“Strange And Wonderful”: Dr. Lauren & Darren Review “The Horror At Gallery Kay” (2018)

Dr. Lauren McIntyre (right) is a horror obsessive, tattoo connoisseur, natural Goth and cat wrangler. Lauren recently started watching Red Dwarf from the beginning and was pleasantly surprised at how good it is. Not series 7 or 8 though… Say hi to her on Twitter: @noddinggoth

Darren Gaskell (left) is a horror obsessive and “enthusiastic” karaoke performer. It will always be a source of amusement to Darren that he has an acting credit on imdb. Say hi to him on Twitter: @darren_gaskell

The guy in the middle is a zombie. As far as we know, he’s not on Twitter.

THE HORROR AT GALLERY KAY (2018)

Starring: Maine Anders, Rosebud, Brian Silliman

Writer: Mac Rogers

Director: Abe Goldfarb

Darren: The Horror At Gallery Kay is a horror/drama/fantasy about a counselling session for a same sex couple which goes off in some very interesting directions.

Dr. Lauren: It’s a micro-budgeted film. It’s what, about and hour an a half long?

Darren: It’s….[checks]….an hour and nineteen minutes.

Dr. Lauren: It’s really interesting. We were recommended this film by Mr. Adam Stovall who kindly sent me a link because I don’t have Amazon Prime so I could watch it.

Darren: I did check it out on Prime because I do have it but even so I wouldn’t probably have spotted this instantly. I didn’t have to search for very long but it wasn’t front and centre and I would think it’s not going to be on the suggestions for everyone’s watchlists. It ought to be, though, as it’s very much worth checking out.

Dr. Lauren: Yes.

Darren: There’s something within the first few minutes…I’m trying hard not to spoil this too much because it’s a film which goes off in some very strange directions. There is a performance in this which threw me a little bit because in the first few minutes it seemed slightly off for me but as things go on I realised why it was like that and why I was thinking that way. I don’t really know how to explain it other than that without giving everything away. It’s a rubbish explanation.

Dr. Lauren: Basically this lesbian couple, Olive and Petra, go for a counselling session and one of Petra’s friends is a counsellor. He has offered them some free relationship counselling because they’re pretty much going to break up but Olive wants them to stay together. So, they go to this counselling session. And a lot of the film is a series of monologues stitched together. Almost every character gets to deliver their monologue and then there’s a bit of interaction with however many other characters are around at that point and then there’ll be another monologue….I don’t know if that’s making it sound really dull.

Darren: Not to me but then again I’ve seen it. It’s very far from dull.

Dr. Lauren: That’s kind of how it’s structured but it’s so well written that it really draws you in even though it’s set in only a couple of rooms and there are, what, four people in it.

Darren: Yes, it might be what you could call very talky but it’s talky in a way that’s always leading you towards somewhere else. It’s not dialogue for the sake of dialogue. Everything is leading you to somewhere else. It’s not the sort of thing where you can switch off. A lot of the stuff in it, which on the surface might not seem to have any meaning at the time, comes into play later on.

Dr. Lauren; The character development is amazing. You find out so much about these people within the first few minutes and then you want to find out more about what’s going on. It’s got some slightly Lovecraftian overtones and if you like slow burning, well written character pieces then you should definitely give this a shot. I loved it.

Darren: The performances are all very, very good. Maine Anders, who plays Petra, has the bulk of the heavy lifting to do, plot wise, in the first half but you’re totally with her. She has a particular story which will play into the rest of the movie and she’s very much the focus of the opening act but equally Bozill…

Dr. Lauren: The counsellor.

Darren: Yes, the counsellor. He’s in service to the other characters a lot of the time but his impact is vital and Brian Silliman’s performance is great. In certain sequences he’s called upon to have this gravity about him but in others he’s playing for laughs. He’s got the most difficult balancing act because some of the time he has to pull out these really dramatic moments but then he has to be the comic relief as well. Brilliant performance.

Dr. Lauren: I must say that I absolutely loved Olive.

Darren: Yeah, I’ll admit now that I’ve got a bit of a crush on Olive.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah, I think I’ve got a bit of a crush on her as well.

Darren: I was there for Olive from minute one of it. Rosebud, who plays Olive, is excellent.

