Les Hackel is a guy down on his luck who wakes to find an explosive device has been implanted in his neck.
Writer-director-producer-DP-and editor Evan Marlowe brings Panic Fest 2023 audiences, hands down one of the most twisted films in recent history with ABRUPTIO. A maniacally bizarre and wholly disturbing film, this story of coping mechanisms, humanity’s darkness, and unrelenting guilt will knock you off your feet.
If Genesis‘ 1986 music video ‘Land of Confusion’ and the Michael Douglas film The Game had a lovechild, you might begin to imagine the otherworldly visual experience of ABRUPTIO. Marlowe creates a killer script adding discomfort with his lead players in the form of life-sized puppets. The voice cast is out of this world. Christopher McDonald voices Police Chief Richter with the confident bravado that makes him an icon. His puppet bares a striking likeness to McDonald, and aside from Mom and Les, has the most realistic human appearance. Jordan Peele is Danny, Les’ smooth-talking best friend. He provides an awesomely creepy performance, in the quirkiest sense.
Rich Fulcher portrays Dummkopf with weaselly energy. It’s reminiscent of a Dick Tracy comic book character, and while brief, it is an unforgettable turn. Sid Haig plays dry comedian Sal Cheek. He is pitch-perfect in his final roles. Truly a master. He is already sorely missed. Hana Mae Lee is Chelsea, a family friend’s daughter visiting home. She brings a much-needed innocence to balance the absolute chaos.
Robert Englund plays Mr. Salk, an OCD accountant dressed entirely in white. A genius move on Marlowe’s part to include his vocal stylings. Darren Darnborough gives Clive a perfectly sinister intonation. I would happily watch a spinoff following his character’s shenanigans. BUFFY loves of my life James Marsters voices Les. He is outstanding. His subdued nature makes you all the more uncomfortable.
Horror homages arrive not only on the iconic voice casting but in echoes from films like Don’t Look Now, The Shining, Saw, and Beetlejuice, as the plot digs further into the freakishly weird. Lead puppet designer and fabricator Jeff Farley pulls us further into the story with his jarring creations. Part sex doll and all nightmare, our cast of life-sized puppets intrigues and terrifies to no end. The blinking might be the unsettling visual of all. Your brain is already trying to process what you are looking at, and then the puppets’ eyes close sporadically, and it is eerie as hell.
Disturbing and sadistic, ABRUPTIO is a real-time, mind-bending car crash fever dream of the fantastic. It’s a must-see for genre fans looking for something beyond what their imagination or nightmares could ever provide.
After years in production, Abruptio is screening at festivals around the world. The film will next screen in a hybrid format at Panic Fest: in person on April 15 and streaming virtually from April 19 to April 23.
Abruptio screens at Fantaspoa on April 28 and April 30.
James Marsters (voice)
Christopher McDonald (voice)
Hana Mae Lee (voice)
Jordan Peele (voice)
Robert Englund (voice)
Sid Haig (voice)