What’s scarier than a horror movie? A horror movie starring Jill Zarin.
Some time after Jill Zarin’s unceremonious firing from The Real Housewives of New York City, as the dying embers of her fame cooled despite her manic attempts to fan them orange again, Jill signed on to do a horror movie. Not just any horror movie — an Asylum horror movie (if you’re not hip to The Asylum and their calibre of product, this list should give you an idea). The premise: a meteor lands near a small town, somehow turning all of the local dogs into killing machines. Throw in Jill Zarin and Kelly Rutherford and boom. Night of the Wild.
In keeping with the festive atmosphere of the Bitchy Witches Halloween Spooktacular, I subjected myself to this fine piece of cinema. After all, Night of the Wild has 8% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes based on user reviews, and how could 8% of the population be wrong? I liked Kelly Rutherford alright in her role as Michael Mancini’s simpleton fourth wife on Melrose Place, I find Jill Zarin terrifying at a bone level, so why not? I smoked a jizzle and put it on for background noise.
Anyway, now that I’ve buttered you up with the preamble: this movie is fucking garbage. Do not watch it. It’s boring, abysmally paced, the sonic and visual experience of it is awful. There’s not really any kind of coherent story or characters, just random people getting killed by dogs and then sometimes they kill the dogs back. Which is its own detriment; I don’t want to watch 90 minutes of dogs getting stabbed, though rest assured at no point in the film does any death, human or dog, come close to convincing. And all of this could be fine, because the so-bad-it’s-good horror campfest is a legitimate genre, but Night of the Wild is so-bad-it’s-bad. It’s really dreary and joyless and the experience of watching it is too unpleasant to generate even ironic enjoyment.
So I can’t promise you a full recap of this turd, because I wasn’t paying attention and frankly I don’t care. If you’re interested in watching, the whole thing is on YouTube, inexplicably with Arabic subtitles (which is good, because practising your Arabic is all I can imagine getting out of the experience). But goddamnit, you want to know about Jill. So I can at least give you that. Here is Jill Zarin in: Night of the Wild.
When we first meet Jill, a.k.a. “Liz,” she’s sharing a bench and some small talk with our heroine, Kelly Rutherford (whose name I never pick up because it is impossible to pay attention to Night of the Wild for any significant amount of time unless you like the same ten-second clip of barking dogs played on repeat ad nauseam). Kelly gets up to say hello to her daughter, leaving Liz clutching her dog and her travel mug and smiling blankly at nothing.
I must assume, by the way, that Ginger has passed on, because there is no other earthly reason Jill would not have gotten Ginger into this film. There is an anecdote that Jill, resentful of Giggy’s prominent place in the WWHL Clubhouse, sent Andy Cohen a painting of Ginger dressed as Marie Antoinette, which he declined. I believe she considers Ginger’s rejection as an icon a matter of pride and would go hell for leather to stagemother her into Night of the Wild out of spite alone. Ergo, Ginger must be dead. (Editor’s note: further research shows that Ginger is still alive. That Millou is the only RHONY pet casualty feels absurd to me; all those dogs are fucking ancient [ETA: Yet again, was not counting on this joke to be so relevant; RIP Cookie Frankel].)
The next time we meet Liz, she’s brought her dog into town. She’s visiting a… groomer? Vet? Whatever. Anyway, she’s demanding this woman give her dog a massage because Not Ginger has been acting very strange. Hm…
Outside, a blind man’s service dog, newly vengeful with meteorite rage, pulls him in front of Kelly Rutherford’s passing mini van. Liz is among the many who gather to watch the dog circle back and rip out her owner’s throat. Liz screams, giving us the wonderful money shot at the top of the article, and disappears into the crowd.
So far, Liz/Jill’s screentime is clocking in at, generously, about two or three minutes total. That’s a very kind estimate. After this, the dog attacks start coming fast and furious and we won’t see Liz again for almost an hour. That’s okay, though, because she needs the time to prepare for her big scene.
Some time later, we join Liz in her car. The pooches have taken over. She’s weeping incoherently about the dogs while holding her dog which has to have occurred to her as a bad idea but I guess in the midst of chaos, we don’t necessarily think clearly. As I watched her cry, I tried to imagine what life trauma Jill drew upon to generate the tears. My personal guess is the time Ramona and Mario beat her and Simon Van Kempen at doubles tennis but we may never know. Anyway, the dog bites off her fucking nose.
The wounded Liz is helped by two generous bystanders whom I believe are Kelly Rutherford’s daughter and ex-husband although, again, I don’t remember or care. They try to keep her in the car which lol yeah right, LuAnn couldn’t keep her from going to Scary Island, what makes you think you can keep her from bolting into the street? Liz ends up huddled for safety under a truck.
But no one can survive the Night of the Wild, not even Jill Zarin. I haven’t yet remarked upon the quality of Ms. Zarin’s acting. It’s bad-side-of-average. She is by no means the worst actor in this Asylum film, but I would certainly never recommend her for anything more substantial than an Asylum film. However, it must be said: the moment where Liz, gripped by a sudden mania, reaches out to the dogs and shrieks “I WANT MY BABIES!!! WHERE ARE MY BABIES?????”, inviting them to run over and savage her to death, is the kind of campy fun Night of the Wild could have used a lot more of. It’s easily the only redemptive part of this dumpster film, and for that I commend her. I invite you to watch Liz’s final moments and mourn her loss here.
I found some poetry in Liz’s demise. Whether it’s RHONY or NOTW, Jill’s pets inevitably turn upon her. But that is the only context in which I would apply the term “poetry” to this dreadful movie which, again, you should not watch.
Thanks for joining me for Bitchy Witches Movie Night. Have a good night’s rest, but keep one eye open. Jill might have died in Night of the Wild, but in our world, she’s very much alive. She could be around any corner. Make sure to check your closet and under the bed. Sweet dreams…