Starry Eyes descend into that same sort of French body oblivion in its last act, and shockingly, to its credit - it fits right in alongside comfortably; Hollywood by way of Hellraiser. Newcomer Alex Essoe gives her all and then carves off a few extra pounds for good measure, like she's taken the Greed scene in Seven to heart - she bleeds for our sins, y'all. It's about as black-blood dark a Tinseltown satire we're likely to ever get, explaining it's not just your own soul you've got to give up for a taste of the silver (silver for knife-sharp) screen, but the souls of every person around you, and you'd best smile your best grimace or grimace your brightest smile while you do it, too.
I tweeted about this at the time but in case you missed it, we got the full William Castle experience at the Starry Eyes screening -- I'm sitting there, fully engrossed by what I am watching, when suddenly I see all this light flashing a few rows behind me. I glare back annoyed, it's people messing with their phones, but a minute or so later the whole theater's house lights came up and a girl, supposedly too terrified to deal, has to be led from the theater. If I sound a little incredulous... well, yeah, I'm a jaded and cynical person, and I kinda don't buy it was real. I have actually seen an adult run screaming out of a movie theater before from something on-screen triggering them, and this didn't have that same genuine feeling to it. But I will admit for a quick second as the lights flew on my heart skipped a beat, and I gave my best "gawk at the car accident" head snap, trying to see if somebody had maybe had a heart attack or something. And cynicism aside, we need more William Castles in the world. So go for it, folks!
Starry Eyes was shown as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center's annual Scary Movies program; if you're in town there are still a bunch of movies - new and old, but all terrifying - playing through the week, so check it out!