We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet. They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Hybristophilia.
Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.
If you watch a lot of movies (√) and have an eye for nude scenes (√), you’ll probably notice a cinematic fact of life – at least with low-budget productions: The more nudity in the movie, the greater the likelihood that the actresses can’t, well, act. Or can’t act well. Starlets who do extensive nudity do not generally go on to win Oscars. I mean, watch something like H.O.T.S. and tell me how impressed you were by the actors’ emotional range.
At least that’s how it used to be. Increasingly, the line between girls-who-do and girls-who-won’t has blurred. These days even the actresses who do win Oscars bare it all at some point in their careers.
I mention all of this because our most recent screener begins with a naked make-out session between two actresses which did not remind me of H.O.T.S. (Sorry, I seem to have that 1979 T&A bonanza on my brain).
The opener of Hybristophilia certainly caught my attention.
And so did the final scene of the movie, which frankly knocked me for a loop. It was as if Scorsese or Tarantino was brought in to this low-budget production for one day of shooting and left after filming an amazing five minutes.
The plot: A small film crew is summoned by a serial killer called “The Sleepy Stalker,” who wants to do an on-camera interview. The killer wants to correct public misconceptions and to explain how he (or she) came to be such a notorious person. The crew obligingly sets up shop at a remote house in the woods and … things go badly.
The good news: As mentioned above, the opening scene between Deanna Pak and Celisse Graves made me want to see more (yeah, yeah, more skin; but also more of the movie). And that final scene was remarkable. It has images I’ll retain for a long time.
The bad news: The midsection is in dire need of ruthless editing. The killer drones on endlessly about her (or his) woe-is-me upbringing, with much bemoaning about the cruelty of society toward anyone who is different. Oh, and there is childhood abuse involved, because every serial killer movie has childhood abuse involved.
- That title – we had no idea what it means. See below.
- How is it that the killer, who we are told was born and raised in the “Watermelon Capital” of Georgia, speaks with a heavy Russian accent? Just asking.
- If the guy who plays the film crew’s cameraman looks familiar, it’s because you probably saw him in The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. Yes, you read that right. It’s Quinton Aaron.
- We have to be very careful with this review. According to Wikipedia and other sources, the film’s director, Romane Simon, is the great-grandson of a president of Haiti, and a mixed martial arts expert, and the son (or grandson) of a voodoo priestess. You tell me: Should I be worried if he reads this review and doesn’t like it?
- Also, this guy apparently has money, connections, or … something … up the wazoo. I’d never heard of him, but take a look at how many projects he has in the works:
The Girls of ‘Hybristophilia’
(We could call it “The Girls of Romane Simon,” but that sounds sexist.)
(Wait … we ARE sexist.)
The Girls of Romane Simon
We asked our resident nudity expert, Rip van Dinkle, to provide the commentary below. Our apologies for that.
Rip and The Grouch interviewed stars Deanna Pak and Lilian Lev, as well as director Simon. The quotes below are from those interviews.
(Click on images for a larger view)
Rip Says: Deanna is a very hot Asian-American actress who plays one of the two ill-fated lesbians in the opening scene. From what I can tell (I did some research), this was her first nude scene. Although, according to her interview reply, it was “implied nudity.” This answer confused me, so I was forced to go back and watch the scene again. And again.
Hmmm. Seems to me that if you are clearly bottomless, that’s a bit more than “implied.” But who am I to quibble over words?
Deanna (right) and Celisse Graves get comfortable in a cabin in the woods.
Celisse likes what she sees. So do we.
Grouch: I’m guessing that the love scene between two naked women (right before all hell breaks loose) was a great attention grabber. You certainly grabbed my attention. Was this your first nude scene? If so, what did you think of it? Is it difficult to take your clothes off before the crew, or is it no big deal?
Deanna: I understand this scene was definitely an “attention grabber” type of opening. This was my first implied nude scene, yes. I was still not comfortable with certain parts being shown on screen, so the director, Romane Simon, worked within my limits, so I appreciate that. I felt comfortable on set with the crew and actors and I’m glad that we agreed to be shown on screen (and not shown) [and] remained consistent. I feel like although there was definitely some skin, it was still tasteful and done beautifully.
Grouch: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Deanna: You can find my first self-produced pilot, Hot Asian Girl, on my Instagram, which made some festival rounds last year. I also have other movies and TV shows coming up that I can’t speak of yet.
Rip Says: Lilian (also known as Liliana or simply Lili) is a Russian singer-actress striving to make it big in Hollywood. If you Google her videos, you will find one that claims to show her stripping in the background while some dude in the foreground drones on and on in Russian. I don’t know; the chick on the stage doesn’t really look like Lilian to me, but who knows?
“I’m OK with nudity and my body in a great shape so I would gladly do it!” — Lilian Lev to The Grouch
Grouch: Some of the actresses in the movie had nude scenes, but you did not. Is that something you consciously try to avoid? Have you done nude scenes in any other films?
Lilian: For my character there was no place in the story for nude scenes. And it wasn’t in the script. I’m ok with nudity and my body in a great shape so I would gladly do it)))
Grouch: You have a very interesting background. How do you compare being a musical star in Russia with being an actress in Hollywood?
