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Photo by Fred Pollard
Alton couple John Forrest and Lainee Frizzo have co-written and created “Innards,” a horror-drama short film screening at film festivals throughout the country.
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“I want it out of me.”
With that one desperate line, the character from local moviemaking couple John Forrest and Lainee Frizzo’s new film “Innards” projects inescapable horror and revulsion.
“Some people cannot make it all of the way through,” Frizzo said, a mischievous grin creeping across her face.
The inspiration for “Innards” was an unusual conglomeration of experiences Forrest and Frizzo had independently of each other.
“When I was pregnant with our son, it got me thinking about cravings, and I read up on it some and learned about ‘pica,’” Frizzo said. “I thought, ‘what if that was something our characters had, only take it further?’”
Pica is a disorder where one succumbs to an irresistible urge to eat items with no nutritional value, such as chalk, dirt, or grass.
“In grocery stores, there is a lot of stuff that goes on when food is pulled for contamination,” Forrest said. “It is possible for stuff to end up on the shelves that should not be there, and the short film explores what could happen if that scenario went really badly.”
The short film, co-written by Forrest and Frizzo, follows Darren and Martina, a middle-aged man and his young mistress, who have the unfortunate experience of eating tainted food…with terrifying results.
“We were actually looking for a younger actor to play the male lead,” Forrest, who also has worked as a junior agent in L.A., said. “The one we chose just nailed it though, and we incorporated the age difference into the storyline.
“Our actors were such good sports. They had to film very uncomfortable scenes over and over again.”
“Innards” is the culmination of the passion and hard work of a small film crew, including editor/director Bart Elfrink, soundman Jamison Sweet, production designer and director of photography Brant Hadfield, Laura Ortman (music), and actors Jeff South (Darren), a stage actor from Oklahoma, and Pamela Mitchell (Martina), a singer and actress from New York.
Money was raised through crowd-funding, and the crew used social media to collect the $6,700 needed. Filming took place in a home in Godfrey over Fourth of July weekend, from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. Forrest said every aspect of filming was scrutinized, from the unsettling sound effects to Frizzo purchasing seven shower curtains so the set had just the right look.
The 15-minute film actually is the public’s introduction to a full-length version Forrest and Frizzo hope to start production on soon.
“The short covers what happens in the film’s story arc roughly three-fourths of the way through,” Forrest says. “I think it really shows the tension buildup without giving away too much of the climax.”
For now, viewers have to be content with catching the short version at film festivals around the country, such as in Tallahassee, Fla., where “Innards” won the runner-up award in the categories of Audience Favorite and Jury Award at the 2014 TallyShorts Film Festival.
Future plans for the couple include a wedding this summer, local screenings for “Innards,” and continued focus on turning another of their projects, a comedy screenplay entitled “On Sarah Time,” into a feature film. In addition to raising their most successful project (their 6-year-old son, Keegan), Frizzo also works at Lewis and Clark Community College as professor of English communications, teaching literature and creative writing and editing the Peppermint Rooster Review literary magazine.
As for “Innards,” Frizzo says she hopes it plays into some primal fears, likening it more to the need to stay awake in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” than other slasher films such as the “Friday the 13th” series.
“This is something no one can escape,” she says, a touch of the macabre in her voice. “You don’t have to go camping, but you do have to eat.”
For more information, visit the Facebook page at “Innards.”