TMI on “Girls & Corpses Presents CYNTHIA”
Hi friends, I’d like to tell you about the new film CYNTHIA I recently had the pleasure of seeing. It is the brain-child of Robert “Corpsy” Rhine, an American writer and actor. He is the founder, publisher, and “Deaditor-in-Chief” of Girls and Corpses, a horror-comedy magazine with a large cult following. He’s usually found surrounded by beautiful ladies and gore actor friends at events such as Monsterpalooza, Scare LA, or Midsummer Scream. He’s an epic showman and a mad scientist for the genre which I adore, so when I saw that he had ACTUALLY made a film… (note: I said MADE, not just talked about) I knew I had to see it. Most indie projects never get released. Hell, lord knows I’ve produced enough of them. #CreepCreepersin Well Robert put his money where his mouth is and did it. Honest reveal, I’ve know him a few years and I even wrote an article for his magazine. Around that same time I had also wrote an article for Fangoria Magazine and between the two, Corpsy was the more professional and actually paid me where-as Fango dodged myself and other writers for years. Corpsy is legit, he’s a good dude but that aside, can he make a movie?
On IMDb it says that “Cynthia is a horror film about the ‘perfect’ couple and their desperate obsession to have a child which descends into a terrifying dark comedy.”
For the technical specs/ CYNTHIA stars three Rob Zombie alums: Scout-Taylor Compton (Halloween 1&2), Sid Haig, and Bill Moseley (both stars of The Devil’s Rejects and 3 From Hell). Indican Pictures is set to deliver the beastly Cynthia into theaters August 31st and DVD/VOD on September 18th. This genre-bending film displays a young happily married couples’ conception that grows into a slimy six-fingered one-legged nightmare terrorizing family values, the entire neighborhood and this little creepy crawly is just taking her first steps. Detectives embark on a monster-baby hunt of epic proportions as Cynthia munches her way home to mommy leaving bodies and bones behind. Cynthia’s iconic horror cast includes: Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween), Sid Haig (House of a Thousand Corpses), Bill Moseley (The Devils Rejects), Robert LaSardo (Anarchy Parlor), Rebecca Marshall (Saw 3D), and James Karen (Poltergeist).
The film’s official synopsis: Robin and Michael are college sweethearts who have everything – a perfect marriage, adorable cat, a beautiful home, but one thing is missing from this idyllic setting – a baby. After years of fertility treatments their dreams come true when Robin finds out she is pregnant!! Is this a dream come true or a nightmare come to life? Cynthia has had a tremendous run throughout the film festival circuit garnering multiple awards. Actor Sid Haig received Best Supporting Actor and Cynthia won Best Horror Film at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase IFS Film Festival which screened at The Grove in LA.
Cynthia is Girls and Corpses Presents first fully financed production. Rhine was also the executive producer on Rob Zombie’s 31, Parasites, The Chair, and Exorcism at 60,000 Feet (now in post).
The film’s creature designer is Mario Torres (The Shape of Water, Hellboy, Starship Troopers, The Strain). Curly of The Three Stooges grandson, who goes by Curly G, follows in the footsteps of his grandfather with his first film role. And James William O’Halloran has gone from MMA fighter to Price is Right (CBS) male model to starring in his first feature film, Cynthia.
CYNTHIA won Best Horror Film 2018 from the IFS Film Festival at The Grove in LA and also star SID HAIG won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Cynthia.
All that aside, I got to see it for myself and let me just say: It’s a well shot, professionally made, overall fun romp. It had a really great opening and such a damn catchy theme song set to lyrics in another language. It reminded me of the song from the film 4 Rooms. There were some lovely boobs but nothing like what an outsider may have expected from a company called Girls & Corpses! Slumber Party Massacre – T & A << this is clearly not. I was disappointed in the beginning when the lead actress and her hubby are having sex, sadly we don’t get to see her nude. I remember saying aloud “Who’s she hiding her body from; her husband?” I loved seeing Bill Mosely and Sid Haig albeit in minor roles. First time I met Sid was at a Girls & Corpses’ booth at a convention years ago. Darling man, I know he gets attention from playing the Clown Spalding character in Rob Zombie films but for me I’ll always respect his work in Spider Baby above all else. With lines like, “Cut your head off like Isis!” and a reference to “Trump University” there’s lots to pop a crowd, yet the tragedy factor really does come crushing down by the third act. I was wrestling with right and wrong in some decisions that are made by the actors, there’s much to talk about when the credits role.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Corpsy’s next film that’s coming out.
I managed to catch up to the man for FirstComicsNews.com and here’s what he had to say…
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A FILMMAKER?
Yes, but it’s not where I started. Becoming a filmmaker for me has been a long journey. But on that path I learned a lot about all the things you need to eventually become a producer: Writing, acting, production, camera, publicity, casting, marketing and advertising. I think producers who don’t understand the jobs of the cast and crews are at a disadvantage. Learn a little but about all sides of filmmaking and you will make better films.
WHAT WORKS INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER?
