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The vampire has become so high-fashion that I’ve ended up making the comparison between the bloodsucker and the queen of the prom, or the lead singer in a rock ’n’ roll band. And just when I thought the undead were lagging behind, TV’s THE WALKING DEAD hit the pop-culture scene. However, there are other horror themes that never go away because they work, and one is the timeless psycho on the loose. INSATIABLE writer/director Scott W. Perry has just released his new short SOMETHING JUST, in which he puts his own spin on the serial-killer genre.
The story goes like this: psychotic Thomas Sutcliffe (THE BLOOD SHED’s Alan Rowe Kelly) is on the move, preying upon children, and we meet him in the middle of one of his vicious hunts. At the same time this evil is occurring, Michael, one of God’s angels (Jerry Murdock of BY HER HAND, SHE DRAWS YOU DOWN) meets with Death (BARRICADE’s Joe Zaso) to negotiate some kind of punishment for Sutcliffe. The tension in the film derives from the continuous cutting back and forth between the conversation between the two and the wickedness of Sutcliffe. “I wanted to show just how vulnerable people can be,” Perry (pictured at right directing Zaso, center, and Kelly) tells Fango, “and how there is both someone who is listening and at the same time someone who just doesn’t want to talk about it.”
With a running time of less than 12 minutes, SOMETHING JUST (which Perry first wrote about six years ago) is a compelling piece, fueled by a number of key elements. Standing out foremost is the performance by Kelly, who plays Sutcliffe as if psychois truly runs through his veins. Every move he makes in the role comes across as both deliberate and natural, which is no easy feat. For those who have seen Kelly’s more humorous turns in other movies, it’s fair to say his performance here elevates him to a new level, and that he’s completely convincing, unrecognizable and terrifying. “Alan loves the genre, so he’ll put 110 percent into anything having to do with horror,” Perry says. “I wanted people to see him in a completely different light. He is very creepy and nasty in this movie, and his size alone adds to that. Alan is the kind of actor you look for as a writer and director.”
Perry juxtaposes Kelly’s menace with the peace and tranquility of suburbia, as captured by cameraman and editor Dominick Sivilli: The repulsive predator lurks about as birds chirp and little children playing on a baseball field. This sense of innocence—including the waving American flag on Sutcliffe’s house—creates a haunting symmetry with the killer’s acts that becomes very disturbing. On that subject, SOMETHING JUST also benefits from a jarring and disconcerting score by VINDICATION’s Tom Burns. The composer does not miss a beat in designing the soundtrack to accompany Sutcliffe, and knows exactly when to hold back when Michael and Death have their moments on camera. Perry couldn’t be more pleased with Burns’ work, saying, “When the film was ready for sound, I gave it to Tom and said three words: ‘Make it scary!’ I just let him go to town with it. Tom asked me to trust him, and I just repeated, ‘Make it scary,’ and he did.” Burns’ contributions, coupled with the sound work by Steven Munoz, truly give SOMETHING JUST its dark life.
Beyond Kelly, mention must be made of the two other principal actors. Zaso, as Death, gives his meaty lines a menacing delivery; Murdock as Michael, on the other hand, shines in his display of immense emotion, conveying a quiet sense of pent-up frustration and humiliation. With his remarkable range, Murdock pulls it off easily, and we feel both his intensity and despair.
It is said that a smart director hires and surrounds himself with the right people and the best talent, and Perry (who also runs his own film website, The Colonel’s Crypt) has done just that. His co-producer was Fango scribe and CONTACT director Jeremiah Kipp, who has worked on numerous movies and whose production knowhow puts him in high demand (currently, he and Sivilli are in postproduction on their feature THE SADIST, staring Tom Savini). “What I like most about working with Jeremiah is that he makes sure that everything is on time, on budget and runs smoothly. That makes him the perfect filmmaker in general.”
SOMETHING JUST is Perry’s fourth film after INSATIABLE, A SWEET KIND OF HOLLOW and UNADULTERATED, and Perry says of his development as a filmmaker, “I always feel that my strongest quality in making films is in the scripts, because I spent years learning to write before showing them to anyone. We shot SOMETHING JUST in three days, on HD with a microbudget, and now that I have all this experience behind me, I am confident enough to say I did this.”
SOMETHING JUST can be seen below.
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