[Pause for appreciation of Olive]

Darren: It’s one of those movies which is difficult to put into any genre. It certainly has horror sensibilities and as the story progresses more and more horror comes into it but it also works incredibly well as a piece of drama. It also has some sly laughs up its sleeve too.

Dr, Lauren: There’s a few special effects in there but the approach to these is really clever. Because they shot this thing on a shoestring they wouldn’t have the budget to shoot big special effects so they’re really sparsely used but to maximum effect.

Darren: Yeah. It gets the most out of the limited resources available. There’s a particular scene in which you know something horrible is lurking behind a certain thing but at the same time you don’t need to see it to know how horrible it is. They don’t show it because they don’t need to. It doesn’t have to be overplayed. As a result, the effect is scarier precisely because you don’t see it.

Dr. Lauren: I would rather them do that than end up with a terrible effect that might take you out of it.

Darren: That’s the thing.

Dr. Lauren: And even if what I was seeing looked a little bit rubbery I didn’t care because the film was so good.

Darren: Even if the effects don’t hold up totally you can go a long way by having the rest of the movie be so involving that you’re totally willing to overlook the odd tiny lapse. It would be a shame if people bypassed something like this in favour of not particularly impressive, empty, big studio fare because it’s way better than most of that stuff.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah.

Darren: What this may lack in terms of huge spectacle and budget it more than makes up for in terms of its imagination.

Dr. Lauren: It’s got imagination in bucketloads. It’s just so well written, the characters are so fascinating even if you don’t like everything about them. They’re so rounded and so fleshed out that I was sucked into the whole thing. Steve [Lauren’s husband] has just passed me a note. He watched it with me and said although it’s a film which is difficult to pigeonhole he felt like in tone in was a cross between The Whisperer In Darkness and The Devil’s Business.

Darren: Yeah, I can see both of those in there. Going back to the Adam Stovall reference earlier, I think the atmosphere of this and A Ghost Waits share some similarities. To me, they’re not tonally dissimilar even though the balance between the drama and the comedy is different in both.

Dr. Lauren: I really enjoyed this. I can see how this one slipped under the radar just because it’s not the easiest thing to find.

Darren: Even with Prime I’d have had trouble finding this. It was only when I was told where to find it that I did, which is frustrating. You’re going to get those big studio movies popping up on the front page.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t know how the search algorithms work on Prime.

Darren: You probably wouldn’t get this showing up. Also, in the categories for the film itself, it says drama, it says horror, it says fantasy but it also says LGBTQ. I think some people might look at that and think it’s all going to be very focused on same-sex issues because it has two women as the couple. That clearly isn’t the focus.

Dr. Lauren: It’s about a relationship which just happens to be between two women.

Darren: Exactly. And in a way I guess it does belong to that canon of movies just by the nature of that but that’s not what drives the plot. And if guys looked at the movie’s description and thought “Well, I’m a straight, white guy, that’s not for me” that would be a crying shame because they’d be completely missing out on strange and wonderful things like this.

[NOTE: Even though Darren is a straight, white guy, his approximation of a stereotypical straight, white guy was oddly unconvincing]

Dr. Lauren: I would say that if anyone out there has an hour and twenty minutes to spare and they want to watch a really interesting drama with a dose of horror for good measure then you should definitely go and check this one out.

Darren: Absolutely. I’m going to go back and watch it again. I loved it the first time, I’m sure I’ll be giving it a few more viewings and I will certainly be recommending it to people I know.

Dr. Lauren: I will be banging on to people about it, asking if they’ve seen it.

Darren: So, in terms of score, what would you give The Horror At Gallery Kay?

Dr. Lauren: I would give it a four out of five.

Darren: I’m going to give it a four and a half out of five.

Dr. Lauren: Whoa!

Darren: I was thinking hard about the score and I have to say that I genuinely love this movie. It’s going to stick in the memory so I have no problem giving this four and a half out of five.

THE SCORES

Dr. Lauren: 4 / 5

Darren: 4.5 / 5

About celluloiddeej

Film fan, horror festival goer, karaoke enthusiast, cat whisperer, world traveller, complete idiot. Happy to chat with you on your podcast/whatever if you can stand the Yorkshire accent.

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