Time: The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. Greetings and salutations, thrill shriekers. Step into my slime machine and let's go on another journey through the terrors of time! Okay, I know I'm really milking the Halloween-themed undertones, but I'm enjoying the use of different adjectives than the usual "sexy", "gorgeous", "bootylicious", etc. Last week, we were delighted to see Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) is still looking Franken-fine! (Did I really write that just now?) But what about someone we know not so much as a hottie, but as more of a monster (speaking of milking the Halloween theme)? There's no better time than now, and there's no excuse, we're going to take a look back on that freaky girl from THE RING. What are we in for this time: a trick or a treat? Let's find out after we take a frighteningly, yet enlightening look back on the early career of Daveigh Chase.
Before any of you wonder why I've chosen to focus on someone whose most famous role is the antithesis of a "hottie", this will all turn out okay, I promise. Daveigh was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, where dreams go to die a slow, painful death. Luckily, she escaped that place and moved to Oregon for a few years, then to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career. Daveigh had ambitions to be a dancer/performer at a very young age. She was inspired to get into acting by the kids on "Barney & Friends" when she was 4-years-old. Yeah, looks like she didn't quite get her wish (to be loved, and not feared like all hell by the masses). The closest she came to being the sweet little girl on TV was her first commercial at age 7, for Campbell's Soup. Her first credited television appearance was in an episode of "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" in 1998. She made single-episode appearances in plenty of TV shows in 2000 and 2001 ("Charmed", "ER", and "Touched By An Angel" to name a few), but first thing to get the ball rolling for her career in film was probably her role as Samantha Darko in DONNIE DARKO.
"What's a f*ck-ass?"
DONNIE DARKO is another dim movie with a cult following, and it happens to take place during Halloween time (spooooky). I admit, I was a big fan for a while. It feels like I've seen that movie about 28,064,212 times because I used to think it had some deeper meaning (surpassing the comics, even). Then I saw DARKO director Richard Kelly's SOUTHLAND TALES and realized he's just a man who's done a lot of drugs. I still enjoy popping in the dvd every now and then. Daveigh's character doesn't bring too much to the story, but she makes for some good comic relief at times. For a child actress, she does a swell job keeping up Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal. So what corner would this exposure chase 11-year-old Daveigh into next? Would she finally get to sing and dance with her favorite green and purple dumbass dinosaur??
Of course not. We all know the drill. Daveigh crept into movie theaters and scared the living shit out of a bunch of teenagers. So let's talk about THE RING, shall we? It was the fourth film from Gore Verbinski, director of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, RANGO and LONE RANGER... ring the bell? Yeah, somehow in the middle of his "edgy" family flicks, he threw in one "mild" horror film. (Actually, he did direct another horror film: THE RITUAL in 1996, presented by "Tales From The Crypt", and it's pretty awesomely cheesy). It's a remake of the Japanese horror film RINGU, which is based on the book of the same name written by Koji Suzuki, published in 1991. The American remake is different from the original in several aspects (for one, having a female protagonist, played by King Kong's plaything, Naomi Watts). The important thing is that they both involve a mysterious videotape that has allegedly killed several of those who've watched it. On it is a series of surreal and disturbing images (much like Hulk Hogan's sex tape), and when it's over, you receive a message saying you will die in seven days. In the original, the message is at the end of the tape, but in the American version, each viewer receives a phone call.
This is all explained at the beginning by two skimpy school girls, played by Rachael Bella and David Cross's new trophy wife, Amber Tamblyn. They're both bored, watching TV, when they start discussing the video and Tamblyn confesses that she'd watched it a week ago. They have a good hardy laugh about it, and brush it off their shoulders until (dun dun dunnn) the phone rings. Then shit gets serious. Idk what it is about a ringing phone that makes people jump straight to "serial murderer" mode, but I guess that's why we all have personalized ringtones now. This scene is an attention getter, not just because of the short skirts, but because it sets the mood for the eeriness that lies ahead. That opening scene was parodied at the beginning of SCARY MOVIE 3, with Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy; it wasn't that funny, but it was nice to see them in those school girl outfits as well.
