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February, 22, 2006. By Scott A. Johnson @ www.horrorchannel.com
MY SKIN/ SCREAM FOR ME Double Feature DVD
Written and Directed by Christopher Alan Broadstone.
The modern-day masters of horror all started somewhere. Whether with zombies or psychos in that house in the middle of nowhere, low-budget independent horror is where many cut their teeth. And while most don't have the budget for feature-length fare, there is a great deal that can be done with short films. In line with The Horror Channel's dedication to bringing independent horror to the fans, we present this DVD, containing three films written and directed by Christopher Alan Broadstone.
First in this collection is the 2002 production, My Skin. Taking 2nd place honors at the 2003 Shriekfest for Best Horror Short, My Skin is a quirky, shot-on-video story that begins with an odd man and a dead body on the floor. Actor Tony Simmons turns in a strange performance, made all the more creepy for his dedication to it. Watching him portray the mysterious man, one accepts his strange physical mannerisms as natural for the character. Broadstone proves with this movie that films do not have to have a huge budget or name actors to pack a punch. In fact, this story appears to have been made with a less-than-shoestring budget, and still manages to pull off creepiness.
At a slightly larger budget is the second short, Scream for Me, winner of the Best Short Film award at the New York City Horror Film Festival in 2003. Shot on film, this short begins with a man brutalizing a young woman, demanding that she scream for him, all the while choking the life out of her. Enter Tony Simmons, this time in the roll of a redneck with a very bad attitude and a less-than-savory sex drive. It seems that the girl was his target for the night, and since the man (played by Gabriel Sigal) is responsible for her demise, he's going to have to be a substitute. Scream for Me is brutal, sadistic, and disturbing to a fault. Tony Simmons shows his range by playing a thoroughly frightening raving lunatic. Those who have seen My Skin will have to do a double-take to realize that it is again Simmons in the lead role.
Also included is the 2004 short Human No More, also staring Tony Simmons. In this outing, Simmons is a detective whom, after staking a killer, discovers himself being stalked. Purely a monologue, the detective sets up a video camera and explains his motives for what he is about to do. During the course of this short, camera angles switch to show that there is indeed something watching him, zipping in and away with strangely colored filters to enhance that it is this "demon" whose perception the audience is seeing. While most monologue shorts come off as cheesy and forced, Simmons delivers his part with such dedication that it's like watching a dying man's final will and testament. Like watching a horrendous car wreck, it's disturbing to watch, but oddly fascinating at the same time.
Like those that came before him, the Lucas', the Raimi's, the Romero's, Broadstone shows that he has the eye and the talent for creating horrifying worlds and, most importantly, telling compelling stories. Even without the benefit of huge studio budgets or even feature-length time, Broadstone, and directors like him, are the reason that people seek out independent horror. Because it's just that damned good. Anyone who sees these shorts can only hope that someone in studio power will also see them and give this guy a chance with a real budget and feature length time. For more information about Christopher Alan Broadstone, his productions, and what he's got up his sleeve for the future, those curious can go to http://www.blackcabproductions.com.
Scream for Me
Human No More
Written and Directed by Christopher Alan Broadstone
Rating: 4 out of 5 Mugs OBlood