Lilian: My music career in Russia definitely helped me with acting. I’m a performer more than anything else. It helps with acting for sure. I’m open and charismatic since I was very little. I love performing on stage more than anything else. I was either dancing or singing most of my life. Since I was 7. I have zero shame in front of the audience.
(Click on images for a larger view)
(To see this video, click here.)
Rip Says: Sara appears briefly in a flashback scene. We didn’t do an interview with her, but since she appears topless in this movie, she definitely qualifies as a “Romane Simon girl.” Oh, and we included a couple pictures of her appearance as a stripper in 2016’s The Lone Road. Because, why not?
Rip Says: Oddly, Sadie does not get naked in Hybristophilia. I say that’s odd because, of all the actresses in the movie, she has the nudest acting resume. So we naturally couldn’t resist posting a couple of shots from one of her soft-core appearances.
Below, a couple Sadie shots from 2013’s Hidden Treasures.
“There’s something really fucking exciting about seeing an actress nude. I know that’s terrible to say, but I think there’s something really fun about it.” — Sadie Katz to “Mr. Skin”
Rip Says: Sadly, Jenna Willis doesn’t show much skin in this movie (nor anywhere else, from what I could tell). But she is very good as a gung-ho reporter, and she appears with Lilian Lev in that knockout final scene (below).
Rip Says: Layla is not in this movie. But she does make a memorable-if-short nude appearance in Blood Runs Thick (below), which is another Romane Simon movie from last year. Hence, she qualifies as one of “Romane’s girls.” Right?
(Click on images for a larger view)
Grouch: The opening scene was quite an attention-grabber. Is it difficult to find actresses who are willing to take their clothes off for scenes like that, especially since they then get killed and don’t appear again?
Romane: Actually yes it was so difficult to find an actor that can act and OK with nudity. I was so lucky to find two wonderful talent that was OK with nude scene and I make sure on my set everyone treat each other like family so not only it was a closed set. But I also communicate with them over and over to make sure they were comfortable and ready to go. My assistant Ameena she was like a mama bear to all the ladies on the set. Cause we all was in a cabin in the woods for weeks shooting in the middle of nowhere.
Grouch: Will you be making anymore horror movies?
Romane: Yes actually I have 3 horror-related films, one based on my bestselling book Red to Black — The Power of Love, also Voodoo Retribution so excited I also have two other horror film out. Our Way and Blood Runs Thick. I love making horror film. Growing [up] in Haiti around Voodoo help my creativity.
Last and certainly least, Rip wanted to ask the girls if they thought Hollywood was ready for a non-actor oddball with a small penis. Lilian had trouble answering his question:
Rip: Hi Lili! I really got into your movie and I thought you were great. You probably haven’t heard of me, but I was kind of an underground celebrity at the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant in 2013 and 2015. Do you think I should put that on my acting resume? Can a dude with a small penis become a big Hollywood star? Just asking!
Lilian: (no reply)
Grouch (days later): Our columnist Rip van Dinkle is disappointed that you didn’t answer his question — did you not see it? (By the way, we are all very surprised that you haven’t done any nude scenes yet, because it’s obvious you are in great shape!)
Lilian: I did answer it. Yeah, I’m saving nude scenes for big budget films and TV shows.
Rip (second attempt): Hi Lili! I really got into your movie and I thought you were great. You probably haven’t heard of me, but I was kind of an underground celebrity at the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant in 2013 and 2015. Do you think I should put that on my acting resume? Can a dude with a small penis become a big Hollywood star? Just asking!
Lilian: Unless u r planning to be a porn star — it doesn’t matter.
Below, Rip competes at the third annual Smallest Penis in Brooklyn pageant. (Click on the image if you need proof that he does, in fact, have a penis.)
Rip posed the same question to Deanna:
Rip: Hi Deanna. I enjoyed your movie. In fact, I thought your scenes were the highlight of the movie. Trust me, I know what it’s like to have to bare all in front of an audience. You probably haven’t heard of it, but I was a star at the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant. Twice.
If I want to become a Hollywood actor, on my resume under vital statistics should I include information about my “shortcomings”? Why or why not? Thanks Deanna!
Deanna: Hahaha. I would say magnify your strengths, and work on your “weaknesses” until they become strengths. I don’t think you have to acknowledge every shortcoming, but in today’s world with a one click access to social media, there’s a big audience for people who are real and upfront. So, in that way, it can work in your favor, especially if you are okay with making fun of yourself, but still carry the confidence like “So what? I’m still great” vibes. People actually appreciate when you can be real and not give a crap about every person’s opinion.
Hybristophilia is now available from on-demand video.
Editor’s note: Shortly after we published this post we heard from an unhappy Deanna Pak, who e-mailed in part: “Is there any way they can take some of the graphic screen grabs off? Those should be for buyers of the movie and I was not okay with those nudity screenshots for a public article …. If you cannot take these nudity screen grabs off the article, please remove my name and my entire interview.”
Well … we weren’t about to edit the post because the subject was unhappy with it (besides, we think she looks great in the most of her bare-bottomed shots). But we wondered why she was so upset, so we did a bit of Web research and …. Our guess is that Deanna had an unpleasant previous experience with Web exposure — like this very revealing video she did for a site featuring Asian-American girls:
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