Sunday, October 1, 2017

Snake with a Human Tail

"I want you to suffer, then I want you to die!"

Recently, I had the pleasure of receiving message from director Spencer Gray with request to review his new short film, Snake with a Human Tail and I accepted. Due to my crazy work schedule, it took some time. I was able to view it today and can honestly say, it was worth the wait. Snake with a Human Tail has got to be the creepiest short film I have seen this year. 

The mind of this writer/director is warped but his story touches on a certain taboo that touches the lives of many who were molested by men (and women) of the cloth. I thought the story he created was good and to the point. The length of the film is only thirty minutes, but it is a well rounded thirty minutes that doesn't drag but moves along at nice saunter. 

Father Fulci (Marv Blauvelt) has a demon that craves the forbidden fruit of children. During a session with Dr. Bloom (Billy Blair), the good doctor learns that Father Fulci isn't confined to alter boys, but that he also has a desire for little girls too. In one particular moment in which a camera is recording the session, Father Fulci speaks directly into the camera to "Sally". He is actually demonstrating to Dr. Bloom how he approaches little girls. This gave me goose bumps. The tone of his speech is over the top Mr. Rogers creepy. I felt myself cringe at the tenacity of this character to fulfill the ache to obliterate the innocence of children. 

Father Fulci talks of past conquests and one child has left a lasting impression on the priest. "Henry O'Brien" is talked about with reverence and adoration that quickly changes when the priest spoke of cutting him and inflicting pain on Henry. A gleeful expression crosses the priest's face and turned my stomach at the thought of him inflicting pain upon a young boy (or any child). The session ends with the unholy Father shaking hands and offering up a "God Bless" to his doctor. 

"A woman always has her revenge ready." 

Little Henry is all grown up and is now a transgender whore hell bent on revenge. Henry now called "Karma Blake" has been planning for a very long time to get back at the sadistic priest who stole his innocence and rendered him a broken person who can no longer feel pain. Karma is ready to inflict her own sense of justice on the good Father. 

Karma/Henry (Sheri Davis) has been "dating" Father Fulci and the Father believes he is falling love with her. She gives pleasure while he continues to inflict pain on her and humiliate as he degrades himself and her. She takes it until she can't anymore and then she turns the tables on the unholy bastard that ends in a bang.

"Snake with a Human Tail is creepy and disturbing. It will make your skin crawl."
Char/Charred Remains

This short film is remarkably good for a low budget production. What it has going for it is a good revenge story involving a child molesting priest, good director, moderately good casting and one hell of a cinematographer (Anthony Gutierrez).

I was thrilled to death to learn that the cinematographer involved with this short film was Anthony Gutierrez (Circus of the Dead, Devil's Deal, Klagger). Anthony has an excellent eye and his work is really beautiful. 

You know, when the average indie horror fan sees a low budget film, it has a certain "look" to it? It just screams low budget. It could be in the lighting, appearance, locations whatever, but it just has that "look". In Snake with a Human Tail, you don't have that "look" and I believe that is due largely in part of Anthony's camera work. The close up shots was not blurred, the lighting is not too harsh/bright and on the night scenes the light is not overly
dark. Everything about the look is damned near perfect. One wouldn't know this was a low budget film based on the "look" of it. And that may not be important to the average viewer, but for me, it is and I thought it was worth noting. The scenes at the Fort Worth Texas Water Gardens were beautiful, crisp and it looked so tranquil.  Congratulations Anthony Gutierrez job well done!

Another perk to this short film was the special effects used by Gerald Crum, Jason Mcroberts, Spencer Gray, and Jeremy Mitchell. No CGI! For fans who like the practical hands on effect, you would love the death scene of Dr. Bloom. I did. His killer slashed him with a shaving razor across the face and then bashed his head against the kitchen counter as he laid face down on the kitchen floor in his death throes, blood can be seen puddling from his slashed throat and from his head wound. It was wicked. 

