Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Suzie Heartless (2008)
Alternative Cinema | Buy at Amazon | Review by Doug Waltz

The latest film by Tony Marsiglia (SIN SISTERS, CHANTAL) shows us that Tony wasn't done with the down and out women of Hollywood that he explored in the more dramatic CHANTAL remake. This time Tony went to town on what may be one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen.

When I got the DVD I expected what Alternative Cinema always gives me; horror and sex. Or spoof and sex. Usually one of these two things.

SUZIE HEARTLESS portrays the final days of a teen age prostitute. Suzie has been abused for so long that she is a blank slate. She stumbles through life, abused, starved and non-reactive to any of it. There is no joy in this young lady's life and you can feel this through every second of this film. Marsiglia's decision to shoot the film with no dialogue hammers the loneliness home like no spoken line could.

I have always been a fan of Tony Marsiglia's. His LUST FOR DRACULA was magnificent. CHANTAL was a bit haunting, but there was a reprieve in spots. A little lightening of the mood if you will. And I think it was CHANTAL that was the catalyst to making this film. Tony had already steeped himself in the grim underbelly of society and there was something left in there. Something horribly dirty and disgusting and he made us watch.
After watching it the first time I knew that I would have to revisit the film again to fully grasp what was going on. Maybe watch it with the commentary and see what was running through Marsiglia's head.

I couldn't do it.

Wendy McColm's performance is spot on. She looks miserable and just... well, blank. She comes across as the girl who has been through so much that her brain has just shut down. The real shame is that no one in Hollywood will see this film and realize that this young lady deserves some kind of award just for being in this film. And the odd part is that if you check out the rest of her stuff on the internet it is all fluff and light. How Marsiglia managed to pull this kind of performance is uncanny.

And he makes you feel dirty for watching it. The first shot of Suzie she is naked and staring off into space. You think; 'Hey! She's kind of cute.' Later, as you live this girl's hellish existence, this offhanded remark comes back to haunt you in ways you never thought possible. You want to take it back and know that you can't. Too late. You're stuck with it.

With all of this, is SUZIE HEARTLESS a good film. No, it's a great film. One that I, unfortunately, watched. I really could have gone my whole life without seeing this movie and there would have been a little less darkness in the world. Now there are these bleak images stuck in my head that swim around and surface once in a while. Damn you, Marsiglia. Being one of your bigger fans, why did you have to give me this? Bastard.

The disc also comes with Tony's first film, PHOENIX. Nothing like SUZIE HEARTLESS, it shows his theater background and is more than a little ambitious. It's alright, but I recommend watching it first. You really won't want to sit through it if you watch SUZIE HEARTLESS first.


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