I’m not sure how to spell the name of this film. The actual short has it listed as ‘The Copy-Writer’. The trailer says it’s ‘The Copy Writer’. It’s actually spelled ‘Copywriter’. I know, because I used to be a fucking copywriter.
In hindsight, that should have been a clue. But I don’t like to form an opinion until I’m done with a short (even a 9-minute one), and I can safely say this was, to put it kindly, lacking.
The story is simple enough: a young horror novelist holes himself up in rented room to prep for a non-fiction project. But soon he’s plagued by nightmarish visions of weird figures and something something losing his mind.
It claims to be Lovecraftian but I see no evidence of it here. My friend pointed out the possibly deliberate The Shining reference in both this short’s set-up and the pattern of the wallpaper (a dead ringer for the carpets). The final scene has distractingly awful sound quality and hammy, unconvincing acting from a detective type, making the rather stilted acting from the lead seem more tolerable. The short’s Facebook page has some stunning graphic design, but this is less than the sum of its faults and awkward to watch.
I saw this 2-minute short seemingly repeatedly pop up in my news feed in a post from Horror Society and thought, ‘nobody can’t spare 2 fucking minutes’.
Glad I did. Much like Lights Out, 12AM it uses its simplicity to great effect: one actor, zero dialogue, trim edits in a single scene, played out in real time, revolving around a relatable fear: that groggy, half-waking state between sleep and awake.
(SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP)
Yikes. This is the first time I’ve been properly lied to by a flurry of laurel leaves and the inclusion of ‘award winning’ in the title. Despite being filmed using some very good equipment, Enrico Conte‘s 10-minute short Leaning [whose title is never justified] gets very little right.
Things start off shaky, with a non-English-speaking radio host/voiceover riddled with grammar errors, and saying those in a very poorly-executed American accent. The broadcast favours telling over showing, in which we’re told of a vague, immediate threat urging everyone to stay inside and secure their homes.
Excuse the poor English dub, but, like YouTube’s poor rendering of an already bubbly print, you get used to it.
Yesterday was Dia de los Muertos and, in the spirit of the day, Muñecos Infernales/The Curse of the Doll People, by Benito Alazraki, was profferred by a half-Mexican ghoul/friend.
Right. As penance for missing a single day on year 4 of my Hallowe’en marathon, I’ve decided to ‘punish’ myself by trying, for the second time, to consume one horror thing per day for the next year. It’s probably too much pressure, but I have a friend who regularly watches this kind of crap with me, so perhaps he’ll spot me or something.
Last night’s entry was the perfect antidote to a Hallowe’en hangover (both literal and emotional): the sumptuously designed Treaters. Boasting production design and props that would rival most feature-length films, this perfectly encapsulates the spooky, colourful, indulgent wickedness of the season (and makes me sad that it’s over for another year).
Set in England, two teens meet up with a third kid they met online, a clown-costumed little shit who promises them the candy heist of their lives. Borrowing some of its tension-setting from both Don’t Breathe and every snacking kid ever, the trio must sneak into the odd setup of a woman’s lounge (where she’s watching some fairly fucked-up animation) to get to her wonderfully impressive sweet shop. Naturally, the gang go nuts – literally like kids in a candy store – but the plot thickens thereafter. No spoilers, but it toes just the right line between gruesome and magically Burton/Selick-y. A trick and a treat.
Yeah, I’ve seen John Carpenter‘s Halloween before. But, honestly, not for a long time, and never in a cinema, and certainly not in a screen full of other people who have seen it so many times that they laugh at both every awkward line delivery and the iconic moments when Michael Looks Really Quite Threatening and Scary.
On second viewing, I liked Kasey LaRose‘s short After Hours a bit more. For horror shorts, I’m a bit of a sucker for simple creature design, mostly because it’s cheaper to do (and harder to mess up), but also because it skirts the unsettlingly ambiguous line between demonic and real-life threat.
It also helps if you have a decent score (check), tight camerawork (check), and an actress that is easy to watch and root for (Shiloh Nyce Despain) (check). For a short though, it is incredibly short, yet there are moments that could have been chopped since it stuck with a single, in-the-moment strand of tension that so many early shorts go for.