Graham Skipper is one of the best actors working in horror nowadays, who, in the midst of his busy career also managed to direct his own startlingly assured debut, Sequence Break. Skipper’s ongoing partnership with writer-director Joe Begos continues to bear the strangest, and most fascinating fruit, too. Following on from Almost Human and The Mind’s Eye, both scrappy sci-fi movies, Bliss is a swift turn from what we know of these two hugely talented lads.
To be clear, the actor isn’t front and center this time around, instead showing up in a supporting role as a drug dealer with the coolest mutton chops ever committed to celluloid. Skipper isn’t the focus of Bliss, but he’s an important component, providing our anti-heroine, Dezzy (a revelatory Dora Madison), with the titular mind-bending substance. Also, his name is Hadrian. Just let that sink in for a second; a drug dealer with mutton chops called Hadrian.
Related: Bliss [Frightfest 2019 Review]
Bliss is one of the best horror movies of 2019, no question; a wild, weird, gory, and utterly hypnotic ride that takes in references to everything from Near Dark to The Lost Boys to Queen of the Damned. It’s a vampire movie, a drug movie, and a movie about the creative process, but it’s also fiercely feminist, unflinchingly brutal, and stunningly shot to within an inch of its life. Bliss is Begos’s calling card and it makes me insanely excited for what he’s going to do next, but it’s yet another example of Skipper’s abilities too, even when he’s a background player.
The Frightfest synopsis pointed to the movie’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, fellow horror hero Jeremy Gardner (The Battery), 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 nabbed Skipper on the red carpet at Frightfest 2019 mostly to discuss those all-important mutton chops. Check it out below.
Interview conducted by: Joey Keogh
Camera: Richard Waters
Editing: Richard Waters