09th Jun2020

‘Celebrity Crush’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Oliver Robins, Alissa Schneider, Melissa McNerney, Jonathan D. Lee, Wade Hunt Williams, Eddie Craig, Sage Croft, Jim Horning | Written by Oliver Robins, Jeff Rubin | Directed by Oliver Robins

Oliver Robins, who most genre fans will know from the first two Poltergeist movies where he’d played Robbie Freeling, steps both infront and behind the camera for Celebrity Crush – a genre film which brings us an interesting look at not only the cult of celebrity but also the rabid fanbase horror cinema has… taken to extremes of course! Remember folks, this is JUST a movie.

Celebrity Crush tells the story of Jonathan Blaklee who, as a child, appeared in 80s slasher movie Chain-Face Clown. A slasher that has gone on to be deemed a classic of the genre. With the film set for a Blu-ray release, Jonathan heads off on a promotional tour at the behest of his friend and co-star. Appearing at a comic book store signing event, Jonathan notices a young woman, Emily, circling his table but never approaching. When he sees her again at his hotel, he decides to try and take her for a drink – even though he’s in a relationship with his fiancee Michelle! Emily swears she’s never heard of Chain-Faced Clown and likes Jonathan for himself but… yeah we know where this is going… after sleeping with Emily, Jonathan discovers she has a tattoo of his face, as a child, on here thigh. Realising he’s in the company of a seemingly off-kilter fan he’s tries to make a run for it, eventually waking up chained to the floor in a grotty garage somewhere in Florida. And Emily wants to re-live Chain-Face Clown all over again, this time taking on the role of Jonathan’s protector, the titular killer Chain-Face; and in the process keep Jonathan all to herself.

So, we’re in Misery territory here but on a budget. A low budget. But that doesn’t let writer, director and star Oliver Robins stop him. Instead he uses that low-budget nature to craft a film that looks as grim as the story is – there’s no polish here, this film looks as rough as Jonathan probably feels chained up with only a demented, dangerous, fan to keep him company.

Speaking of Jonathan, as a character he’s is an intriguing prospect, especially when played by a former child actor. You see Jonathan is something of a timid man, someone whose fame came early in life and he, seemingly, never really got over the fame – chasing it in his later life buy trying to be a screenwriter – and never really grew up. Known for being a kid in the lead of a horror film seems to have stunted his development. He has poor interaction with people, can read emotions and doesn’t even really comprehend the trappings of fame (which is how he falls into Emily’s trap). He’s a man trapped by his past with no real future to speak of… Perhaps something that Robins himself has felt? After allm Poltergeist was a HUGE hit but he never really found fame after that and didn’t even perform again (according to IMDb) until some 22 years after Poltergeist 2 debuted!

Hi opposite in the film, Emily, is an altogether different kettle of fish. She’s much like the character of Chain-face that she so loves – with a performance from Alissa Schneider that feels truly psychotic and truly real. There’s a air of authenticity to her role that screams experience – probably a reflection of the experience that Robins had from fans of Poltergeist! There’s an edge to Emily that makes her feel dangerous yet the character feels familiar. Yes we’ve seen similar characters – Annie Willis from the aforementioned Misery to name the most famous one – but Emily also feels, when she’s not being totally psychotic, very much like the rabid fans you see at horror cons; ones who are devoted to their favourite films and characters. Which in real life is NOT a bad thing, but here in Celebrity Crush‘s REEL life, if gives that adoration a terrifying twist.

With a denouement that is more terrifying and more disturbing than anything Emily does in the rest of the film, Celebrity Crush is a surprisingly fun and dark-humoured horror that plays with the tropes of horror fandom whilst giving that fandom a film they’ll enjoy!

Celebrity Crush is available on iTunes now.

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