Sella Turcica: A Five Year Retrospective

Me, Myself, and Joe Bob Briggs at The Hollywood Theater
October 25, 2015
Little Help from Sick Friends Feature Image
A Little Help From Our Friends, Sick Fucks That They Are
October 27, 2015

In 2010, TOETAG Inc. and infamous underground director Fred Vogel let loose upon the independent horror world their poignant tapestry of humanity and family famine known as Sella Turcica, a film that not only changed directions for the emerging company, but also helped usher in a new era of dramatic terror that fused the assaultive cinema of modern genre films with the post-9/11 war-torn images of shattered family structure.

Sella Turcica is a simple and familiar story. A family awaits a loved one who is returning from his duties overseas. The members of the Roback clan try to put aside their typical domestic differences in order to prepare for the wounded son's arrival, unsure of his inflictions but ready to receive him with joy and honor. Brad Roback, decorated serviceman, returns home to the arms of his loved ones, attempted to put the past behind him and concentrate on healing, both physically and mentally, for he has been wounded severely in combat and no longer has full use of his limbs and most of his other abilities have been limited, to which all causes are seemingly unknown to him or his family.

Brad's reunion is heartfelt and even though you can blatantly read the pain felt by Brad's state on his loved one's faces, they still manage to achieve a facade of happiness while awaiting their own patriarch (who is absent for the majority of the piece yet is held in high regard and reverence by his family) to truly begin Brad's welcoming back.

Brad's condition worsens to a decaying degree as does the inner turmoils of the other family members personal conflicts with each other and within themselves. The family drama witnessed, including hints at placism and secret discontent, begins to spiral out of control as Brad's condition reaches a meltdown and the horrifying violence that flows from Brad shocks the audience and destroys the fabric of his families existence which leads to a gore-soaked climax and a final catharsis that leaves it's own haunting upon all who have witnessed the atrocities committed by and upon the Robacks.

Casting a clan of fresh faces and genre veterans, including Jade Risser (Murder-Set-Pieces), Damien Maruscak (MASKHEAD) and Camille Keaton (I Spit On Your Grave), and entering an isolated home in Ohio, TOETAG, along with a deliberately repetitive script polished by Don Moore, began crafting a film with themes that try to convey a difference in style and depth in the world of horror movies. Gone are previous thematic styles including the visual attacks of rape, torture and TOETAG's perverse inversions of the normalties of life. Instead we find a story that is filled with dysfunction, abnormality within their own supposed normality and an isolated grief and pain found within the construct of the American family, torn apart at it's foundations while some members are trying their best to hold on to whatever can be salvaged from their happily ever after lives that have ceased to exist. The awaiting of the patriarchal figure is a devise used brilliantly throughout the production, as the Robacks hold on to the idea that whatever wrongs are happening they will be resolved eventually, perhaps through dire hope, with the return of the Father. Unfortunately, even when the Father returns, the webs of Brad's terror and the self-inflicted miseries have tightened and strangled the life from this family unit, whom once wore smiles that have since turned to grimaces of pain and desperation with the clouds of death shadowing the light of life from their once beating hearts.

Five years have past since TOETAG released Sella Turcica to its devoted fanbase and to the horror world. It's interesting to note that use of drama being used as a technique again in some horror films seems to be on the rise and younger movie-makers seem to be adopting the family portrait as a way to spill their own variety of cinematic carnage. Yet, since witnessing Bradley Roback's decent into chaos and murder (be it from internal or external forces guiding him down his path to destruction) no filmmaker has yet to match the intensity of that final act in Sella Turcica which has spawned a cult-like devotion of fans that have been scarred by the hell imposed upon the viewer by TOETAG.

Sella Turcica Cast Signed Front

Cast and Crew signed DVD

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