As the clock turned to a minute past midnight late Friday night, the anticipation from the sold out crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar was palpable. After removal from the 2011 Fantastic Fest lineup and an under-promoted SXSW Film Festival screening, the Australian torture-porn classic 'The Loved Ones' was finally about to begin its first night of public screening in the US.
A critical smash in Australia over two years ago, 'The Loved Ones' still feels like a breath of fresh air for the torture-porn sub-genre thanks to the intelligent writing and directing of Sean Byrne. The plot centers around the shy Lola (Robin McLeavy) who has worked up the courage necessary to ask her crush, the handsome Brent, out to the prom. However, Brent says he can't go with Lola because he's going with his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine). What Brent doesn't realize though is that what Lola wants, Lola gets.
A tale of kidnapping, torture, love, and comedy ensues. Brent must find a way to escape after Lola's father, addressed as "Daddy" during the film, kidnaps him and forces him to participate in Lola's own private prom. This private and bloody event unfolds all while Brent's best friend Jamie (Richard Wilson) is out having one of the most epic prom nights in movie history with his gothic crush Mia (Jessica McNamee). The comedy of Jamie's prom night provides some much needed relief from the stomach churning torture Brent endures at the hands of Lola and her father.
The twists and turns of the story are too horrific and way too much fun to share but Lola and her father easily belong in the company of some of the most disturbing horror film villains in years. Lacking any sort of sanity, the maniacal duo will relentlessly haunt your mind for hours after the film.
The long awaited American release of 'The Loved Ones' would not have happened though without the help of Harry Knowles of Aint It Cool News and Tugg. Tugg is a recently launched website where the common person can become a temporary movie theater programmer. With Tugg, anybody can select a film to screen from dozens available, pick a theater, promote the screening and sell enough tickets to meet a minimum threshold. Once the threshold is met, the screening is confirmed and you're all set.
Harry Knowles worked with Tugg and Paramount Pictures in order to have multiple midnight screenings of 'The Loved Ones' on the night of June 1, including the sold out screening in Austin.
Without the help of those mentioned, Austin would have been without this exciting midnight screening of 'The Loved Ones.' Here's to hoping the film returns to the big screen in Austin soon.
Interested in bringing 'The Loved Ones' back to Austin? Visit the film's Tugg page, apply to become a Tugg promoter, and request a screening.