With his latest movie Bliss, indie director Joe Begos proves he’s one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. His previous movies, Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye, showed a flair for sticky gore and fun, sci-fi oddness. They were 80s throwbacks, but still suggested a unique viewpoint, heralding an interesting new voice in horror.
Bliss is his masterpiece, likely the first of many (his fifth movie, VFW, which followed in quick succession, is already one of the must-sees of next year). It’s a wild, unhinged, and utterly hypnotic descent into madness. Far from a typical drug movie, it’s a meditation on the nature of creativity itself, which asks difficult questions about how far we all must go for our art.
Related: Bliss [Frightfest 2019 Review]
At the center of it is Dora Madison as Dezzy, a painter with a decent boyfriend (horror hero Jeremy Gardner) she treats badly and a penchant for procrastinating by hitting up her dealer (played by frequent Begos collaborator Graham Skipper) and losing hours to drugs rather than working. Madison’s is a vanity-free performance, the kind women aren’t usually allowed to give. Bliss is a horror movie that gives a female character free reign to act up and it’s glorious.
The Frightfest synopsis pointed to Begos’s film’s innate uniqueness:
FrightFest showcased his Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye and now Joe Begos, the quirkiest director on the independent horror scene, is back with a zeitgeisty, fresh and thrilling trip into terror. A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece and recklessly indulges in a series of drug binges. As the narcotics fly out of control and spiral into a hallucinatory hell-scape of highs, lows, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles, so does her newfound, and inexplicable, yet unquenchable craving for blood.
Written and directed by Begos, Bliss stars Madison, Skipper, Gardner, and Dru Collins and Rhys Wakefield as a couple of the coolest vampires in town. At just 80 minutes, it doesn’t waste a second of screen time and was shot on glorious 16 mm to give it a gorgeously grainy texture. Seriously, seek it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Wicked Horror caught up with Begos on the red carpet at Frightfest 2019 to discuss the movie. He looked very warm in his hat. Check it out below.
Interview conducted by: Joey Keogh
Camera: Richard Waters
Editing: Richard Waters