Halloween’s over, but there’s no bad time for good monster movies. With a running time of just over 8-minutes, and a creature that’s part Blob, part deconstructed mummy, "Return of the Flesh Eating Film Reels", director John Pickle’s fun, funny homage to a 1975 student film by Tremors
director S.S. Wilson, pushes all the right buttons.
HBO was a weirder place in the 1980’s when the spaces between films were filled with music videos, and “HBO Short Takes,” a showcase for micro-movies and curiosities. That’s where Pickle first encountered Wilson’s silly, but still somehow creepy short about a man who’s invited to a spooky old house where he’s attacked, chased, cornered, ensnared, and finally eaten by an enormous tangle of animated celluloid. The image stuck and 47 years later Pickle made a loving homage, mixing modern technology, timeless camera tricks, and plenty of cheap theatrics. Though it’s a talkie, the bouncy piano score, oversized acting, and handwritten signs infuse Wilson’s original, and Pickle’s master-copy with qualities of a comedy from the silent film era—think Mack Sennett meets MTV’s Liquid Television
Aside from the handcrafted, in-camera special effects, there’s not a lot of complexity here. What you see is what you get, and that’s not a complaint. "Return of the Flesh Eating Film Reels" is a storyboard lesson in economy, visually-driven narrative, and the unbridled joys of stop-motion and wrapping somebody up in a whole wad of video tape.
"Return of the Flesh Eating Film Reels" screens at Studio on the Square on Saturday, November 4 at 11:15 PM. The short film proceeds the 40th anniversary screening of Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic Suspiria,
which has been remastered in 4K digital video. For tickets and more information, visit the Indie Memphis website.