In the post-Twin Peaks landscape of 1992 an independent horror film came along that captured the show’s style but had darker intentions.
The debut feature from Writer/Director/Producer Alexander Cassini’s ‘Star Time’ examined Henry (Michael St. Gerard), a man so desperate for fame that he would kill to get it.
It was not a financial success and Cassini didn’t direct another film until 1999 and has since got three TV episodes added to his CV.
Slasher films were very much dead and buried at this time in Hollywood with the Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises’ all showing diminishing returns. New Line Cinema had even ‘killed’ Freddy off the year previous in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Henry is a depressed/suicidal figure who finds the mysterious Sam in his hour of need who commands him to create his own show after his favorite ‘The Robertson Show’ is canceled.
Because of his child-like nature, Henry goes along with his plan and starts to plan murders that he repackages as ‘performances’.
Henry, of course, has some of the telltale signs of a serial killer, being quite reserved and also for having a close relationship with his mother.
What ‘Star Time’ possesses is a fairytale-like quality where not everything you see is what it seems which is backed up by its bombastic Peaks-esque score,
The babyface mask that Henry uses for his ‘performances’ is particularly creepy as he becomes the monster he was always meant to become.
Ultimately Henry fulfills his prophecy from the opening of the film and takes his own life to fight against the life he has become trapped in by Sam; who it turns out is part of his multi-personality disorder.
It closes with Henry watching his own fate on a bunch of televisions through a shop window; the perfect metaphor for life imitating art, imitating life.
‘Star Time’ is probably classed as a thriller but its blueprint lies in horror; as does Twin Peaks. With fame at every turn for people who can get the right-angled shot on Instagram; ‘Star Time’ feels more timely than ever.
‘Star Time’ is out on Blu Ray from 88 Films.