Part mad scientist horror flick and part psycho sexual thriller, Annette Ashlie Slomka’s debut feature plays like a Frank Henenlotter movie minus the sense of humor, which is strange because any film with a penis monster you would imagine would be a barrel of laughs. But strange is this film’s most endearing quality.
Sarah Sheldon (played by filmmaker Annette Ashlie Slomka), ex-med student with a raging case of penis envy, creates a living, biting wiener creature and attaches it to the groin of Alex, her male friend/guinea pig. The plan is for Alex, with his new sexual organ dangling between his legs, to sterilize women through sexual intercourse. The idea is to punish society for its promiscuity and the resulting world’s overpopulation.
But the monstro donger turns out to be a real killer and Alex ends up killing a sexual partner. This failed experiment is only a minor set-back, however, as Sarah and another friend/guinea pig of hers, Jenny, have sterilization devices implanted in their lady parts. Together they pick up sleazy guys at bars and have sex with them, while at the same time destroying their seed. So Sarah’s sinister plan continues, but her obsession with the penis monster, which she removes from Alex and keeps in a jar, sends her over the edge, driving her to conduct even more bizarre experiments.
It’s not all fun and games like you would think. Rather than go for b-movie exploitation, the filmmaker has instead given us a character study of a mad scientist bent on sexual mutilation and mutation. For the most part, the film rides out pretty dark and disturbing, but with a mean kinky streak. Many of the characters here are portrayed as oversexed beasts, which works to validate Sarah’s hatred for the sluttiness of today’s society. However, the few erotic scenes that do exist either end in tragedy or are purposely awkward or miserable. So, again, when I say the movie has some kink to it, don’t look for an arousing erotic experience. If anything, prepare to not want to have sex for the rest of the day.
Transcending its budget limitations, “The Secret Life of Sarah Sheldon” has a strong, unpredictable spirit about it that keeps you watching. It’s not your run-of-the-mill horror flick, despite the presence of a penis monster. It’s something different from a filmmaker not afraid to try some new things. And, yes, once again, it is very, very strange.