Having watched literally thousands of short films over the years (courtesy of a film education and years slogging it in the shorty trenches of movie land), it's not only nice to see something so profoundly creative be produced in short format, it's bloody amazing! Written and directed by the duo of Efram Potelle
and Kyle Rankin
, the creators of the first Project Greenlight
feature The Battle Of Shaker Heights
is a hilariously spooky original series that is currently being shown on the Atom Films website, and it's easy to see why the series is so popular. Told in four parts (that together total around 15 minutes in length), the series displays a level of style and technical talent that is rarely seen in the world of short horror films, especially in those produced for the web. The films are slick, the shots nicely composed, the effects are far and above what should be possible considering the technology the filmmakers used, and both the acting and the writing are tight.
The trials of the dorky protagonist Guy (played by Rankin) are both laugh out loud funny and a bit creepy (especially that little girl demon....nice eyes honey!). The appearance by Ray Wise
as a crazy, hell-obsessed professor just spurred the laughs more and brought a new level of "these guys are retarded and I dig it" to the table. The effects and look of the film (considering that it was an independent production) amazed me at almost every turn. I don't want to give anything away, but you definately have to see these shorts to see what I mean. Bleeding eyes, a dinosaur made of bones, floating heroes in hellspace, a dude crunched into a two foot cabinet and still talking rationally. And where else but in a comedic hell could fate depend on the use of a giant spoon? Yep, there's brilliance here.
With the fourth and final episode now online, viewers can now experience the full tale, which is impressive, entertaining and certainly rewatchable. My only major beef with this series is: It's too bloody short! While I have the feeling that expanding the time of the tale would have led to its quick demise once a studio got a hold of it, and despite the adage that what works in a short would be horrible for a feature, I wanted to see a whole lot more of Guy and his wacky adventures in Hell. I found myself engrossed and highly amused by these shorts, and I was suitably impressed by the show that the directors threw my way. Very nice job indeed, and I hope they continue on in this same vein, because I think they may have found their voices with this one.
Oh, and think about a feature length tale....Just think about it.
As well as the four HellHoles episodes, this Atom Films screener also has the short films Game Over, an interesting look at classic video games, and the most excellent short Possum Deathspree, which premieres on Atom Films on April 20th. Seriously hilarious and bloody stuff, with fuzzy cute possums!
Well written, artistically and technically shot, and executed with dead-on comedic timing and sheer horror glee, HellHoles is a frightfully good time despite the fact that it is too short (or maybe because of it?!?). If you're a fan of horror comedy, and the more stupid the better, then look this series up. It's clearly anything but stupid, featuring some excellent acting, top-drawer filmmaking talent and seriously above-par effects work. If this and the upcoming Possum Deathspree are any indication of the level of creative quality that Atom Films Studio is going to be puttin out, you can be assured I'll be spending a lot of time on their site. Very, very nice work indeed.