Great writers! Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Follet, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Tom Wolfe, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Michael Crichton, Stephen King. Great storytellers. Sometimes I think we have lost sight of that with superhero and robot ‘blockbusters.’ My favorite movie of all time is Jaws. It is the perfect film. Spielberg has always been an inspiration when it comes to film Along with Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. I will watch any of their films at any point I happen to tune it, over and over and over again. I also will always watch an Eli Roth film repeatedly. He also happens to be a friend.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEAL FAN IN MIND?
Female, 18, blond and beautiful or, over a hundred, wrinkled and brittle. If they are buying what I sell, they are ideal.
WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD BEST RELATE TO YOUR WORKS?
People with a sense of humor…the darker the better. Shaun of The Dead is my sense of humor all the way. If you can ‘get’ Girls and Corpses Magazine, then you are smart enough to be in Club Corpsy. I created a crazy magazine that most people would think would be insane to publish. But Girls and Corpses became a newsstand magazine for 17 years, a worldwide brand and now a film production company. Here’s the website: http://www.girlsandcorpses.com/ we recently and finally ended the magazine as print started to die faster than the corpses on our covers. Here’s my explanation as to why I ended the still successful magazine: http://www.girlsandcorpses.com/print31/letterdeaditor.html
WHY DO YOU CHOOSE THE STORIES YOU DO?
I know this may sound trite but they choose me. Ideas have always just popped into my head and I have to race to write them down before I forget. I started writing stories for magazines and after 100 rejections I then made 100 sales and also won a Bram Stoker Awards for an anthology I contributed to, alongside two of my favorite authors: Ray Bradbury and Clive Barker.
When I wrote my first published book, My Brain Escapes Me, I ‘literally’ (excuse the pun) sat down and just starting writing without any idea of what I wanted to say and where I was headed. It’s the purest form of connecting with our muse which is beyond our control. Because when you ‘try’ and control a story you suffocate it. The story has to write itself. The other trick is to stop writing for the day at a point where you have more in the tank so the next day you are raring to go. Here is a link to My Brain Escape Me, which was in bookstores worldwide and has an X-ray of my skull on the cover (following a skull fracture I had when I was ten years old): https://www.amazon.com/Brain-Escapes-Robert-Steven-Rhine/dp/0941543188
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES NEW FILMMAKERS MAKE?
Having an unrealistic shooting schedule, also, talking about their movie to everyone before they have financing. Nothing happens without money. Also, finding a great team from top to bottom. I remember working with the brilliant Gale Anne Hurd on Tremors and she only allowed for crew to make one mistake. Screw up and you are gone. No second chances. There are always a dozen people who can easily replace you.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO A COMIC-CON YET? WHATS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOU!?
Well, I was an exhibitor at Comic-Con for twelve years. I had some great years there which helped me launch Girls and Corpses magazine. But, for me, it’s now jumped the shark. Back when I started, in early 2002, CC was still a comic book convention. Now, it’s a massive studio affair with huge stars taking fans off the sales floor. It squashes those with the new ideas, which is why Hollywood is full of superhero remakes. I like the creative people coming up and shows like APE in San Francisco were great for that. It’s hard to even move at Comic-Con. You feel like cattle being herded to slaughter. Also, it’s very expensive to be an exhibitor. And with hotel and food, it’s not too hard to spend five grand before you’ve made a penny.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Passion. You can be rich and successful… and miserable, Just turn on the news and you can hear endlessly about celebrity drug problems, arrests and suicides of very successful, rich people. Doing what you love is the secret and if you can have passion with something other than showbiz — go for it. You will have a lot less headaches and more money in your wallet. I always said that if you are happy selling peanuts at the ballpark be like that vendor at Dodger Stadium who can throw his peanut bags on target for over 25 yards. You can see he really loves what he does. My advice, find what you have passion for and do it. But, then again, maybe that peanut vendor really dreamed of being a pitcher.
I just want to do what I am passionate enough and hopefully, people will be entertained. But a million fans is a great starting point!
Don’t we have enough awards for filmmakers and celebrities? Several dozen award show at least all year long. There is even an “awards season”. WTF?! How do these stars ever get anything done? I think award shows are boring. Stars are already rich and successful, how many awards do you need? Why, do you want to give me an award? 🙂
BEING PRAISED BY CRITICS?
Well everyone wants to hear good things about their work. The problem is that now with the internet there are folks who just want to hate on stuff. I recently had a film review where this blogger said he “walked out” right at the beginning… and then he did his review anyway, haha. I mean, how can you review a movie you left? But, again, I think the reviewer just wanted to hate on something that day, or hour.
HOW DO YOUR PERSONAL FEARS FACTOR INTO YOUR NARRATIVE?
You can’t be afraid or you will never find out who or what you can be. You have to take risks and chances. What is life for if you are just going to sit back and not ‘go for it’? We get one life to make a mark. Then again, after you are dead you can’t look back at your achievements, so in a way, nothing really matters. Try not to think about that when you go to bed tonight,
WHO ARE YOUR IDEAL ACTORS TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS IN MOVIES?
