Remember how excited we all were when we first heard about The Profane Exhibit? In case you haven’t heard of it, or maybe can’t remember anymore, it was an extreme horror anthology film announced back in 2011 that, by all accounts, was going to blow everyone’s mind. The collection of filmmakers brought together was the stuff of legends: Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), Anthony DiBlasi (Last Shift), Marian Dora (Cannibal), Andrey Iskanov (Visions of Suffering), Jose Mojica Marins (aka Coffin Joe), Ryan Nicholson (Gutterballs), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), Michael Todd Schneider (I Never Left the White Room), Sergio Stivaletti (special effects on Cemetery Man, Demons, and so many Argento films), and Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes), to name just a few. But that was over five years ago now, and unfortunately this anthology seems to have faded away into the night.
I couldn’t tell you the status of every individual segment, whether they were ever finished or if they even got started in the first place. However, Ryan Nicholson has been kind enough to share his segment, The Good Wife, with us, and to be honest, it only makes it more frustrating that the anthology is currently sitting in limbo. Some familiar names and faces appear in this short film (this is the unedited cut, hitting just about 15 minutes), and some familiar gore as well.
The Good Wife focuses around John (played by Dan Ellis, familiar from his roles in many of Nicholson’s previous films, specifically as BBK in Gutterballs and Donald the driver in Bleading Lady, as well as the upcoming American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock). John is a married man, with a beautiful wife, Lisa (played by Monique Parent, who has been in around 125 movies covering almost every genre), always waiting for him after a long, rough day at work. She will pretty much do anything for him, and he knows this. But maybe that just isn’t enough, as we first meet him in the process of torturing a young woman (played by Erin Young, one of the girls from Dead Nude Girls), violating her with a large hook, then tearing her face off and pissing on her dead body. After all is said and done, he does come home to Lisa, but when we see their interactions, it would appear that while she does all she can for him, he is preoccupied with other things and hardly reciprocates. This seems evident with an instance of rough, and very brief and one-sided, sex, and becomes plain as day the next morning when he tells Lisa that he’s left a list of chores for her to do while he works late, and warns her about leaving the house. It’s The Good Wife, after all, not The Good Husband.
As might be expected, things take an unexpected turn as we move along. John pulls over for a stalled car on the side of the road, driven by a young woman (Tina Krause, who has made so many otherwise underwhelming B-movies that much better), whom he proceeds to punch out and carry into his car. This would be his second victim, unless something stops him from following his standard procedure…
For dealing with a semi-familiar trope (guy secretly tortures/kills women right under the unsuspecting nose of his loving wife/family), The Good Wife feels surprisingly fresh. Part of this is due to the actors involved, all of whom, no matter how short their time on screen, do a fantastic job selling their characters. Part is due to how good the film looks – Matt Leaf took on the role of cinematographer again (see also the highly underrated Nicholson film, Famine) and did a fantastic job of making an ugly story look very good. And, of course, a big part is due to the nastiness and the brutality of the effects work. Ryan Nicholson is known for putting some uncomfortable scenes in his films, and this one is no different. Megan Nicholson handled all of the effects (her work can be seen in anything from the Blood Feast remake to La Petite Mort 2 to the Dead Rising films, and even the current Supergirl TV series), which are disgusting and bloody and amazing, as usual.
It really is a shame that The Good Wife isn’t available to a general audience. I held off and avoided putting any spoilers in this write-up on the off chance that the short film, or The Profane Exhibit anthology itself, ever sees the light of day. But Ryan Nicholson has been known to show the short at festivals here and there (as have some of the other filmmakers with their currently-homeless segments), so there’s always a chance, and if you get that chance, I highly recommend you take it. For now, The Good Wife has satiated my appetite – temporarily – while I patiently await the handful of movies Nicholson and Plotdigger Films have coming out in the near future.