Yet Another Look at New Indie Horror...

My Skin! was one of several disturbing horror shorts films from Christopher Alan Broadstone that appeared in my mailbox this month, the others being Scream For me and Human No More. Dark in both tenor and appearance, the acting appears to be a notch above usual, and I must single out the menacing-looking Tony Simmons, who stars ably in all three. Broadstone takes a stab (sorry!) at presenting these tales of murder from slightly unusual perspectives, and I like the effort to stay away from cliché. With a real lighting crew and in a longer format piece, he might make a more developed and complicated statement. Themes of transformation, obsession, revenge, power and control seem to keep popping up in these three shorts. Loads of extras, behind the scenes photos, etc. Hopefully Broadstone will continue to tweak horror film expectations in a way that will display even more thoughtfulness and ingenuity than hinted at in these short films. For info contact the filmmaker at: www.blackcabproductions.com.

Stalking Hand is a schlocky horror film, with bad actors playing characters with poor motivations. Not nearly as clever as it wants to be; annoying cute music and sound effects (cuckoo and fart noises!) mar it further. Filled with one-offs and jokey asides, it feels a bit busy and forced, like they’re displaying too many of their influences rather than developing their own style. Lighting seems to fluctuate wildly within scenes, as does the size of the hand from scene to scene. Three Stooges influence, but not in a good way. The hand even does the old three stooges poke in the eye routine, like in Army of Darkness. Must have been funny for the filmmaker’s friends, otherwise it’s fairly painful to watch. Subtitled A Scary Movie, the only thing scary about it is that some poor schmuck might be suckered into wasting his money on this. If you still want to watch it, put a nail gun to your head, then go to the website at: www.onemanfilmindustry.com.

I wanted to like Sounds, I really did. It’s from a young local guy. The lighting’s good, the cinematography is slick, and it has some decent special effects. But it was just too silly a spoof for my tastes. An alien crash leads to a parasite infecting one of a group of friends, who vomits what appear to be eggs of some sort, prompting the arrival of two sophomoric FBI agents who do an overblown X-files send-up. The line “Smells terrible, and I’m French” got a lot of laughs at the screening, I remember. Acting was variable, but the pony-tailed guy (Sandy Stoltz) I thought had good timing and was fun to watch. Ryan Humphries, the 23-year-old director, said something about it being harder to maintain a serious film in a low-budget enterprise and so they decided to go with the comedy. That may not have been the right decision. I think the guy has talent to do a serious dramatic movie, and this had some comedic bits that got old quick. It did have a few decent laughs, but otherwise was fairly forced and overplayed. The music score (also by Humphries) was professional, but often seemed a bit overdramatic, more perhaps than the scene called for. For info check out: www.soundsthemovie.com.

Our final feature is the convention fave Chainsaw Sally. Started as a character on a website (www.chainsawsally.org) and expanded into a movie, and appears to be the first in a franchise. Finally released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema, it stars April Monique Burrill, a pale goth-looking chick with OK acting skills but plenty enough charisma and playfulness to pull off the starring role. Of course, the fact that her husband is the writer/director couldn’t have hurt, either. Sally (as shown in flashbacks) and her brother are the survivors of an attack that killed their family, and turned them into pop culture-inspired serial killers. Obviously made by horror fans, with a salute to Toolbox Murders and cameos of Gunnar Hansen as her father and HG Lewis as a friendly neighborhood shopkeeper. Of course, as the title suggests there are deaths by chainsaw, but also some other creative kills: acid poured down throat with a fabulous bloody diarrhea coming out the other end, dick cut off, nailgun fu. With an indie soundtrack. DVD extras include storyboards, interview, trailers, etc. Decent performances and bloody SFX highlight its’ good clean fun. Smarter and funnier than a lot of the indie horror I regularly sit through, and I think horror fans will like it. Available from our friends at


-Eric Bradner