The Friday Horror Short 5, The Frolic

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Summary: The Frolic is a 22-minute adaptation of one of Thomas Ligotti's most viscerally impacting stories.

BLOT: (10 Jan 2014 - 12:52:03 PM)

The Friday Horror Short 5, The Frolic

This is going to be different, in that it's a non-free short that I'm discussing, but the teaser below is one of the scenes that demonstrates the whole thing and, in itself, can count as a 2+ minute short film.

In The Frolic, a fairly literal adaptation of Thomas Ligotti's opening story from Songs of a Dead Dreamer, prison psychologist Dr. Munck is telling his wife about interviewing John Doe, a patient in prison for killing children. In Doe's words, he takes them on a "frolic" after freeing them from the husk they wear. As the interview goes on, Doe's voice and personality and facial expression drift back and forth [strong in the story, less so in the short]. While the story depicted Doe as a more directly sinister force—a sort of natural hat, considering—the short film plays Doe off as a little bit more of a man-child, still sinister but also a bit more earnest in his want to play, like a cosmic entity stuck at the age of ten.

The literal adaptation is nice, but I hold a ding against it for a few lines—e.g., "They dissolve...or something..."—that fill in gaps in a way that doesn't really enhance the plot but replace some of the more Ligotti-esque flights of language [the "stairs to the stars" being an addition I liked, though]. Maybe making the slap more viscerally immediate but decreasing the lingering paranoia of the original. Excellent acting and directing, and a lot of skill has gone into taking just some crayon drawings and a few lingering shots of a prisoner's face and weaving 20 minutes of dread. Between this and the story, the word "frolic" is ruined for me.

If you are interested in seeing more, you can rent it for $1.99 at IndieReign, buy it for $5.99 (or more) from the same, or buy a collector's edition DVD from Meritage (note: their store front is via Amazon). The latter choice, there, is kind of steep for a short film, so would be more for Ligotti and/or horror short film fans who like the idea of getting the extras, the unique version of the story, and [for a slight upcharge] an autograph. For most, IndieReign seems to be the way to go, or, if you know me, stop by and we can watch it at my place.

As a special note: While I still have a fair handful of free short films that are fair to good to great, I also have a handful of short films that require some sort of payment or have been posted by people unconnected to the original filmmakers. I've been debating how to handle such things, but for now this post is something of a hybrid take.

Friday Horror Short


Written by Doug Bolden

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