I don’t usually write reviews for films, however when I was unexpectedly sucked into the existential nightmare that was the Sister Tempest Trailer, I was dragged screaming into an eclectic world of vivacious charm and unusual imagery, I knew I had to see and review the whole thing. I was greeted by a film that exceeds all expectations, taking me on a no holds barred thrill ride into insanity that frankly beats many/most and possibly all of the films high budget studios churn out these days.
A word of warning, I recommend this film highly, but I am a huge fan of independent cinema, meaning that it is possible that my opinion is biased and tilted heavily against what most people consider to be ‘normal’ or indeed sane. – Past this point there will be spoilers, nightmares and revelations! You should watch the film, no matter who you are, what you like or what you believe you will enjoy, because whatever goes through your mind in this life and whatever you may experience, you will probably never see anything like this ever again. It is not what you think, and it is not what you expect, and it does, whatever you may think, make sense.
The film opens at a funeral. Two sisters, Anne and Karen Hutchinson swear that they will always be sisters, before the world dissolves into a bizarre explosion of seemingly unconnected visuals, ending with a Giant Kaiju inspired spaceman galumphing through the countryside and obliterating a cottage with a seemingly intentional step.
Merely seconds later, we’re brought to Karen, all grown up, having fun in a vehicle with her boyfriend Chris. Despite the mood, she is incredibly worried because of Chris’ connection with his old friend Harry. Chris implies that her worries are coming from Anne, which subtly implies that either Anne or Chris are having a controlling effect on Karen’s life. This is a clever subtlety as it leaves things ambiguous until they have to be. Chris does what any nice young man would do in that situation and presents her with an eyeball, imploring that she will need it. Reluctantly, she takes it. Outside the car, Harry approaches, swiftly bringing their evening of romance to an end.
We are brought into a man with a typewriter focusing on writing a script, featuring what just happened, then breaking the fourth wall as it features him within the script. I’ve always been a fan of wall breaks. By this point, I had realised this wasn’t a normal film. I was around 3 minutes in, wondering what the hell was going on. Colourful imagery was dragging me into a world of madness beyond my wildest fears. A normal B-Movie doesn’t play with the audience in this way, and a normal independent film doesn’t take such excessive risks. Intrigued, I forged ahead, dragged into darkness by a man I couldn’t truly understand.
The film in its essence is about Karen and Anne. Anne is an art teacher, teaching a class of typically grotesque art students. If I hadn’t taken art myself, I probably wouldn’t have believed people like this could exist in the real world. One day, someone new comes into Anne’s life: Ginger (Rogers) Breadman. Ginger is a Potato Person, which means exactly what you’re not thinking, nor will you probably ever understand. She has dreams, thoughts, desires, that are – different – from normal people. Anne’s sister Karen has disappeared, vanished without a trace.
Clearly Anne must do what every person in her position would do, being human, she invites Ginger to spend some time singing Karaoke with her, probably a reaction to losing her sister, and wanting to spend some time with someone, doing the things they used to do together. Over time, their relationship grew. Naturally, a bond began to form, and things began to spiral out of control, as Ginger captivates Anne. Ginger is a little different from other girls, she stands out from the crowd, and this intrigues Anne greatly. Anne, struggling with her emotional grief that her sister has disappeared, finds some comfort in her new friend.
The thing about Ginger is that, whilst nice, she does seem slightly unusual – seeing the universe in a different way to most normal people. During art class one day, a student is badly injured, and Ginger tries to administer first aid, in much the same way as I have done many times before. Her assistance isn’t appreciated, and her intentions are misunderstood, most likely due to the insufferable artiste mentality. Thankfully everything is interrupted by a giant in a space suit destroying the world as we know it… Or was it?
Anne is driving home when she comes across the dead body of her sister’s boyfriend. She tries to save him, even though he’s clearly been dead for hours. In confusion and agony, she calls out to God for help. Naturally, a strange messenger from beyond manifests. The messenger is not helpful at all, and takes Chris with him, which all in all is a pretty poor show for the afterlife.
Anne, broken, alone, and miserable, much like the balding oaf writing this, is one night woken by a phone call. It’s Ginger Breadman in ultra meltdown. Life has fallen into sheer chaos for her. She can’t handle the pressures of the grinding machinations of the universe. She is broke, miserable, and life isn’t going well. She’s a sad potato person, and we as the audience cannot help but feel for her plight. Anne, being miserable and sad and alone, in a lonely miserable and silent house offers Ginger the chance to stay with her, showing her around the house, and tells her not to enter a specific door. This automatically makes us suspicious of her motives, but we let it slide, after all, Anne is the protagonist, and she’s trying to be nice, and under a lot of pressure herself.
One night in a horrific experience in which we learn that the spaceman might not be a man at all, Anne finds Ginger Breadman having a screaming nightmare. Ginger had imagined going into the very door that she was told to never open by Anne. Anne comforts her in a way that looks mildly inappropriate, hinting there may be a little more to their relationship than teacher and student… Or was it just our imagination?
In the background of all this, and despite her experiences, Ginger is going through a transformation that may or may not be normal, but thanks to a healthy non-vegan diet, seems to be handling it ok. I think this is a fairly normal experience for most human females.
