Steeped in social commentary, The Chair is more than just your average horror/thriller
The powerful often take advantage of the powerless – it’s a vicious cycle that has existed since the first single-cell organism decided to consume rather than co-exist. The competition is fierce and struggling to survive will make a killer out of you in one way or another. The Chair is, at first glance, your average prison horror/thriller. But just beneath the dark and gritty surface, there’s a story – and a film – about the struggle to survive, the abuse of power, and the isolation and despair that all human beings face in their final hour.
Richard Sullivan (played to perfection by Timothy Muskatell) is presented as an innocent man that is sentenced to die – a concept that, if you gave it more than a few seconds of thought, is probably one of the most terrifyingly realistic things a person can conceive. But in this prison, there are fates worse than death as the Warden (the electrifying Bill Oberst Jr.) and his guards have become thoroughly corrupted with their absolute power. The brutality that occurs will make you question who the true monsters are in this narrative as even flashbacks of Sullivan’s mother (terrifyingly portrayed by Naomi Grossman) reveal that there are very few redeeming characters here. This is an ugly story with ugly people; there are no demons or zombies here – the only monster on death row is man.
Relying more on psychological horror and suspense than on jump scares and a splatter-fest of gore, The Chair touches upon the ethics of torture, the criminal justice system, child abuse, mental health care, fate, and familial histories of violence. Created in 2006 by Peter Simeti with Kevin Christensen as penciler, The Chair was first a comic book mini-series and later published in 2008 by Alterna Comics as a compiled graphic novel, The Chair has themes that are unfortunately ever-present in society. Screenwriter Erin Kohut, who also edited the graphic novel, fleshed out various elements of the narrative and adapted the story for film.
The Chair is directed by Chad Ferrin and stars Bill Oberst Jr., Timothy Muskatell, Noah Hathaway, Zach Galligan, Naomi Grossman, Roddy Piper, Ezra Buzzington, Derrick Damions, and Kyle Hester.
The Chair is currently on Kickstarter raising funds for post-production.