I LOVE ghost stories, even as a kid my friends and I had a host of stories we would tell to each other when we hung out at night. It’s what we did before the advent of 500 TV channels and the internet. I’m not saying these were fantastic stories. With names like “Bloody Boots” among my favorites they were creepy, scary and chilling, but they were far from original. Everyone my age knew these stories and I still hear one occasionally pop up today being told by the storyteller with as much exuberance and excitement as we told them. Sure…we all believe the person who relayed the story to us actually knew a person who knew the person “it” happened to, whatever “it” was. Ghost stories are one of the many things that made growing up fun for me.
Rufus Chaffee’s “The Muse” is a great ghost story that takes me back to the tales of my childhood. The narrative focuses on the main character Addison Taylor, a pill popping musician played brilliantly by Isaac Simons. Taylor is coming off his huge hit “I want to F*&$ You Like a Porn Star”. You read it right…well sort of…I did a bit of letter substitution, but you get the gist. His fans are anxiously awaiting his follow up song but Addison has a bit of writers block. The pressure of having to outdo his huge hit is wearing on him. He is offered the use of a cabin on the lake to help him get back on track by his friend Jimmy, played by Paul Blumenfeld.
Blumenfeld shines in the role of the slightly sleazy Jimmy. Once at the cabin Addison starts getting a strange feeling about the house. Enter the nosey neighbor Frances (Renee Miller). Miller does a very nice job as the slightly offbeat but friendly, take charge neighbor. She seems a bit weary of the house, which foreshadows things to come. Once in the house Addison discovers a guitar left behind by the previous occupant. Curious, he plays it and seems to feel (as we see) someone else playing it using his hands. The hands we see are of a beautiful woman a.k.a. The Muse (Marguerite Insolia). She seems sweet at first just wanting to help Addison write music from beyond the grave but as the story progresses we discover that she…well…that she isn’t so sweet. Great performances by all the main actors Mike Pfaff as Addison’s sex crazed friend Mikey Stone and his two sleazy girlfriends of the moment Angela (Tawny Amber Young) and Robyn (Vanessa Leigh)
Chaffee has really grown as a film maker over the years. “The Muse” is a huge jump from his earlier work “Divine Intervention”. The acting is top notch aside from some of the very small bit part actors that remind us that this is indeed a low budget Indie. A couple scenes threw me a bit as to why were they there. A scene where Addison discovers a guy looking inside his convertible BMW as he exits a small country store on his way to the cabin, for example made little sense to me story-wise. It seemed to me it was just put there as filler. I also though the relationship between the nosey neighbor and Addison was a little choppy and a bit unbelievable. I also would have liked to see the ghost scenes a little more scary. When she appeared it was done with a simple dissolve. Maybe a little flicker or a little transparency to her would bring up the creepy value.
I really enjoyed the soundtrack. Most of the music is actually written and performed by Isaac Simons. I respect a musician who can actually write original music and top it off by performing it flawlessly. Learn more about Isaacs music here:
You’ll have to wait to see this one though as Chaffee is currently shopping it around to several distributors trying to get this movie out to the largest audience possible. Overall a really nice film that I’m sure you will enjoy as much as I did. Check out the web page to follow “The Muse”, to learn more about the great cast, crew and Rufus Chaffee himself. You’ll also learn when you will have your chance to see “The Muse”.
Scared Stiff Rating: 7.5/10 -… “You sure are pretty…for a dead girl”…