CHILEAN GOTHIC

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Movies E.C. McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Chilean Gothic
SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
CHILEAN GOTHIC aka PICKMAN'S MODEL - 2000
USA Release: April 15, 2007
Kaos Producciones / Lurker Films
Ratings: USA: N/A

The fact that this movie exists at all is due to one person's desire to do whatever it took to see it made.

In this case, Writer Gilberto Villarroel, a Chilean correspondent for BBC, wrote his script CHILEAN GOTHIC, in the 1990s, basing it on the H.P. Lovecraft short story, PICKMAN'S MODEL. His script won the Festival Internacional de Cine de Valdivia in his home country of Chili and his prize was reels and reels of 16mm film stock. Gilberto got his friend, Ricardo Harrington to direct the movie with himself also running things as producer.

Actor Rodrigo Sepúlveda plays investigative Journalist, Gabriel Martinez. As the story opens, we hear Gabriel's voice as he is being questioned by a police detective. As this story opens, Gabriel is on the verge of psychosis, or might even have gone over. The reason is the result of his own private investigation into the death of his friend and mentor, Aníbal Neira. Neira was investigating a formerly celebrated and now much despised American artist named Richard Upton Pickman (Renzo Oviedo). As Gabriel describes his journey to find the elusive Pickman, he weaves a tale of various characters who have all been touched and terrified of even knowing the artist.

The thing is, Martinez isn't really investigating a story that his best friend and mentor died before he could tell. He isn't even investigating the death of his friend. He has already drawn his own conclusions and is seeking Pickman out for revenge.

The first one is Pickman's Chilean sponsor and art critic, Bruno Mattotti (Luis Alarcón). When Bruno first met Pickman, the man was painting stylized distortions of humans in various stages of pose and even decompose. But then Pickman shifted gears from stylized paintings to photo realism and quickly disgusted the gallery's art patrons and intelligentsia. Instead of chasing the money, Pickman chased his morbid visions and as Pickman's paintings descended into madness, so too did everyone find themselves being dragged down with him.

Bruno hides his friend, Pickman from the world, but even as he does this, he also wants someone to come along and make Pickman stop. Alarcón portrays Mattotti as a man caught between his loyalty to a friend, and the horrific idea that he had a hand in unleashing an all too real terror into the world. Because according to Pickman, his photo realistic paintings of blasphemous creatures tearing into huamsn - are painted from life!

Paulina Harrington plays Gabriel's girlfriend, Carla, but she pops in and out of the picture and is one of the poorly drawn of the characters. This is mainly a movie about Gabriel, Bruno, and of course, Richard Pickman.

The direction of CHILEAN GOTHIC is lush, creating a great deal of horrific Lovecraftian atmosphere with very little, Harrington was his own DP on this film and the pitch perfect timing was aided by editor Fernando Guarinello. Having little more in the budget than Villarroel's prize reels of film, Harrington did much with a little. The film went on to win the 2001 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and is now featured on Lurker Films DVD.

In addition to the main feature, this DVD also contains the prize winning shorts of that year.

But Villaroel and Harrington's film is truly prize worthy, and stands as one of the best and the truest of H.P. Lovecraft films ever made.

Three Shriek Girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2007 E.C.McMullen Jr.

Chilean Gothic (2000) on IMDb
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