TASTE is a gothic horror set in the 1800s bringing together the splendour of a classic gothic tale with gruesome cannibalism.
When Jane marries and moves into her new home, she will discover her husband is keeping more than a few skeletons in his closet. From her food, she pulls clusters of hair, silence haunts the lonely corridors of the home and, while Jane is abused by her husband, she untangles the house and its harrowing history.
Trigger Warning: Mentions of r*pe, murder and cannibalism.
When I began workshopping this script in 2018, I gave it to a slew of writers I knew and trusted but there were two prominent concerns that came back repeatedly. The first: I don’t think it’s realistic that Francis is so cruel. Can somebody really be that monstrous? The second: I don’t think one r*pe is enough to constitute horror. Both of these extremes put into context why this story must be told.
It’s interesting that the doubt of his monstrosity was something so many of my readers voiced. While I drew from personal traumas for this script, I also poured myself into research: books, documentaries, films and informative studies (including profiles of The Golden Gate Killer, Ted Bundy, Harvey Weinstein, the Yorkshire Ripper, and others) to try to further understand how so many cases are unresolved for so long. This is what I learned: sometimes there is no reason and doubt is an instrumental tool for a perpetrator. Doubt is dangerous. Doubt makes us second guess. Doubt is exactly why people are able to carry out crimes for as long as they do.
It fills me with terror that so many people voiced that being subject to just one act of r*pe could not be a horror in and of itself - that one must be subject to repeated acts of r*pe for it to be taken seriously as a crime or a trauma.
I picked up an essay called The Longest War by Rebecca Solnit. It detailed harrowing events and statistics regarding women being gang-r*ped, and a few different instances of husbands raping, dismembering, cooking and then eating their wives. These cases took place post-2012. This essay (along with research into infamous predators) highlighted something crucial: it doesn’t matter what vein of life we all walk, we all carry this trauma or the fear of it happening to us.
A significant portion of the women I know are silent survivors. This is a film for all of us. It is a film that will validate our fears. It is to validate the doubt we feel on a day-to-day basis because, well, it was just one r*pe. It is a film that will hold our hands and say: I see you, and I know it feels like you are going mad, but your anger is rightly placed and you deserve justice.
Our team worked together on She Lives Alone (which can you watch via ALTER). This short film went to Frightfest, London Short Film Festival (BAFTA-qualifying), Leeds International Film Festival (BAFTA & Oscar-qualifying) and Out on Film (Oscar-qualifying) among other festivals. The film was a gothic, historic ghost story set on a rural grange. The team’s feature film, A Man at the Window, was selected for the EIFF Talent Lab Connects 2021 and is currently being developed.
For TASTE, we will be striving for more ambitious set pieces, scares, locations and more. The money we crowdfund will help us to achieve our vision for the film. We seek to pay homage to some of the earliest and most well-loved gothic tales in both cinema and literature including (but not limited to) The Innocents (1961, Dir. Jack Clayton) and The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794, Wri. Ann Radcliffe).
(Pictured Above: The She Lives Alone Dream Team)
Making short films is a vital part of developing your craft and voice as a filmmaker. All the filmmakers we love and admire started making short films and experimenting on a small scale before they jumped into the realm of feature filmmaking. Making Taste will help us bridge the gap between making short films and features. It is ambitious and has the scope and potential to help us expand our horizons and build on our careers.
There are always risks when crowdfunding a short film. This short film has been years in the making - hundreds and hundreds of hours of dedication. With the campaign being an all or nothing sort, if we don't reach our goal, we run the risk of not being able to make this film.
Ultimately, this finance will help us make this film. It’s an ambitious project with an ambitious budget, but we are frugal filmmakers and with your support, we can bring our vision to life in all its delicious and spooky glory.
Finally, we believe this story is important to tell. We wish we could say the issue has never been more prevalent, but the truth is the issue of sexual violence is always prevalent. One of our core missions with this film is to make it an accessible story for survivors to both watch and experience - a story that will bring a sense of catharsis for those coping with this sort of abuse and trauma.