Another cool scene involved the transformation from crazed priest to a horned devil as Father Fulci stood before a mirror. He was washing his hands and leans down and comes up with horns protruding out of his head and blood on his face. It was like, hey look at me, I have a devil inside and it's coming out. 

There is a gunshot/shower scene where a character pulls the trigger under the chin, great blood splatter from behind. All in all the kill shots were great and bloody!

You can't have a good film without a soundtrack. And this one was no exception. I loved the songs used in this film. It would be a shame not to mention them in the review. Each song fit this dark, seedy film's vibe very well. 

Written/performed by Junk, Rico, 
Benjamin Bachman, Billy Blair

Written by Wyzae 
Performed by ZombG

"Zombie Hoodoo", "Trio for Piano, Cello and Clarinet", "Steel Rods", "Hush", "Industrial Music Box", "Phantasm", "Day of Chaos", "Tenebrous Brothers Carnival - Act 3" performed by Kevin MacLeod

Sheri Davis as Karma/Henry O'Brien 

I think, I was most impressed with Sheri Davis who played the transgender prostitute Karma/Henry O'Brien. I have seen other reviews that focus on the priest and those are well and good, but for me the character that spoke to me was Karma. 

Karma is the result of a childhood lost to a child molester. Her/His molester was someone all children should not be afraid of and are encouraged at a young age to trust and love their priests. Henry O'Brien was such a child who trusted the wrong priest and he was robbed of his innocence and had his soul sucked out by a predator of the cloth. 

Karma confided into her girlfriend Kennedy (Melina Lyons) about the man she was seeing and how the little altar boy he molested was dead because of him and "Karma Blake rose from his ashes". That one line screams revenge and in her sweet time she got it. The extent of what Henry transformed into set the stage for revenge. It may have taken him many years, but his perseverance paid off with one look from Fulci. In the climactic moment that Karma informs Fulci of her true identity was classic Karma. 

Sheri was amazing as Karma/Henry. I liked her look, her accent and the one awesome feature was her eyes. The looks in this actress's eyes during her scenes with Fulci were spot on. She had a look of hatred, revenge, pain, disgust all rolled into one look and it struck a chord in me. Pure evil has a look, but nothing like the look Sheri Davis put into her character Karma's eyes. Bravo! Without a shadow of doubt Sheri's character was my favorite of the short.

Billy Blair was Dr. Bloom and he was cool and reserved. In his sessions with Father Fulci, he listened as the priest spoke of his victims and you could see a hint of disgust and his shock to learn that Father Fulci was not a one sex predator that he liked little girls too. Later in his darkened kitchen he comes a grouping of lit candles and a killer priest. Blair's death scene was memorable down to the last gasp. 

Sheril Rodgers played a Marilyn Monroe lookalike named "Marilyn". My favorite scene with her is at the end. She got the last word, "Karma" with a smile. Awesome!

Melina Lyons played prostitute "Kennedy" which is a tongue in cheek giggle what with having a "Marilyn Monroe" lookalike in the same film. Spencer Gray has a sense of humor to go along with his warped horror drenched mind. Nice touch Spencer.

Melina's character was the girlfriend to Karma and had definite hate for Father Fulci. The girls had a nice chat at diner/restaurant where Kennedy thought Karma should let their friends take the priest out. Melina was spunky and had a soft spot for Karma. I loved her shoes!

Marv Blauvelt as "Father Fulci" was just creepy, smug and depraved. There were two scenes that sold me on his creep factor and those were the session with Dr. Bloom with him speaking directly into the camera as if he was approaching a little girl. The second one was his talking to a decapitated head that he talked to with reverence as a worm protruded from it. 

The short film has already started its journey on the film festival/convention circuit. It premiered at Horrorhound Indianapolis September, 2014 and will be premiering at the San Diego Fantastic Horror Film Festival in November. I enjoyed this film and would recommend anyone to see it. 

Thank you, Spencer for sending me your short film. I enjoyed getting creeped out by your film. 4 Out of 5.

To stay up to date with Snake with a Human Tail, go to its Facebook page.

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