The second edition of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival gets underway Thursday night. Among the dozens of films premiering for local audiences, Stuart Gordon's Stuck, inspired by real-life events that transpired in nearby Fort Worth, stands out like a sore thumb to me. The film received some good reviews when it premiered in Toronto last fall; our own Scott Weinberg called it "more of a twisted thriller than an out-and-out horror movie ... [with] a sly and simple streak of social commentary." But my interest lies in issues beyond the film itself. Namely, can fictional depictions of real-life stories affect people like secondhand smoke?
One evening in the fall of 2001, twenty-something nurse's aide Chante Mallard partied at a club, drank some alcohol, split a tab of Ecstasy, smoked some marijuana, left the club, accepted a ride from a friend, picked up her car at her friend's apartment, and climbed into her gold Chevrolet Cavalier. A few minutes later, she hit a man on a dimly-lit highway. She was a mile and a half from her house in southeast Fort Worth, Texas.
Gregory Glenn Biggs flew into her windshield head-first. Mallard headed home. Badly injured, bleeding profusely and stuck in the cracked windshield, the hapless Biggs pleaded for help. Mallard pulled into her garage, got out of her car, closed the garage door, and went to bed. Biggs died.