Flaunt Premiere | Samantha King "Dolly Go Round"

by Liam Casey

What is it about motels? And the desert. What is it about motels and the desert that together create a setting ripe for something bizarre? Perhaps it’s the idea that a motel room is equally as intimate as it is public. The turn-around is so quick. Or that they’re notoriously seedy. How can you not think of Janet Leigh in 1960, screaming in the shower with those piercing, screeching strings? Add the desert dimension, and you’re done. Roswell. Slab City. Lancaster…

Flaunt is pleased to premiere Dolly Go Round, a short film directed by LA-born, London-based director, Samantha King and produced by CherryB Films. Equipped with a brand new prescription for codeine following tonsil surgery, King was inspired by her recurring dreams vividly depicting men with horse heads and girls with nose jobs. No, we’re not at Café Gratitude, but rather Yucca Valley, 120 miles east of Los Angeles.

Visiting her hometown this past Fall, King had forgotten the long-embedded Angeleno tendency to nip & tuck after working in London for so long. This renewed culture shock lent her subconscious to conjure Dolly, a botox babe with a bandaged nose, sequestered in a motel room, serving as a dollhouse of sorts. While Dolly, played by Peyton Zouck, lounges on her candy and jewelry-topped bed and bathes in her room’s jacuzzi, she’s struck with the sobering realization that she, like all of us, is alone. Like the motel room in which she’s cloistered, Dolly’s true self and inner beauty are trapped in her cosmetic prison.

The short’s original music shreds all doubt we’re in a dream, providing syrupy and doo-woppy melodies. Jon Moody, of the band Franc Moody, and Alex White, saxophonist for Fat White Family, whose horn serenades us through the film, composed the score, referencing Julee Cruise’s 1989 tune, “Rockin Back Inside My Heart”. Filmed in a disorienting fish-eye lens, DOP Isabel Albuquerque seamlessly encapsulates Dolly’s private horror, mimicking a peephole for the viewer, us, to infiltrate—yikes. This partnership between King and Albuquerque certainly won’t be the last...sublime.

With Dolly Go Round, King has not only provided us the address to the motel, but also given us the keys—perhaps more than we bargained for.

Director: Samantha King
Producer: Farrell Huntley 
DOP: Isabel Albuquerque
Editing/Post: Gonçalo Lamas & Isabel Albuquerque
Art Direction: Cassidy Reagan 
Prop Master: Leona Johnson
Make-up: Laura Dudley
Music: Jon Moody & Alex White