Jeremiah Kipp has a talent for taking the horrifying and making it beautiful. In his works such as “The Minions” and “Contact” he produces stuff so gorgeous I would expect to find it in a museum, so gorgeous that one might be seduced into not realizing there’s a dark underbelly he’ll expose. Marrying the horrifying and the beautiful is no easy task, but Kipp finds a way to do it masterfully time and time again. With “Drool,” he may have reached the heights.
“Drool” is a mere 4 minutes long. It has no dialogue. It’s one scene, with only two characters. Its story is minimal, if it exists at all. It shuns plot in favor of the image. As a lifelong student and former teacher of literature, I should not recommend it. And yet I urge you to watch it. Because in 4 minutes, under those constraints, Kipp managed to creep me out and have me unable to get “Drool” out of my mind a day and a half later.
I’m about to spoil this short, as it’s, well, really short. Here’s how it goes: Image of a naked man lying still on a floor. Covered in clear, slimy fluid, he shifts and moves uncomfortably, writhing as if movement is brand new to him, unable to rise. A few feet away in a rocking chair, a woman in a dark dress shifts and moves herself, covered in the same fluid. She smears it all over herself, in an almost sexual way. She rises and approaches the man, fondles him, drops more fluid on him, mounts him. There’s a shift in power; she becomes tangled in her dress, as he gropes her, revealing her naked body. He mounts her, and she does not appear to like it. As he rises and departs, she pulls herself into a fetal ball, sucking her thumb. She succumbs and lies still. The film finishes exactly as it started. The End.
Is the “drool” amniotic fluid? I don’t know. The man is almost infant-like in how he’s not quite in control of his own muscles. At first the short suggests he’s just been born. Is the woman his mother? I don’t know. She seems too young, but then, if this is symbolic, then perhaps age doesn’t matter. Is this short about incest? I don’t know. If the woman is a mother, it would suggest yes, but I can’t establish the relationship between the two, so I can’t establish incest. Is this short about dominance in a relationship? I don’t know. There’s certainly a power shift, but I can’t establish if that’s the main point of the film. Did I just witness a rape? I don’t know. But I hope to God I did not.
Kipp’s film leaves lots of questions, and I wouldn’t be trying to answer them if “Drool” wasn’t worth the investment. Believe me, it is. You may be grossed out by the sheer amount of fluid here, and should be by the hints of incest and rape. But it’s so beautifully done that it would be a shame if you passed on it. Because you should be asking yourself the same questions I’m asking myself tonight. You’d also be depriving yourself of one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen committed to moving image. Kipp is just that damn good.
In my review of “Contact,” I stated that, “Guys like Romero and John Carpenter became icons for taking chances and bucking the status quo. I don’t know if Kipp will ever reach that rare air, but he’s on the right track.” After seeing “Drool,” I stand firmly behind that quote. Kipp is among the rarest breed of horror director—a visual artist of the higher caliber, who knows how to get under a viewer’s skin, and it’s a damn shame he’s not a household name in the horror community.
With kind permission of Jeremiah Kipp, watch “Drool” right here:
A Mandragoras Production.