Southern Gothic is one of the most fascinating and enthralling areas of American writing and film-making. The sub-genre is characterised by flawed and eccentric characters, dilapidated rural communities, eerie events and an air of malice. This atmosphere has been most successfully captured on film in Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter, Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Robert Mulligan’s To Kill A Mockingbird. In Cold Moon, which is by far and away his best film, Griff Furst dabbles in small town evil and backwater politics.
In the sleepy rural town of Babylon, Florida, Evelyn Larkin (Candy Clark) is struggling to keep her blueberry farm from going under. She lives with her grandchildren; the down to earth Jerry (Chester Rushing) and the whimsical and headstrong Margaret (Sara Catherine Bellamy). When Margaret is murdered, the police have no leads, but a dream reveals to Evelyn that the killer is Nathan Redfield (Josh Stewart), the son of the local banker (Christopher Lloyd). As she desperately tries to get justice, Nathan descends into a spiral of alcoholic hallucinations and psychotic mania.
Cold Moon is a strange and disturbing crime drama which accentuates small-town paranoia and dangerous eeriness to create an atmosphere of dread. Whilst the identity of the killer is revealed early on, much of the focus revolves around his descent into alcohol-fuelled madness with a possible supernatural element. The latter is done in a rather camp way which is at odds with the malignant undercurrent. Cold Moon is an offbeat character study and a spooky drama.
Cold Moon is available on DVD and Digital Download by Bulldog Films on 22 January.