“A true horror anthology containing perverse stories detailing serial killers stalking the local townspeople. A couple retreat home to have sex after meeting at a nightclub. Following their steamy lovemaking, they start to talk about the psychopathic local serial killers they have heard about. The first is about a killer who kidnaps a woman to torture her in as many sick and perverse ways possible. The second story follows a madman who has escaped a mental asylum. In the third installment a crazed filmmaker goes out of his way to create the sickest and most perverse film possible.”
I work in a wine bar. It’s how I pay the bills but it’s not a brainless job. There’s a lot to know about wine, or perhaps a better phrasing might be, there’s a lot one can learn about wine. Though I’ve learned quite a bit I’m still no expert, but I’ve gained enough insight to understand that just because someone drinks a lot of wine doesn’t necessarily mean they actually know anything about wine. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop many people from thinking they do. The same can be said for film making, and this is where I step up on my soapbox for the first and last time. Just because you watch a lot of movies, doesn’t necessarily mean you know anything about how they’re made. Watching horror movies and having a camera and being able to make fake blood doesn’t mean you should start filming anymore than knowing how to juggle and having three chainsaws means you should go join the circus.
Now don’t get me wrong, watching movies is merely a first step, you shouldn’t make movies if you don’t watch everything you can get your grubby little hands on, but this just covers the love and desire to make them. Making movies, especially independent films, requires a wide knowledge base to draw from. You have to learn about story, composition, lighting, framing, sound, editing and that’s just in general. If you want to make an independent horror movie then you better start brushing up on special effects, make-up, creating tension, and scares. If you’re thinking to yourself that I’m preaching to the choir then you’re either already making movies (and not the independent kind) or you’re making bad independent horror. Why? You should never stop learning. Do you really think that John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, George Romero or any great horror film maker stopped and said “Okay, I’ve learned everything so I can stop now”? Even Uwe Boll must still be learning something if he keeps getting paid to make his schlock. He’s certainly not learning how to make movies.
Despite nearly thirty shorts and videos and two certifications in media studies, director Jason Impey’s first short, “Obsession,” has the same poor quality as this later effort. It’s apparent that regardless of education and experience Impey isn’t applying what is an obvious love for horror movies of all types. His work remains messy and stilted and “Killer Stories” is no exception, but with more effort there’s nowhere to go but up.
Calling it a student film would be giving “Killer Stories” too much credit. ‘Student’ implies access to education and equipment resources that have been patently ignored. No, at best this movie feels more like a high school project, at worst a ‘my dad said we could borrow the camera’ style. Made up of three separate stories about killers and loosely held together by two people having sex after a night out at the club. The content of each story, all of them are supposed to be real cases of murders in or near whatever British city, town or hamlet they happen to be in (there’s a lot of wooded areas and fields where they are), has no relation to each other or the couple telling the stories. Each story tends to mimic situations seen from other horror movies but doesn’t innovate or improve upon any aspect of those ideas.
Thanks for sticking with me through the ranting but it’s important to understand that hard work often shines through when there’s little else in the way of resources. There may not be enough expertise, there’s never enough money, the pool of acting talent may need some chlorine and time may even be your enemy but many of the largest faults in “Killer Stories” could have been avoided. The best movies are nothing short of a collection of intense effort from all aspects of the process, from script to lighting to acting.
Killer Stories (Crimes of Torture and Horror) (2010)