Saint Frankenstein (2015) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

Halloween night, a motel room, someone has requested a very specific call girl for very specific reason. As the client and provider get to know each other, a story of survival, betrayal, love, and life is woven.

In this Scooter McCrae short film, the story of Frankenstein’s Monster is taken and twisted and turned until it becomes something almost entirely new. His take on the archetype creates a character that is layered, intelligent, and touching. The story told by the lead here is one that is complex and fascinating. The way the film is shot and how it unfolds is one that pulls the viewer in and keeps them engaged. It makes great use of its one location and two cast members. McCrae clearly had a vision here and he created something powerful and touching all at once.

The casting here is interesting in that there are only two characters for the entirety of the film’s run time, but there are three actresses involved. In the part of Shelley, Melanie Gaydos gives the physical and facial parts of the performances, acting the emotions, showing the viewer what her character thinks and feels, while Archana Rajan voices her, giving her a voice that carries a lot in terms of emotions and story. Playing Carla, the call girl, is Tina Krause who gives a sensual and enticing performance. The first two create one powerful character as Shelley and the third is a good bouncing board for Shelley’s talk and story and a good representation of how the viewer may react while listening to Shelley. This cast makes the film and shows that careful casting can create something truly memorable out of an already great concept and story.

The story here takes place in one motel room, with two people spending time together, talking, telling stories, until everything takes a turn. This motel room is gloomy and dark, yet this works great here. The atmosphere created is exactly what storyteller Shelley needed to be able to keep in the dark and keep her audience in the dark for as long as possible. The cinematography by Alexander Martin is beautiful and calculated, showing just enough and leaving tons to the imagination which creates mystery on top of mystery. The framing and how the lighting is used help this and make the film one that is easy to watch and fascinating.

On top of this, the special effects Pete Gerner and Brian Spears look realistic and just right for the film. A particular scene needed a very particular set of practical effects prosthetics that is effective and done in a manner that takes talent and knowledge. These particular prosthetics are easy to spot and notice, even in partial darkness.

Last but not least is the score by the great Fabio Frizzi. The man who has score a slew of giallos and other horror films scores this short with beautiful, moody music that fits the story and elevates the atmosphere of the film.

Saint Frankenstein is a short film that is effective and emotional while bringing low-key horror to the screen and to the story told. The whole of the film is carefully crafted with the right talent brought in for each aspect of it. The acting is especially good with great effects, and a moody score that sets the tone. Saint Frankenstein is one of those shorts that makes the viewer wish for more while also being perfect as it is.