***Tunnel Vision is a column that takes a look at underground and indie films and film making.***
Tonight I wanted to sit back and watch a nice horror flick. I was surfing through Netflix and started watching a creature flick called storage 24. I was a good hour into it when I decided that I was watching the same old regurgitated bullshit and that the film was not even worth my time. Thus I hit youtube in search for something ripe and original from the underground.
This is what I found: The Music of Erich Zann
I am a huge Lovecraft fan. I am also a big “fan” of Fan Fiction when it is done right. There is nothing cooler then watching some one take an Idea and give it further justice.
The Music of Erich Zann is originally a H.P. Lovecraft short story. It happens to be one of his only stories I have not gotten around to reading. So I cannot really tell you for certain if they were loyal to the story, but I can tell you that they were loyal to Lovecraftian atmosphere. This short is pretty damn creepy.
Now when I say “they” I might as well say HE because there was a writer/director involved by the name of Jared Skolnick. So I guess he was in charge of continuity right? A group of people worked on this film, which I can only assume was a college project because the ending credits end with the Fairfield University insignia.
This is the synopsis from the youtube channel.
A young student of metaphysics is forced to take the only lodging he can afford, a crumbling and decrepit building in a strange part of the city. Every night, he hears strange and unusual music coming from the room above him, music he cannot describe and cannot ignore.
He finds that the music above is being played by Erich Zann; a mute and eccentric German man who plays at night in a local orchestra. Fascinated by the man’s genius, the student tries to befriend Zann and understand why such a great talent chooses to live in such squalor. Eventually, Howard learns of the secret behind Zann’s music, one too terrifying to imagine.
When I started watching this movie I assumed I was watching a story from Lovecraft’s own time period, the 1920s or the 1930s. For the most part, it seemed that way. I was thrown off balance a little ways in when I realized that the story actually took place during modern times. It was the subtle clues such as the tennis shoes and bic lighters. And later on the transit. I was kind of disappointed in this fact, mainly because they already successfully transported my brain there (In the 20s or 30s). But hey, this wasn’t enough to even come close to ruining it for me.
They did a great job with lighting, and camera angles for the most part. The “steady” cam style shots were not all that steady. But part of it may have been the image stabilizer in the camera itself. The motion shots looked like it was shot using a camera with a cmos sensor, which is notorious for not handling movement smoothly.
The sound design could have used a little bit of work. The music was great, but some times it didn’t blend well. BUT! I know how hard it is to create a movie with excellent sound design. It is no easy task. So it didn’t really take away a whole lot for me.
It may sound like I am complaining, but I am not. I actually enjoy these little “faults” because it gives the movie character. As far as I am concerned this movie is Youtube gold. It is exactly what I am looking for in underground films; something I can sit through and enjoy.
This movie’s running time was 38 mins. This is impressive. That is a lengthy amount of footage for such a small project, so I know these guys must have put alot of time into it. And it’s even more impressive that it was good enough to keep me watching for the whole 38 minutes.
The acting was pretty good too. The lead character didn’t always convince me, but he definately came off as a Lovecraft lead. The old man who played Erick Zann did an outstanding job at being creepy. And the old landlord was probably my favorite actor out of the bunch.
Over all, I really enjoyed this movie. It is underground gold, with a whopping 2 thousand youtube views.
It was dark, creeping, enjoyable, and worth my while. And, it carried the good ol macabre vibes from early Lovecraft classics. And even the cosmic hopelessness of his later classics.