Director – James L. Edwards
Starring – Shianne Daye (First Date), James L. Edwards (The Dead Next Door, Skinned Alive), and Drew Frontier (Back Again)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 4/5
When I was a freshman in high school I was already collecting movies. It was mostly VHS at that time but I had some DVDs as well. I became friends with another horror fan who had transferred. We started hanging out and would often have movie marathons during the weekends when I would stay over with him. On one of our many marathons we discovered director J.R. Bookwalter and The Dead Next Door. He liked the film enough but I fucking loved it. I became obsessed with it and that opened the door to me for Bookwalter and his Tempe Video. I couldn’t stop watching these movies.
Fast forward about 15 years and I met J.R. Bookwalter at Cinema Wasteland. I’ve met several celebrities at Wasteland but few made me as nervous as he did. I have watched his movies for so long and I couldn’t wait to meet him. Well, during me encounter with Bookwalter I completed missed that fact that he had actor James L. Edwards at his table and I didn’t realize it until after Wasteland. Talk about a missed opportunity. I befriended him on Facebook soon after and noticed that he was heavily into production for his feature length film Her Name Was Christa. When it was completed Edwards was kind enough to ask me to check it out for Horror Society. Thank you James!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Stephen (Edwards) who is stuck at a dead end job in telesales. He has been there for 8 years and half of that was spent being celibate. That changes when he meets a new employee who convinces him to go out to find someone. When he fails to do so he suggests a prostitute. That fails as well so he suggests that Stephen try the girlfriend effect. That night he crosses paths with the gorgeous working girl Christa (Daye). He speaks with her and the two spark up a deal the mutually benefits the two of them. However, over time they fall in love with each other and reveal it to one another the day he loses his job. That night she overdoses and Stephen can’t handle the heartache. He loses his mind and keeps the corpse as if she is real. **Spoiler Alert**
Her Name Was Christa is a movie that makes you think it’s about necrophilia but there is so much more going on. Sure, the necrophilia is there but it is a such a small part of the story. In fact, it’s such a small part that it’s almost unfair to call this a horror film. The movie was fantastic but calling it a horror movie is a bit of a stretch.
The acting in this one is phenomenal. James L. Edwards and Shianne Daye work so well together. Edwards goes through a wide range of emotions and really pulls the viewer in. The viewer sympathizes with him and when he hurts the viewer hurts. With that being said, Shianne Daye is the opposite side of the spectrum. Her performance doesn’t draw emotion from the viewer but her sexy portrayal of Christa is fantastic. If looks could kill she would be deadly. The supporting cast is solid as well but these two are the stars and for good reason.
The story for this one is a deep character film that follows a lonely man who is contempt with his life until he realizes that he is missing out by not having someone to love. This lonely man then finds the woman of his dreams and feels complete until his life comes crashing down. This is a strong story that reflects real human fears of losing family and loved ones. When you mix in mental health you get a shockingly dark love story that holds your attention very well.
Finally, this is not a horror flick with a high body count but we do get some fantastic effects during the last 20 minutes or so. The decaying body was fucking fantastic. We do see the body in various stages of decomposition and the effects team did one hell of a job with the corpse. It was a true highlight of the film. Overall, Her Name Was Christa was not the movie I thought it would be but that is what makes it so fantastic. It could have been another Nekromantik clone but chose to be something better. This movie is superb and Edwards’ powerhouse performance deserves to be seen. This is a must for any indie movie fan. Check it out.