About time

Phew, been over a week since my last post. Apologies for the delay. Things have been a little nuts–getting ready to go back to Argentina, got engaged, etc. Lots going on in the Scholar’s world.

I was searching for a good short film to post, as shorts don’t get enough love around these parts. I watched a couple that seemed promising, but ultimately resorted to cheap gore (though maybe not literally cheap–I’m sure the effects cost a good bit). One in particular was disappointing to me: a British short about some friends who accidentally summoned a demon. The whole film centers around them trying to avoid attracting its attention but slowly getting picked off. It’s well-made and well-acted, right up until the last moment, when the final girl randomly gets her face peeled off by the demon. Let me reiterate: things are going fine, cinematically, and then someone’s face gets split open like an overcooked sausage. The quality of acting, the tension and drama that have been carefully cultivated, culminate in a single, pointless, exceptionally graphic face-peeling.

Violence that serves the plot is fine. I’ve said this a million times, I know, but I can’t help but return to it. Violence that is the plot, violence which forms the core interest of the story, that’s not really my cup of tea. I’m thinking of doing a longer post on this topic, but for now, I’m interested to hear what others think.

In the meantime, here’s a fun little short I eventually found that, given its (alleged) budget of $300, is fairly impressive. Except for some cheesy effects at the very end, it’s fairly competent for a micro-budget indie short. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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3 thoughts on “About time

    • Totally agree. It’s not cinematic violence per se that I dislike. It’s how it’s used, and more importantly, how its effects are revealed on camera. In most cases I find it far more effective, for instance, to witness the aftermath of a violent attack than to witness the attack itself. The actual cleaving of flesh, exposing of viscera, etc. is really not something I need to see, though. It’s much too vulgar a display of power, as it were.

      I feel similarly about other, non-gory things, too. The Conjuring was pretty good, like, but the ghost leaping off the armoire was just ridiculous (do ghosts climb on things? Is leaping necessary for disembodied beings?). If we’d just seen a flash of the ghost lurking up there before a fast cutaway, that would have been more effective, in my opinion.

      One of the best mainstream releases to use violence in a subtle way, in my opinion, is the Silence of the Lambs. Lector (and Buffalo Bill) did some horrible stuff, but you never really see it as it happens. Sure, you see Lector bite a guy’s face, but you don’t see the face being peeled off. You don’t see tendons and muscles and all that nastiness.

      In the short I mentioned above, the demon face-peeling thing could likewise have been shown indirectly. Instead they opted for full-frontal skin-removal, which alternately sicked me right the hell out and totally ruined the otherwise appreciable tension of the preceding five minutes (it’s only 10 minutes or so altogether).

  1. On the subject of gore, although I do admit to liking lots of silly OTT slasher type horror movies, these days effects are so clever they do ruin the impact level of gore. I loved the basic gore of dog soldiers – I’m sure they used a string of sausages for intestines at one point(!) it was so basic it was really gruesome, whereas the facepeelilng just sounds a bit to OTT and show-off-y to actually provide a scare. I think Stephen King once said something like, its not the monster behind the door that you need to describe, it’s the terrifying walk up to the door and the turning of the handle that gives you the real scare!

    On the subject matter of the film you posted – that soooo must be a contemporary legend! I heard a similar great ‘ghost’ story from a tour guide in a castle i once visited – she told me about an old lady in a tour group who got really freaked out because she had been dreaming of the castle for years yet had no knowledge of the castle itself. What was particularly strange (so the guide assured me) was that one of the guides freaked out at the sight of the woman; once she had calmed down she explained to the visitor that she was the spitting double of the ghost of an old lady who had been seen wandering round the castle at night for years! Spooooooooky!

    Oh, and congrats on engagement!

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