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REVEALER Bares Itself As An Ode To ‘80s B-Horror

A stripper and an evangelical religious protester get trapped together in a peep show booth amid the onset of the apocalypse.

The premise of director Luke Boyce’s Revealer is the perfect setup for plenty of low-hanging fruit punchlines that are sure to plague at least a handful of hipper-than-thou reviews. But with a shoestring budget, two locations, a cast of just a few people, and an impressively well-executed mix of practical and digital effects, Revealer is a stripped-down love letter to ‘80s B-movie horror classics like Evil Dead and C.H.U.D.

Written in a mere eight days by comic scribes Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Money Shot, Superman vs. Lobo) and Mike Moreci (Burning Fields, Roche Limit, Black Star Renegades) and filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020, the film takes place in 1980s Chicago amid the height of the Satanic Panic. Unbeknownst to Seeley and Moreci, a whole new Satanic Panic would be in full swing by the time of the film’s release.

Following a screening of the film at C2E2 Friday evening, Seeley told attendees that part of his inspiration while working on the screenplay was a fascination with how some religious people treat their lives like a weird voyeuristic thing where God is watching them strip. “A person’s relationship with God should be very small and personal, but a lot of people turn it into a show,” he said.

That metaphorical theme looms large for main characters Angie Pitarelli (the aforementioned dancer, played by Caito Aase) and religious protester Sally Mewbourne (played by Shaina Schrooten) throughout the film. The duo bring plenty of heart to their performances, leaving the viewer to alternatively root for or be put off by their choices at varying intervals throughout.

Aase and Schrooten both told C2E2 attendees that the script was written in such a way that they could see themselves in the roles. This could be a testament perhaps to Seeley’s years of writing penultimate horror movie “final girl” Cassie Hack in Hack/Slash, as Seeley himself has also admitted that he generally feels more comfortable writing women.

Beyond the heart in the script and performances, the attention to detail in the wardrobe and set design — not to mention a synth-heavy soundtrack with just a touch of hair metal — bring the ‘80s nostalgia full circle for a package that somehow encapsulates both what was cool and what sucked about that decade.

Revealer isn’t rewriting any cinema conventions or leaving you with a high-concept moral to ponder, and that’s perfectly OK. Not everything needs to, or should, aspire to high art. As its B-movie inspirations once showed a previous generation, sometimes — a lot of times, let’s be honest — it’s good to just have a leave-your-brain-at-the-door escape from reality.

Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.
REVEALER Bares Itself As An Ode To ‘80s B-HorrorA stripper and an evangelical religious protester get trapped together in a peep show booth amid the onset of the apocalypse. The premise of director Luke Boyce’s Revealer is the perfect setup for plenty of low-hanging fruit punchlines that are sure to plague at least...