Naomi's character, Rachel, is approached by her sister to investigate the girl's death, which leads her to watching the tape. She then starts to experience nightmares and nosebleeds, which on top of a death threat just makes for one hell of a bad week. Soon after, she shows the tape to her ex-boyfriend Noah, not in an act of revenge, but pure stupidity. Oh yeah, she also has a weird, f*cked up son named Aidan.
Warned to not watch the tape or he'll die. Watches it anyway.
Sometimes, I wonder who the "creepy kid" was supposed to be in this movie, the girl in the well, or this little f*cker. He gives me the heebee jeebees. Aidan (played by David Dorfman) is pretty much an asshole version of Haley Joel Osment in THE SIXTH SENSE. He can seemingly communicate with the dead, predict the future (sometimes), and he's always drawing dead bodies at school, making his mom feel awkward. This kid was voted "Most Likely to Suck Blood" in high school. He's always saying inappropriate things, and calling his mom by her first name like a little unruly chode. To me, he's far more terrifying than some 12-year-old girl covered in sewage. I mean don't get me wrong, neither of these kids even hold a candle to Pippi Longstocking. That's one demon nobody could exorcise. I'm pretty sure that's Pippi's suicidal horse who runs after Rachel before leaping to his death.
As the story progresses, we discover a little girl named Samara (our girl of the hour, Daveigh Chase) is somehow connected to the incidents. Rachel visits her father Richard (Brian Cox), who explains Samara was adopted, and twisted events led her and his wife to a mental institution. It never really gets explained just what pit of hell Samara crawled out of, other than it's shaped like a well. All you know is that THIS BITCH IS EVIL. Like, crawl out of the TV and distort your face kind of evil.
...and all while destroying your entertainment system.
Even when you think Rachel has brought Samara to peace, creepy little Aidan says "she never sleeps". Thanks for sending long-lasting shivers down my spine, you troll. In the end, you basically find out the tape is like a chain letter, and if you show it to someone else, you're home free. The concept of a killer videotape is intriguing enough, but I'm a bit disappointed with the direction the story went. I mean, it's based on the book Ringu, so I guess they couldn't stretch too far from the original plot, but I think it would've been creepier if the video was created by some evil super-genius using electromagnetic waves to control our brains through a television set. That's a little more conceivable than a little girl Jedi in a well. There are probably dozens of mad scientists out there who've designed sound waves that can kill a person in an instant, but we just haven't heard of them (they're too busy not breathing). Am I thinking too much into this? Probably.
THE RING was a success in the box office and among most critics. It did bring a new genre of horror to the table, even if it was stolen from Japan. So in 2005, THE RING TWO came out, and received a much more negative response than its predecessor. Daveigh Chase wasn't invited back to play Samara, but they did include archive footage. I can't help but wonder though, did Daveigh go through some major changes in the course of those 3 years? If so, what does she look like now, a full 10 years later? Let's get some closure and uncover what has become of this little wicked witch...
And we have ourselves a winner! Did you really think this column would end badly? There's got to be a hottie somewhere on this page! DONNIE DARKO fans know that just a few years ago, Daveigh starred in the straight-to-dvd sequel, S. DARKO (SAMANTHA DARKO). Those of you who have seen her in that may not be surprised by this outcome. Also, she appeared frequently on the HBO network's Mormon mania program "Big Love". I never thought Daveigh would turn out looking this spectacular. I hope I don't come off like a prick for saying so, but even without all the disgusting make-up, she wasn't exactly the "cutest" kid. I mean, I didn't think she'd look like a supermodel by the time she was 22-years-old. But I was wrong. Holy mother of f*ck was I wrong..
Well, Daveigh Chase, you stole dozens of souls back in the day, and now you're stealing millions of hearts 10 years later. I would recommend checking out S. DARKO if you want to enjoy the grown-up Daveigh in action, but she has other projects in the pipeline. She's credited in two motion pictures, currently in post-production, called YELLOW and LITTLE RED WAGON. She was also recently cast in a remake of the James Spader horror flick JACK'S BACK, which honestly I've heard nothing about until now. I just couldn't be happier she's still throwing her gorgeous self in front of cameras. Congratulations on blooming into a flower of mind-numbing hotness, Daveigh Chase! This side-by-side comparison below might be considered cheating, but I don't care. It's cool.