Show Me is a 12-minute film written by Karl Herlinger, directed by David Schneider and produced by Todd A. Sharp and Michelle Gardner. It was shot on the Canon 7D by Jon Aguirresarobe.
THE HISTORY OF VENTRILOQUISM
Ventriloquism has been around for – well, a long time. The word “ventriloquist” comes from the Latin words “venter” and “loqui.” Long before it became synonymous with comedy, it had its roots in a kind of supernatural phenomenon meant to evoke demon spirits from beyond. Ok, maybe not originally to get the demons to talk about stuff, but definitely akin to channeling – whether for ritualistic or religious purposes. Nowadays, most people equate ventriloquism with the style of the art that was known in Vaudeville which, for the most part, was showy and broad. Ventriloquists would display their skillful abilities to quickly switch between their own voice and the voice of the figure and often had more than one figure on stage at a time. Over time, that transitioned into using a single figure with a more comedic approach, and less “tricks.” Ventriloquism has had different iterations in radio, film and television over the ages and is still evolving today, incorporating modern technology and animatronics. But even as it adjusts to the times, it remains an art form which requires a respect for the history and a trailblazing sensibility to keep it all vital.
WHY MAKE A FILM ABOUT VENTRILOQUISM?
Have you ever seen Karl and Joey perform live? We have… and we knew that we couldn’t film that without getting an X rating. So… Show Me began with a conversation about making a film that portrays a different kind of relationship between ventriloquist (Karl) and figure (Joey) – where the ventriloquism is performed live in-camera – and was born out of a desire to capture that energy. Show Me is not just another scary movie about a doll. Instead, it is a psychological thriller set against the last days of Vaudeville. It is a story about relationships and loss and the struggle to keep from spinning out of control. And yes, it’s also about a ventriloquial figure – because Vent figures (insider ventriloquism speak) are decidedly creepy.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Show Me is, at its heart, about the disintegration of a once close family. Their son may have died in a tragic event a year before the events of the film, but their problems started well before that. The husband clings to the act in an effort to save the marriage, when it’s ironically the very thing that’s ripping the seams apart. What interested me in the script was the exploration of the question of where the rift in the family lies – is it a descent into madness or something supernatural… or a combination of all of the above? And I do believe the answer will come as a surprise to even the most observant viewer. We’ve seen horror films involving ventriloquist figures before, but I really felt this script took a fresh take on it.
Plus, ventriloquist figures are really damn creepy!