Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Honourable mention: Minutes Past Midnight

Minutes Past Midnight is an anthology of short horror films released in 2016 and contains a variety (in content) of horror shorts that were mainly of a very high standard. Segments Ghost Train and the puppetry masterpiece The Mill At Calder's End deserve special mention.

I was considering whether this deserved a ‘Vamp or Not?’ but ultimately decided it was of genre interest for two specific parts. The critter in the Robert Boocheck directed Horrific is named as Chupacabra but the short is more creature feature than anything else. Then we have what might be described as urban folk horror in the unusual Feeder, which was directed by Christian Rivers and has what might be described as a vampiric entity… I will explain, of course, but let us look to Horrific first.

more eviscerated than sucked 
One of the shorter segments and aimed as much to comedy (there are a couple of comedic pieces in the collection) as it is to horror we begin, after an establishing shot of trailer and goat, with Tex (Mike C. Nelson) who is watching a go-go dancer on VHS with his underpants round his ankles and a beer in his hand. The VHS goes off and there is no more beer, so Tex is boiling twinkies when he hears the goat. Investigating he finds not much of it left and, back in the trailer, something is moving through the cupboards and into his pile of clothes. Something that suddenly launches and takes a finger.

up close and personal
Goddamn Chupacabra!” he announces after some makeshift first aid and then he is hunting the creature down, which leads to some amusing “whack-a-mole” with the hobs on his cooker and, when we see it more clearly, we get a creature that looks like a rather large rodent, whose mouth splits a bit like the Reaper strain from Blade 2. But do the chupacabra travel alone?

Cohen Holloway as Kingsley
As for Feeder, down on his luck musician Kingsley (Cohen Holloway) has moved into a new place where he intends to record some new songs – though his manager is less than supportive. The place is a bit of a dive and he sees a cupboard that is boarded up. He pulls the boards away and we see a strange set up of thorn branches and carving there of (and it is this that gave me a folk horror vibe). His neighbour Bex (Loren Taylor) lets herself in and loans him a vacuum cleaner and mouse traps.

the mouse
The writing doesn’t go so well – in fact he drunkenly smashes one of his guitars in frustration before passing out on the floor. When he comes round he sees a mouse outline scratched into the floor. A mouse appears in the shape and is then drawn into the floor with a splash of blood. Freaked out at first, he detects the sound of music coming from the floor and starts playing with and recording. However a new outline appears, this time more rat-sized.

all that's left
The idea that an entity (within or below the house, we’re not sure) wants flesh to be sacrificed to it, we can assume to feed it given the short's title, was interesting. However the idea that it then trades artistic inspiration for said food was fascinating. Reminiscent in some respects of George Sylvester Viereck’s The House of the Vampire, this was not quite the same. In Viereck’s book the energy vampire drains victims of their artistry and uses it themselves, so a little different but comparable nonetheless. Of course, in this, the appetite demands bigger and bigger sacrifices for its help.

folk horror vibe
So, something that some might class as a vampiric entity or presence and, whilst somewhat more critter than bloodsucker, a chupacabra. If you don’t want to class them in the wider genre they are definitely of genre interest and this is well worth catching as an anthology film. The imdb page is here.

No comments: