Dream Seekers Productions’ latest short film, Little Reaper (2013), is a quirky comedy/horror about how even the Grim Reaper cannot control his teenage daughter. Instead of being interested in the family business, Little Reaper (Athena Baumeister) spends her time chatting with friends, text messaging about boys, and doing all normal things you’d expect of a teenage girl. Her father, the Grim Reaper (John Paul Ouvrier), has had enough of her passive ways and has decided to watch soap operas for a day while leaving his duties to the Little Reaper. Papa Reaper gives her careful instructions and a pager that warms her when someone has kicked the bucket.
Naturally, Little Reaper begins to slack at her work and instead of taking people’s souls to the after-life, she engages in pubescent chit-chat with her gal-pals. Deciding to focus her attentions on boys and finding new, cooler friends, it all seems innocent enough. However, there are dire consequences when there is no one to take people’s souls to the beyond. To say that the Grim Reaper is going to have a mess to clean up, is an understatement.
The short film was written and directed by Peter Dukes, who is building a nice repertoire under his belt. The Little Reaper is another installment that introduces new and engaging characters to his long list of unique horror characters. If you have a couple of hours, I recommend sitting down and watching each of Dream Seekers’ short films. You won’t be disappointed.
We keep our promises here at Picturenose – following on from our feature on Dream Seekers Productions, we felt that it was only right for our latest recruit, Tom Donley, to let you know his thoughts on a selection of the company’s short movies. So, enjoy, and links are provided to each film – don’t say we don’t look after you.
A Hallowe’en rebuttal to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas or How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Scarecrow & the Princess is a visual poem describing a scarecrow’s attempt at establishing a relationship with children as they trick-or-treat every year. The scarecrow appears to be nothing more than an inanimate hanging object in the yard as it realizes it only has one day a year to complete its task of finding a friend. As another Halloween is winding down, the scarecrow briefly befriends a small girl dressed as a princess (Cameron Protzman). During this short period of friendship, outside forces interrupt the two’s moment of companionship. The princess is upset and leaves the scarecrow. At which point, the film becomes a little more devious.
Written, directed, and produced by Peter Dukes of Dream Seekers Productions, this live action short story does a great job at showing the different emotions and shadows on the face of the scarecrow. It gave the scarecrow personality and furthered the dramatic ending. This was a great little short film that should be watched every year as you wait between doorbells from trick-or-treaters.
‘I smell your fear.’
So says the werewolf-afflicted son (Alexander Le Bas) as the tension is built and clues are presented that this scenario will not end well. The short film begins as a father (Bill Oberst, Jr.), his son (Le Bas), and friend Douglas (Peter Le Bas) all stand in a field debating their next action. The son stands with visible scarring on his body while Douglas fidgets with noticeable nervousness. The father has a cautious, yet passive attitude for his son’s current condition. Without giving away any details, I’ll state that the dialogue is to the point, allowing the tension to build, leading the father to make the ultimate decision involving his son.
This short film was again written, directed, and produced by Dukes, and he has provided an interesting twist in the horror film genre. Again, I won’t give away any details, but we’ve seen the same underlying theme in recent zombie movies and TV shows, pertaining to the possessed human condition. Overall, it was quite an enjoyable short film that any horror film lover would appreciate.
Interestingly, Oberst, Jr., in the role of the father, has probably enjoyed more screen-time than most actors in Hollywood. He was used in the Facebook App, Take This Lollipop, being featured as a demented serial killer that tracks and stalks his next victim based on your Facebook account. You sign up for the App and Facebook posts a video of a creepy Oberst, Jr. pursuing you as his next victim. In, The Beast, Oberst, Jr. proves he has a real screen presence and is capable of capturing his audience’s attention. Again, this is a great live-action short.
A Goblin’s Tale feels aesthetically like a throwback to the horror films you grew up with as a child. The premise begins with a young woman emerging herself into a fantasy book she has retained from her childhood. The young woman, Carol Anne (Tiffany Giardina), begins reading a story including a rat yielding a sword, talking frogs, and goblins. Not too far into the story, Carol Anne falls asleep. As Carol Anne is startled by a strange voice, she awakes to find a character, Vlix (Laura Kearsey) from her book now in the same room as herself. Their interaction begins innocently and playfully. However, as the story continues, their interaction becomes further mature and much more dark. Once the conversation begins to scare Carol Anne, she wants to stop the story and awake from this nightmare. However, Vlix has it’s own story to tell. The ending will not be ruined, as it is superbly concluded.
To put this story into further perspective, it’s like listening to a song that has a cheerful, simple melody, but when you listen to the lyrics you realize it’s much darker intent. In A Goblin’s Tale, other fairy tales are referenced by Vlix and used to further the undertones of the story.
Dukes again does a great job with pacing throughout the film, using shadows and sound to great effect. Most people will be distracted by the Goblin’s makeup. However, it is no more distracting than, say, David Bowie’s leotard-wrapped package in Labyrinth (1986). My favorite live-action short film by Dream Seekers Productions thus far.
I have said it before, and I will say it again – it really is a lot of fun putting Picturenose together with Col. One thing that makes it all the more enjoyable is the input that we are increasingly receiving from our readers, so many thanks again to all of you who read our posts, leave comments, and make suggestions as to the direction we should take – and one such recent suggestion came from Peter Dukes, the man with the plan behind Dream Seekers Productions, which he formed with Aubrey Dukes and which, in their website’s own words “aspires to return audiences to the roots of the film-going experience. To remind them how inspiring, thought-provoking and wonderful cinema can be”.
The team is the talent behind a number of very intriguing short movies (many of them in the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres), a selection of which is provided below, along with Peter’s own commentary, and which are just the kind of projects that we at Picturenose are only too happy to promote and support. Before I hand you over to Peter, take the time to check out his and Aubrey’s complete back-catalogue here and here, and why not check out their Facebook page as well, and their Twitter page, while you’re at it? And Picturenose will be providing reviews of a selection of the Duke’s films in the very near future, so keep it here. Over to you, Peter.
The Beast, starring Bill Oberst, Jr.
This is the story of a father’s struggle to cope with his son’s affliction (the curse of the werewolf). It was shot in one night for 700 bones, but we made it work. It’s my ode to the classic horror films of yesteryear, and it recently won Best Horror Film at this year’s All Things Hollywood Film Festival.
A Goblin’s Tale, starring Radio Disney star Tiffany Giardina
This is the story of a goblin who comes to life from the pages of a storybook, forever changing the life of a young girl (the owner of the book). This was my ode to the darker fantasy films of the 1980s.
The New World
A silent fantasy film about a fairy who yearns to leave her world behind in favour of ours, but what must she give up to do so? I’m not a big-deal festival guy, but I did submit this to the Burbank International Film Festival in 2011 and it won best Sci-Fi film.
The story of a scientist held captive by a crazed soldier intent on teaching him one can’t outrun the sins of one’s past. This was my version of the zombie film.
The story of an ailing man who’s visited by an old acquaintance, stirring up long-buried secrets from the past. Inspired, in part, by the old Twilight Zone series.
The Scarecrow & The Princess
This is a light-hearted horror film (OK for kids, for sure) about a scarecrow that has one night (Hallowe’en) to learn the meaning of friendship before being put back in his box for another year.
The Last Goodbye
The story of an elderly man who, with the help of a mysterious stranger, must learn to let go of all he holds dear in life, including his beloved wife.
Alone is the story of a young woman taking a pleasure drive through the mountains who comes upon an abandoned vehicle, the consequences of which will forever change her life.
The story of two hikers lost in the wild who must come to terms with their grim situation. It’s a film that asks, what would you do if asked to stare into the very face of death?