Anne wakes up in a psycho-sexual nightmare, as do we all, after a fairly normal person delivers her a pizza of sleepiness. She awakens to find Ginger Breadman, dressed like an angel and covered in plague. They play a confusing game of “Who’s the boss?” then talk about Anne’s lack of vegetables, and the fact she isn’t eating right, oh and totally her possibly fictional boyfriend who may or may not exist. It all sounds tear-lickin’ good.
Ginger is concerned about her – she’s been neglecting her art, but Anne, being the ungrateful and seemingly insane monster that she is, refuses like a spoiled child. Ginger has no other option than to summon a squad of Nazis to suppress her, and force her to paint Ginger like one of her french girls.
Anne finally meets Jeffrey, who was actually in the film earlier but I forgot to mention him. (He made a video tape player work, which is impossible, leading me to believe he was actually fictional…) I didn’t realise he might be her boyfriend, even though there was nothing that really suggested it beforehand, and talks to him about Ginger hurting her. She tells him she is afraid for her life, and he hands her a gun. Jeffrey, who might secretly be Geoffrey, I won’t know until the titles, and will not change it regardless, insists she takes the gun to protectify herself. It almost mirrors the gift from earlier (an eyeball), which her sister, Karen took unwillingly. Anne being the diabolical slut that she is, talks a nervous Jeffery into a night of potential naughtiness. Shock horror.
Ginger Breadman is boiling alive, but she is managing to keep the situation from getting out of hand. I cannot help but feel for her. Suddenly she bumps into some aliens that have been filming everything, and they chase her into the outside world where she finds an unconscious cheerleader.
Alienated and confused, she stops for a brief snack, but is accosted by a group of unruly jocks. They try to make her feel uncomfortable and scared, but she gives as good as she gets and threatens them right back. I love this girl, she’s amazing. No matter what life throws at her she just doesn’t give in! The jocks mock her and force her to defend herself! Ginger fights for her very life and accidentally(?) kills all of them in a clear act of self defence.
Anne meanwhile is talking absolute nonsense to her possibly fictional boyfriend. He’s so fictional he doesn’t even notice how insane she sounds. They decide to join in with some friendly communal dancing to pass the evening away, as Ginger struggles with her emotions.
Ginger decides to get revenge on Jeffrey and takes out her frustrations on his ugly skip of a car, whilst he hangs out at a local bar, like the handsome, fictional waste of life he is. Considering how awful Anne has been, and the fact that unbeknownst to poor Ginger he’s literally given Anne a gun to murder her with, I think it’s karmically justified. A randomer lets Jeffrey know his non-fictional car is being trashed, and he leaves to find it battered like a kipper. Naturally he goes and tells on her because he’s not man enough to handle it alone.
Anne isn’t man enough to handle it either, because she is a woman. Anne confesses Ginger has a power over her, and Jeffrey emotionally blackmails her saying she has to choose between Ginger and him. Jeffrey abandons her because let’s face it, he doesn’t want to be with a crazy person, and Anne tries to follow him only to be ambushed by a Cyber Monk who totally greens her. Which is weird because she hasn’t been eating her greens, as we mentioned earlier… Or did we?
Anne decides to confront Ginger and they have a violent cat fight. Anne and Ginger fall to the floor, battered. Anne beats Ginger relentlessly, smashing her again, and again and again. Beating up a helpless little girl, her ex student. Someone she took advantage of, at her weakest and most vulnerable. Anne is a monster and needs a slap.
Anne ends up in a room, talking with her boss. Her boss is concerned because she’s been acting a little crazy, and having watched the film up to this point, I don’t think he knows the half of it. He explains that what she’s been doing is concerning. He tells her she’s chased away Jeffrey, who may now not be fictional. He recommends her to take a holiday. But Anne can see the world collapsing around her. She begins to wrestle with her madness in the darkness of her mind. Replaying events in her memory. She struggles with the madness, as memories flood her and overcome her. Anne’s mind starts to shatter, and she is dragged through a miasma of sheer chaos. Pulling a gun, she unloads it into the first thing she sees. Karen.
Karen hands her the eye.
She finally understands. So do we.
If you can watch the film and understand it completely then you’re either a genius or you’re lying – maybe you’re crazy, cannibalistic or possibly an alien. Maybe you’re all twelve. If you’re sane enough to have checked back and counted that, you’re probably sane. Which is troubling. Don’t hold on to it because when you watch this, you won’t be anymore. I don’t even know if there’s anything left of me.
If you brutally assaulted Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick using a live penguin as a club and took their DNA, combining it together to make a child, then cloned that child into an army, then fed the army nothing but Mac n Cheese and Acid, the result might come up with something like this. It’s everything I could ever want to create, and so much more. Thoughts from a different mind, brought together in a way I will never be able to. As a creator, I admire it, as a film watcher, it both hurts and heals me. Looking out at the universe, and the eventual heat death of the universe, the futility of life, the universe and everything that was created, this was something that was worth watching. It was something that was worth making. That’s more than I can say for most of the things I’ve seen. I can’t rate the film, as it wouldn’t fit any conventional rating. It’s really good though, and if you don’t see it, you’ll definitely be missing out.
Joe Badon made a film. It is unlike anything you will ever see. It is unlike anything you will ever know. If you die without watching it, you are missing out. If you live without watching it, you will live a less complete life.
Run. Run. Run. As. Fast. As. You. Can. From. Whence. Did. You. Come. Miss. Ginger. Breadman.