06/11/2019 06:30

Film: Phoenix

Year: 1995

Director: Tony Marsiglia

Writer: Tony Marsiglia

Starring: Aisha Prigann, Mark Schultz and Sasha DeMarino



This film is definitely difficult to give a review of the plot and what happens. So to make it easier, I will describe the main characters and plot points without giving too much away. To start, this was a film that I read about in Fangoria’s Top 300 Horror Films and I only have this on VHS. The synopsis is a morgue attendant and a strange waitress form a bizarre connection which may or may not be related to the waitress’ dead sister.

This film follows three major characters. There are two sisters, Nicole (Aisha Prigann) and Sister (Sasha DeMarino). The other is a young man who is a morgue attendant Sam (Mark Schultz).

Nicole is a waitress with dark curly hair, since the film is in black and white I am assuming her hair is black. She has issues with men touching her and this was due to the fact there she was molested by her stepfather, Kevin Waldron. We see that he inappropriately touches her. That is as far it is goes from what we see, but it has its effects on her.

Sister on the other hand we see had it worse. Their stepfather actually penetrates her with a metal object to the point where it causes a lot of trauma. We only see that the object is covered in blood though. We end up learning though that Sister is missing and Nicole is trying to find her. Everyone believes her to be dead.

We then learn the extent of Sam’s duties. He washes the bodies and embalms them. He has a sexual deviance in that he has vivid daydreams. We see that he is in a crib, being treated by what I am assuming are his parents like a child. He has a wooden carved figure that resembles a phallus with a nail sticking out of the top of it. We see that he cuts some of a woman’s hair that he is working on and wraps it around the nail. There are a few different times where he humps a dresser and his bed, while looking at the object he has created or at items he has made for this object.

Both Nicole and Sam have wild psychosexual fantasies. She is hit on by a creepy man at the diner she works at. He ends up finding out where she lives and goes up to her apartment. There he sees images from her past and goes to make love to her. She attacks him. When she flees the apartment, we learn it might be in her head.

Sam on the other hand meets a woman, Morgana Rae, which his parents bring home from a church function. She acts like a cat and wants him to make love to her. He places his phallus object in his pants and wants her to use it, but his mother, Susan Hinshaw, freaks out. She wants her son to make love her like normal people do, in the missionary position. There’s another encounter at the morgue with that is much creepy as well.

Nicole is looking for her sister and this brings her to Sam. He wants to find her as well after he thinks he saw her. As stated, everyone believes she is dead, but neither wants to give up on her. This leads us on a journey of sexual deviance and understanding.

I found this film to be interesting. First off, it is an art film. It does not follow a logical path, but does show us some eerie and creepy scenes. I am huge fan of a story that pulls you in, but this film did pull me in without it. I thought it was a great idea to film this in black and white.

Now I’ll admit, I’m sharing these review about 5 years after actually seeing this one. I have seen it twice though and know that it is quite intriguing.

The acting isn’t the greatest, but they do add to the overall feeling of the film. I also liked what I feel the film is about. These characters have either a deviance, like Schultz, or they were faced with a traumatic event, Prigann and DeMarino. I feel that in order for Prigann to let go of her past, she needed to be reborn and Schultz needs almost the same thing. It seems though, that she needs Schultz to overcome his to help her forget what happened to her. This film definitely makes up for the story and coherency with images and a surreal feeling film.

Now an issue with these types of films, you really do not know what is going on. Even by reading a quick plot overview and reading the case for the VHS copy I obtained, that is all I knew going in. I knew there was a traumatic event and that Schultz had issues. With that said, I still wasn’t filled in on a lot of what is going on. You are filled in more at the end of the film, but it leaves a lot unexplained as well. Despite not knowing, you kind of have this odd feeling that you understand things without a story that is showing this to you. The film does jump around. You don’t know what is happening, what is real and what is a dream.

With that said, I actually liked this film. I will warn you again that this is an art film. There isn’t really a coherent story. It can be hard to follow and is really bizarre. Despite this, it still felt pretty powerful with events that people are faced with. They have to deal with issues that people do not like to reveal and that is interesting to me. I personally enjoyed the feel of this film. If this sounds interesting, give it a chance. If you want a film that is going to make you think and figure things out, I would avoid this one.


My Rating: 5 out of 10