Spiderman, etcetera, of course he was a horror director off one movie. So seeing how the two sequels to that film diluted the terror and his other flicks were so off horror, we can say that Sam Raimi was never a horror genre person at all. His early shorts were Three Stooges inspirations, and Crime Wave was universally misunderstood for its forced madcap humour.

Severed Cinema fave, Matthan Harris, is a talented chap who specialises in films which tell a story as well as sprinkling in the horror. He is a horror fan -- a horror fan who tried a comedy short some years ago called, Chasing Skirts. After I watched it, Matthan asked me whether I liked it or if it was just a little turd. I was honest, I liked it but I have no idea why. The humour is so away from what I would consider funny (I'm a child of British alternative comedy and ‘70s Fawlty Towers kinds of things. I laugh at series like Bottom, Black Books and Hippies. I cannot get my head round a lot of USA chuckle fests.)

Chasing Skirts is a simple story told well over a short running time. We open up on two hillbilly types, called Delmer and Rufus, who are stood around in stereotypical dress, such as dungarees and trailer trash caps. You know what? Vince McMahon and the WWE could employ these characters! It's a hybrid vision of the Bee Gees and Dave Grohl! “I'm getting' mighty hungry, 'n' that squirrel stew ain't gonna be cookin' itself.”

They're wishing on the dream of a city woman who will be runnin' round somewhere and she'll really like them. “Yeah, we real good hittin' on chicks!” states Delmer with a belch. “That squirrel can wait!” Soon enough a chick comes along. “Here there, honey baby.” She isn't too impressed. “Get away, you creep.” After a few attempts, it's easier just to smack her on the head with a hammer.

“Hey, we got ourselves one fine city woman here.” says Rufus. They clumsily haul her into their truck by the coonshine bottle (which is a rugged variation of moonshine). To the melody of banjos on the soundtrack, they drive off into the night. “I kinda like the way this one smells. Like the inside of Grandma's purse. Hey, you think this one bleaches her butthole? I hear those city girls do that.” Rufus responses that it makes no difference if the girl pours bleach in her butt. As he says, they gotta treat her right, otherwise she won't want to live in their barn.

His theology on women is thus: It doesn't matter whether she sleeps on a bed or on hay, so long as her man pretends to listen to all of her fussing and bitching, then she'll be happy like she's living in a five-star motel. “Five stars?” snorts Delmer, “Women are easy to please!” They figure they best get home before the police find them -- plus there's too many weirdos out at night.

Cut to Ricky, played by Matthan, who also pulls double duty as Delmer (Nathan 'Rufus' Paul is also the waiter) dining in a posh yuppie restaurant with his mistress. Ricky is a complete dick. He laughs over her husband because he's a loser who doesn't even make six figures. “God, I hope he kills himself.” She laughs, “Ricky, you're so adorable.”

Not to be outdone in the 'shit of humanity' awards, Brenda takes offence to the waiter when he says, “guys” in his sentence. “Do I look like a guy to you?” which begins an amusing and heated banter of words between them and the waiter. Afterwards, Ricky confesses he has been seeing her sister for a while. He thought he could get away with it but her parents walked in on them. It doesn't do him any favours when it turns out that her sister, Mary, is dead. “Brenda! I was cheating on you with Mary when she was still alive as well, so what's the big deal?” White wine in his face, off Brenda storms and bumps into Rufus outside. “Hey there, sweet cheeks.”

It's easy for me to say this, but I wish there had been an extra five minutes on this. Rufus and Delmer are funny, yet very creepy characters whom are desperate to be fleshed out. I feel like they've been plucked out of a Texas Chain Saw Massacre environment, but we needed more of them. As the credits roll there's some extra stuff, yet if somebody could throw a roll of money and some guarantees at Matthan Harris, I reckon this one could be remade as a longer film running just over an hour. We could explore more of these characters, even Ricky and Brenda. A black horror comedy classic would be born. For instance, let's meet Peggy Sue!

Nathan Paul is mainly a producer who acts once in a while. He steals the show in this one as Rufus and especially the waiter (sorry, Matthan) Sarah Kate Allsup, as hard faced, Brenda is surely a soon to be star. Her career has her starring with Matthan in Sudden Reality (see review here) as well as a smaller role in his early big feature, The Inflicted (see review here) but a handful of 'uncredited' appearances in films like Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and Steve (Shitty) Seagal vehicle, The Perfect Weapon, means she is going to be noticed sooner or later, and hopefully not by some seedy producer type, yuh know what I mean? As an additional note, Bri Giger, who is a lady sat beside Ricky as he gets hit by wine, went on to have a rather busy career in shorts and TV series.

The direction is clear and the writing is a wicked balance of comedy and unease. You can believe these hillbillies are filling a barn with city women and Peggy Sue. There are shades of ‘70s exploitation cheapies here. Apart from an ending which literally just ends for no reason (other than budget I guess) this one is well worth seeking out. You never know, one day, if Matthan's latest monster, Baphomet, is a massive hit, perhaps he could make a UHF sort of thing which could incorporate a few of his shorts.




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