Jason Rutherford and his crew have been working on bringing SHHH! to life for a least the past five years and now it is finally available for the world to see on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes. As a former employee of Kim’s Video and Troma Entertainment, I was thoroughly entertained by the raunchy humor and overall exploitation vibe the film presents. Starring a veritable who’s who of horror, any exploitation fan will be delighted with SHHH!
Let’s see, the film stars Diana Ayala Goldner from the Feast films and Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, Peter Stickles who’s been in everything from Shortbus to Evil Bong 3, Russ Meyer’s girlfriend/superstar Kitten Natividad, Austin Stoker from Assault on Precinct 13, Joe Pilato from Dawn of and Day of the Dead, Elissa Dowling from We Are Still Here, G. Larry Butler from the Ultraman movies and I don’t know…countless other films, legendary exploitation director of films such as Angel, Avenging Angel, and Blood Mania (amongst others) Robert Vincent ONeil, and my old boss and good buddy “Uncle” Lloyd Kaufman. AND those are just some of the stars of the film.
A love letter to Los Angeles reparatory theaters such as The New Beverly Cinema amongst a host of others, we see the struggle that a downtrodden cinephile/wannabe director goes through on a daily basis trying to “make it” in a world that seems to be specifically designed for lecherous assholes. Though is Harris (James Henderson) really the victim here?
Harris is a 20-30 something who works two jobs but spends a large amount of time at the movies, and also lives with his mother. We follow Harris through his movie-going adventures where we meet a host of incredibly annoying movie-goers along the way. Unlike real life, where you would never actually revel in anyone’s death, the kill scenes in SHHH! are grindhouse gold. I have often wanted to physically throw people out of the theater for being loud or annoying in some way and this film is vindication for all of us who take our film-going experiences (maybe a little too) seriously.
My only semi-gripe I have with this movie is the somewhat outdated sexism and some seemingly unnecessary semi-pornographic scenes but then I thought this is a send-up and homage to exploitation. It only makes sense to be presented the way it is because it’s the reality of the community.
Overall the film is a super fun killing spree by a killer you may not expect. Diane Ayala Goldner knocks her performance out of the park and I particularly enjoyed Peter Stickles and Mike Endes (All My Children, One Life to Live) performances as detectives Shoenberg and Schmidt. Also in case he reads this, Lloyd Kaufman was my favorite!! I recommend this film to horror and exploitation super fans and also people who are trying really hard to get their film made. This is a product of the hard work and perseverance it takes to make a film outside of the studio system, which is a monumental effort. I wish Jason Rutherford further success in his filmmaking career and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.