First Look: Barbara Crampton in “SUN CHOKE”
Taking cues from such films as REPULSION by Roman Polanski and the more recent DOGTOOTH, from Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos, SUN CHOKE is “…a meditation on loneliness that is wrapped up inside a psychological horror film,” says writer-director Ben Cresciman. “I think the two main characters are deeply lonely people and the way that loneliness affects them is sort of what drives the plot forward.” Horror veteran Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR, YOU’RE NEXT) and Sarah Hagan (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) star in the new horror film, which recently wrapped shooting in Los Angeles.
Janie (Hagan) is a disturbed woman who lives with Irma (Crampton), the midwife and nanny who raised her at the behest of a distant father married to his work. After Janie suffers a particularly traumatic episode, Irma takes a new approach to her care with a strict regimen of holistic medicine, yoga, and daily mental agility tests to get her on the path to wellness. Irma’s plans go awry as Janie attempts to forge a new life for herself in the world beyond her childhood home, fixating upon a young woman she encounters. It isn’t long before the three women become entangled in a web of emotions and experiences they are collectively ill prepared for and Janie and Irma are forced to look at their relationship in a whole new light.
“It’s very dark,” Crampton says about portraying Irma. “My whole life is wrapped around this girl and making her life better to the expense of my own. As the movie progresses you see perhaps the caretaker is not as nice as she seems. But why is that? Is it because the girl she’s taking care of has been doing some questionable things? Who takes care of the caretaker? So there’s a lot of colors to play in the movie at all times. It’s a real story about the relationships with these people and it’s scary territory they get into. But don’t worry, there’s some death, some slashing happening for your horror fans out there.”
Sarah Hagan is relatively new to horror outside of starring in the final season of BUFFY as Amanda. The dramatic potential of her character and the focus on the emotional entrapment and claustrophobic nature of the story in SUN CHOKE is what appealed to the actress. “This is all she knows. This life that Irma has created for her since her mother died in childbirth. She doesn’t really know exactly who she is as her own person yet. She’s kind of a creation of Irma’s, a puppet. Then when she starts to become intrigued by this girl Savannah, she starts to see this other way of living. She wants to kind of attract her, and study her as a model of how to be a person and then ultimately become her own person.”
For more on SUN CHOKE, pick up FANGORIA #331 (on sale February).