Short of the Month DOUBLE FEATURE: Nostalgia and Footsteps (2011)

205966_271039036244247_3894701_nTonight we are glad to make you aware of two short films from Wes Casey Productions, a frequent flyer when it comes to the HorrorSexy short of the month. We have chosen to follow the exploits of Wesley Skelly and co. through a short history of their recent horrific endeavors. These range from Sci-Fi with a twinge of gore, modern day vampire philosophy 101 and even into the realm of the modern day mania looking for a victim in plain sight.  We will start with Nostlagia, an interesting taken on the modern day predatory vamp and leave you with a Footsteps, a psychological walk in the park.

Nostalgia

From Wes Casey Productions:

Nostalgia is Harry Bartholomew’s first short film from his production company Wes Casey Productions. Its tells the story of Chester (Wesley Skelly), a vampire with a difference. He doesn’t conform to rules of myth and legend but he does thirst for blood. His tale takes us from his first kill through his fall from grace and to the point where even he turns to god for redemption.

What starts of feeling like an ode to George Romero’s Martin quickly turns into a very literal interview with a vampire. We first find Chester learning to love murder. It’s like watching a child gobbling up their first Swedish Fish, ready for more. As the story develops Chester becomes ravenous but conflicted creating a sense of tragedy and a decent into a personal Hell. The true triumph of Nostalgia is in the transformation of our vamp, not from human to vampire, but from unwilling participant in homicide to a Libertine killing machine bent on hedonism and bloodlust. The central theme of rebirth in the film suggests that we are going to watch a new, homicide-free protagonist ready to become a hero. Perhaps the best question to ask yourself is what does it mean to be born again? What does the new birth of one’s self actually resemble?

The movie has creative camera angles that keep the visuals fresh while using a wide selection of color and contrast to create a vibrant killing field for our protagonist. The “Dracula lighting” is especially effective, showering tall shadows from underneath our would be prince of darkness. While Nostalgia feels visually strong, the narrative the drives the film is a bit overt playing over much of the action. It seems to pull the story from a place of film into a narrative piece of prose, and it can be distracting at times. I would like to be shown as much as I can possibly be shown by a picture. Realizing this is a low budget, short film the economy of a film project and of time is not always on the artists’ side. Never the less the overall presence of the movie is ominous and bold.

Another successful musical outing from Plisskin31 (follow @Plissken31) who provides satisfying organ music. It had all the hallmarks of an Amicus picture. Reliable stings that accentuated moments of horror.

It’s worth noting that the filmmakers had not seen George Romero’s Martin which makes any similarity or feel completely coincidental (though completely welcome).

294573_271037846244366_769927_nFootsteps

From Wes Casey Productions:

As Edward travels across the city at night to reconcile with his girlfriend Lily he is seemingly being followed by an unseen presence that kills anyone he comes into contact with. Who do the eerie footsteps belong to?

Footsteps is a slow burn short with plenty of buildup that leads to some fun kills, but the main kick in the face comes in the end. While the ending is telegraphed and shouldn’t be much of a surprise to the experienced horror fantastic, Wesley Skelly’s performance sells it. The loud but appropriate sting driven synth music works what would seem to be a slasher picture (but maybe it’s more cerebral than that). Plissken31 (@Plissken31) does another great job and really helps cement some of the retro cool that Wesley Casey Productions embodies.

The production value on this film is a bit cheaper than some of the previous efforts we’ve reviewed from Wes Casey Productions, but it’s also an early work. The audio quality isn’t nearly what it has become over the evolution of the production company. My only true qualm with Footsteps is some intercut scenes toward the end that have some continuity issues. These detract from the overall power of the performance that is quite good as we watch a supreme mental explosion. Skelly has said that Footsteps is influenced by Carpenter and it shows in the pacing and shot selection.

Footsteps will be screening at the end of April at the Evening of Short Films #2. Full event details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/454147661408840/

If you can’t make it out to the screening you can give Footsteps a watch now:

From the event page:

After the success of February’s short film night we are back with another excellent collection of local and national short films. There is lots of time for networking and even time for a bit of socialising between the two 30 min screening slots. And the beer is cheap on a Monday evening!

Films currently scheduled include:

Wes Casey Productions – Footsteps
Zimmermann/Draper collaborations – Pro Kopf
Sam M Bell – Watching
Puppy Dog Tails.
Messiah
And many more to be announced!

Also Skelly has a new production, The Figure slated for 2015. Here’s the teaser poster provided by Wes Casey Productions.

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