Drugs ‘n’ Bugs : Lowlife in Winnipeg
Found just off the Atlantic coast, it is a strange beast indeed that rears its ugly head. Hopped up on psychedelic starfish slime and haunted by a mud monsters and creepy crawlies, Lowlife is the film to single-handedly coin the term “mudsploitation”.
The horror film’s strange aesthetic seems at home in Winnipeg, with its black and white, gritty, and surreal-at-times aesthetic. The film follows the ever-troubled musician Asa (Darcy Spidle) as he makes floundering attempts to win back his former girlfriend and maintain his addiction to the psychotropic substance he squeezes from the asshole of some unsuspecting starfish.
Lowlife is the first feature collaboration between Dog Day frontman Seth Smith and the non-actor’s actor Darcy Spidle, a big wig at Divorce Records / Obey Convention. Both of these music minded men took a break from their main projects to cast off into the emotional shallows of no-budget feature filmmaking.
But the $5000 gamble of self-financing paid off for director Seth Smith, who went on to win the $10,000 audience award for Best Feature at the 2012 Atlantic Film Festival, in addition to a host of media acclaim.
Vice Magazine called Lowlife “the feel-bad hit of 2012” and Fantasia Film Festival described the 2012 addition to their festival as “A chaotic labyrinth, LOWLIFE seeks inspiration from extreme narcotic-induced delirium to deliver unconventional visuals that recall ERASERHEAD.”
Lowlife certainly steals a page or two from Lynch, with perhaps some influence from early Cronenberg, Burroughs, and Luis Buñuel. But the final product is uniquely its own, a melange of recognizable if not obscure film fringe tropes and aesthetics.
As part of the film’s insanely ambitious 3-day screening bonanza in every province of Canada, Low Life plays Winnipeg on Nov. 17th at 8:30PM at Frame Arts Warehouse (318 Ross Ave.) care of Open City Cinema, Ghost Town MB, and Big Fun. You can find details about the Winnipeg screening of Lowlife HERE!
For more on this film check out this great feature article and interview with director Seth Smith, written by Fast Forward Weekly’s Josiah Hughes.