Gravitas Ventures and Modernciné’s Jug Face (read our review), a tense horror-thriller that was written and directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle, is currently out on VOD with a theatrical release looming on August 9th.
The film marks a reunion between The Woman co-stars Sean Bridgers and Lauren Ashley Carter. To that end I recently spoke with Bridgers about the film, his character, and how it all relates to their prior collaboration.
The film was produced by Andrew van den Houten (Funeral Kings, The Woman) and Robert Tonino (Home Movie, Ghoul) for Modernciné, and also stars Sean Young (Blade Runner), Larry Fessenden (I Sell the Dead) and Daniel Manche (The Girl Next Door). The film was executive produced by Lucky McKee, Arrien Schiltkamp and Loren Semmens. Jug face won the Slamdance Grand Prize Screenwriting Award in 2011 and debuted as a Special Screening selection at this year’s festival.
Our producer, Andrew van den Houten, who produced The Woman as well, got the script from Chad Crawford Kinkle (who also directed). Chad submitted the script to the Slamdance festival in 2011 and it won best screenplay. It was the first horror film to win that award at Slamdance. Chad took that [heat] and started shopping it around a bit, but no one was willing to take it because it was too dark. It’s a strange, bizarre, southern gothic tale and I think a lot of people were scared of it. He found out about Andrew based on the reaction people had to The Woman and thought, “maybe this guy’s crazy enough to do it.”
And what’s the gist of the story?
Well, Jug Face is about a community that lives in the backwoods that is sort of a closed society and they have this belief system that has been prevalent for a long time – going back hundreds of years – where they believe that there is a spirit in this pit in the woods. And they believe the water in this pit will heal them because it healed them hundreds of years ago in a Smallpox epidemic. The catch is, they have to offer a sacrifice to the pit from time to time. Every culture has had a belief system like that from time to time. The way that they who decide who is going to be sacrificed is they have this guy, a potter. He works as the shaman/seer/medicine man of the community. And he goes into some type of trance, makes a pot and carves a face into it. A Jug Face. He doesn’t know who it is, he’s not conscious of it. And when he’s done, that’s how he knows the pit has led him to the next sacrifice. And Ada, who Lauren plays, discovers that the Jug Face is of her and she does what most people would do, which is to hide it. And everything goes crazy.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
On the surface he’s a bit of an imbecile. Quite harmless, and kind of sweet. I figure that the movie is a bit of an unrequited love story – my character is in love with Lauren’s character. But it’s never going to happen. It’s very different from The Woman to be sure, where I play someone who doesn’t love anything or anyone.
I see these images of people with white eyes, is that the trance?
That’s the trance, yeah. Whenever the force hits from the pit, its sort of communicating through me. It’s a really great, simple effect – but it really works. I’m really proud of this movie. It’s a really artfully made film. Really creepy and scary, but at no point dumb or cheap. It’s really well made from top to bottom.
About that scariness…
What’s really horrifying about Jug Face, which is similar to what’s horrifying about The Woman, is not necessarily the monster. It’s what humans do. What humans do to each other based on some kind of belief system. That’s what I find frightening about the world. We really are our own biggest threat at this point and I think that’s pretty clear to most people. I think both of these films touch on that point, and audiences relate to that whether they’re aware of it or not. It creeps them out.