The ones who come prepared — but not ‘too’ prepared to seem rehearsed. I remember working with the great Denham Elliot (Raiders of The Lost Ark) on a film I was working on called ‘ Toy Soldiers’ and he told me that he only glanced at his lines once, briefly, and barely memorizes them, because in life you really don’t know what you are going to say before it comes out of your mouth. I love working with character actors and when I worked for the studios as a unit publicist for a decade, I always felt the character actors were the most fun to hang with, such as my good friends: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Robert Lasardo, James Karen, Robert Miano and Lance Henriksen. Actresses I love to work with include: Kelli Maroney, Adrienne Barbeau, Rebecca Marshall and Silvia Spross to name a few. I like to work with actors who appreciate that they have had a long successful career but are just normal people, not divas. Sometimes younger talent doesn’t realize how fortunate they are until they have squandered their moment and burnt their bridges. Flames blow out quickly in this town. That’s why a young actress’ like Scout Taylor Compton is such a pleasure to work with, who shows up ready and eager to work and brings a fun attitude on the set, and has also been a good friend since she was 18. Scout is a major talent in my books and we were so lucky to have her starring in Cynthia. I also see great things ahead for newcomer Jin N Tonic who is amazing in my film ‘Exorcism at 60,000 Feet.’
ANY FINAL ADVICE FOR WANNABES THAT HAVEN’T COMMITTED YET?
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. And you will finally be the last one standing. Oh, and buy a copy or two of the best and wildest magazine ever, Girls and Corpses: http://www.girlsandcorpses.com/store/index.html
*******THE NEXT DAY*******
On a side note, after I wrote the majority of this article, a few things still lingered in my mind and so, to be fair and balanced (so this write-up is not all flowers, hugs, and fucking roses) I reached back out to Robert and manned up with my biggest gripes from the film.
- The name. I don’t get why they went with it, I don’t think it’s catchy or memorable enough for this film. It could have used a title like THE DEVIL BABY or THE CLAW THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE or whatever- lol you get it. “Cynthia” in this reviewer’s opinion is just too tame, not quite enough of a bite as a title.
ROBERT “CORPSY” RHINE:
“Ah, all good questions. The movie was originally titled CYSTers. But we wanted to elevate it from just an exploitative title.”
2. The goddamned Monster-baby is shown on the cover of the promotional magazine they gave away at Comic-Con but it is not shown in the film til much later on, that bugs me as a bait and switch. I’m no fan of the baby-view camera shots of it running around but then I didn’t like the TV show ALF as a kid. That’s what that reminded me of…
RCR: “As far as being on the cover of G&C, there are several reasons: First, my feeling is that we needed to let people see her because it is ultimately a comedy/horror and there have been other creature movies that showed the creature in advance, such as Chucky and Gremlins. Even Bad Milo, which some have compared us to, showed the creature. Also, I knew that Girls and Corpses was ending its run and I wanted to have an issue with my first produced film on the cover of my magazine and we took that cover image specifically for the magazine.”
3, C’mon- couldn’t we have seen Scout naked? Pleeeeeease…
RCR: “As far as Scout naked, she simply didn’t want to do that but I agree that right after sex they wouldn’t have been clothed. Oh, to be a producer!
I should have said this in the interview but the concept was to start as sort of Lifetime movie vibe and then it goes completely off the rails. Haha… great! It’s supposed to be a fun ride with a darker message about the desperation of people to have children against all odds. The directors pushed for the change to Cynthia.”
4. Where did you come up with the pizza place where certain pizzas may induce labor?
RCR: “That’s based on a true story. There is a restaurant in Topanga Canyon where women go, when they are late delivering, and a particular salad is supposed to induce labor. https://www.today.com/parents/restaurant-offers-maternity-salad-believed-induce-labor-t109008”
I loved seeing Sid in this movie, he’s great.
RCR: “Sid Haig, by the way, is a great friend. He had never played a detective or a cop before he was in Cynthia. And in his speech at the IFS film Awards, at which he won Best Supporting Actor, alongside Academy Award Winner Piper Laurie (Carrie) who won Best Supporting Actress), Sid had said, “My entire career I had played bad dudes, the worst of the worst, killers, thugs, henchmen, and then I play one detective and…” (Sid then proudly held up his IFS award for Cynthia).”
That’s really great. He’s a solid dude that deserves the honor.
In the grand scheme of things these were minor gripes on a pretty damn fun film. Horror fans will get a kick out of it, its got sex, violence, humor and by gawd a message! What more can you want? Robert has shown himself to be a hell of a legit producer, and I got a feeling that he’ll be around for years to come. I’m a fan. You should be too!
Girls and Corpses Presents is presently completing post on Exorcism at 60,000 Feet with an intended release date of 2019. Directed by Chad Ferrin (Parasites) and written by Robert “Corpsy” Rhine and Daniel Benton, the film stars Robert Miano, Bai-Ling, Bill Moseley, Lance Henriksen, Adrienne Barbeau, Matthew Moy, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Kelli Maroney.
Robert “Corpsy” Rhine is currently in development on three new horror projects for the Girls and Corpses Presents label.