Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

Theater of Blood Part VII (year unknown)

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According to the Internet, this film doesn’t exist.

According to the Student Academy Awards, this film ALSO does not exist.

But because it was filmed at good ‘ol Beaver College, it’s important to us. Yes, the production value seemed low, perhaps because the environment was all too familar in this particular short film class. I’ll admit I wasn’t riveted to the story, but I can absolutely appreciate the themes as a fan of horror movies and a film critic who loves when a genre can comment on or satirize itself.

Theater of Blood Part VII tells those who love horror flicks that we are sick, perverse people (probably true) by making the case that anyone who can write a horror flick is just as perverse. In this fantastic inversion, the distressed damsel terrorizes the writer that has damned her to so many horrifying experiences. The female character, which the fake credits tell us is played by actress “Jennie Lee Harris” (an allusion to Jamie Lee Curtis of the Halloween franchise, methinks?) punishes the writer for his sick imagination. This film does ask a serious question: why do we consider it entertainment to watch people terrified, fighting for their lives in unimaginable circumstances? Why do we loved to watch them hurt and degraded and more often than not perish at the hands of a psychotic (but ultimately quite human) presence? And why are those that are terrorized usually women? This film and many other have alluded to the sexist nature of the horror genre and how it is so pitted with plot holes, predictable tropes and unbelievable circumstances that the unrealistic nature of the movies render them totally unscary (the Wes Craven Scream franchise is a perfect example, and I can’t wait for the fourth installment!).

The plot includes another layer reminiscent of Marc Forster’s Stranger than Fiction (2006), in which fiction becomes reality. I think the film begs the question: How would we react if the things we imagined became our waking lives?

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