When coming across an artist like Justin Tomchuck, the task of selecting a single short becomes fairly difficult. Each video is very different from the next, while staying true to his unconventional style. Still, “Children Purple” seems to be just a tad more imaginative and wayward than the rest of his work. Enjoy.
DIRECTED BY: David Lynch
FEATURING: Harry Dean Stanton, Jack Nance, Catherine Coulson
PLOT: A series of six short films spanning director David Lynch’s career from the
1960s through the 1990s. We track Lynch from his early years as a highly experimental student to a macabre master of the darkly surreal with these films that show a man who needed to grow and challenge himself as a creative force.
WHY IT’S ON THE BORDERLINE: As collections of short films go, this is one of the most mercurial and hard-to-peg I’ve ever seen. There’s really no denying the odd nature of Lynch’s efforts. The first film alone, a minute-long animated loop of six hideous plaster sculptures throwing up, stands as a timeless testament to Lynch’s nightmarish creative vision. And the gut-wrenching scope of his silent feature, entitled “The Grandmother”, is a window into the mind of a radically different artist than the one Lynch has become. But, honestly, the quality and sheer atmosphere present in most of Lynch’s features feels absent here, and there’s not enough memorable material to consider this a momentous release.
COMMENTS: Much like a renowned painter or an extremely colorful luchador, a filmmaker’s work becomes more lionized as his fame grows, even his mistakes. David Lynch is a very famous filmmaker, so it’s only appropriate that this assortment of short subjects should come out to cement his status as an iconic artist and a true visionary in the world of the nightmarish and the utterly bizarre. But those die-hard fans of the man who seek a diamond in the rough here, a Pollack behind the frame of this small cache of movies, will likely find themselves disappointed, or at the very least conflicted.
If short films represent the transformation of a filmmaker as as he/she goes from one project to another, this gathering of shorts spanning Lynch’s career is a shadowy, rocky road. Half of these films don’t desire to be much more than insubstantial experiments, hokey dumping grounds for ideas that are really just there to try something out. They merely exist in a tangible form for the consumer because of the marketable name of Lynch, not because they actually have some sort of deliciously demented merit and are worth seeing for any length of time. And while the three that are good are indeed very good, it’s easy to put this one on the borderline with the vibes I get from the other three.
Let’s break it down by feature, shall we?
“Six Figures getting Sick (Six Times)” – A minute long film loop featuring a set of six Continue reading BORDERLINE WEIRD: THE SHORT FILMS OF DAVID LYNCH (2002)
Uncomfortably silent, slightly depressive, and undeniably strange, Nikola Gocic’s “Three… or Apple?” is a mysterious, dreamlike experience weird enthusiasts are sure to enjoy.
Today’s Saturday Short was suggested by a reader, Nina. Our protagonist in this short, Gustafer Yellowgold, is an alien from the sun who only dreams in green. In the midst of all those kid shows that encourage children to dance around and shout out answers to questions comes one that actually has a calm, soothing nature to it. It’s fanciful personality makes it acceptably weird.
David Firth, creator of our first Saturday Short “Crooked Rot”, receives his second appearance on our site with the eighth episode of his bizarre comedy series, Salad Fingers. (If you haven’t seen the previous seven, don’t worry. There’s no background information you’ll need in order to understand this one.) Whether you laugh so hard you puke, or curl up in the fetal position during this clip, one thing is certain, David is a master of weird.
DIRECTED BY: Run Wrake
PLOT: A young girl finds a magical dancing idol when she cuts open a rabbit.
COMMENTS: Run Wrake’s Rabbit is a beautifully frightening, and award-winning, parable about greed that taps into the ancient, grim fairy tale tradition of placing children in harm’s way to illustrate a cautionary point. Rabbit, however, turns that motif on it’s head by making the children the villains. With it’s storybook graphics and text labels hovering over background objects as if it were an animated reading primer, Rabbit creates an eight-minute universe we’ve never seen before, one which is so unflinchingly original it can never be recreated. Like a talking fish out of Grimm’s fairy tales, the golden idol is one of those mysterious folklore creatures with it’s own weird rules and a slow-boiling intolerance for human folly that inevitably leads to tragedy for those unwise enough to abuse its patience. The irony of using innocent looking but thoroughly rapacious children in this sordid scenario isn’t done for shock value alone—although it is shocking, delightfully so—but rather speaks to our deepest suspicions about human nature: that we’re corrupt from birth, and must unlearn our instinctive childish badness.
Although it’s no Saw VI, Rabbit contains some quick and absurd violence and gore. If you find any depiction of darling little boys and girls with ponytails and ruddy cheeks slaughtering innocent woodland creatures for personal gain disturbing, no matter how tastefully done,then you’ll probably want to stay away from this one!
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
War and freezing temperatures lead a race of beings to the brink of genocide in a world ruled by cause and effect. Written, produced, and directed by Danny Zabbal.
Black, white, and red all over, Luke Gustafson’s bizarre animated short, “Headlessness” is an astounding treat for the curious eye. Music by Gustafson’s band, “On To Greatness”.
Although Mike McKown and Jim Towns did not make the list with their film, Prometheus Triumphant: A Fugue in the Key of Flesh, their short, The Sleep of Reason, certainly deserves our recognition. This eerie tale of a weird romance between a doctor and a mental patient is just what we’re looking for.
Josh Gottsegen delivers a mysterious work of art in the underappreciated short, “Royal Game.” This short features a chess match between two mystical beings. Perhaps the strangest part of this short is its musical arrangement by Marc Lipari.