SHORT, SHARP SHOCKS: It Begins …

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To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a lifelong lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
The Mikado. Gilbert and Sullivan, 1885

That there hasn’t been a horror film version of The Mikado is kind of bizarre.

Seriously, the comedic musical from the masters of the comedic musical deals with death and cruelty and beheadings, and yet aside from Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s run on The Question, an episode of Millennium and that little thing with the actual real Zodiac Killer … well, OK, fine. There has been a real-life horror show that connects to the that classic musical theatre production.

Even so, welcome to Horror4Me’s Short Film Showcase: Short, Sharp Shocks.

A little background here. When I arrived in Kansas City, MO, in 2005, there was a thriving independent film community waiting for me. But while there were some really talented filmmakers exploring the then-new possibilities of 720p SD cameras and this thing called Final Cut to tell interesting stories in dramas and comedies, there was a pretty sizable cohort who was focused on the horror film to … mixed results.

Flash forward to 2016, and the film community in Kansas City and all over the world is producing some really fantastic, original and professional films, both short and feature-length. As it happens, I have access to a pretty sizable stash of really great short horror films and their creators. And not just the work they have already done, but we’re also lucky enough to have a window into the what they’re working on now, and what they have planned for their future films.

And we’re going to share it with you.

We’re going to start with Shadow Falls, one of the earliest web series, and widely considered the first real online horror series. Writer and director Kendal Sinn is, yes, a regular member of our SciFi4Me podcasts, and yes, a friend of mine — which made it really easy for me to get him to say yes to let us bring Shadow Falls to Horror4Me — but I make no apologies for both wanting to share both a colleague and a friend’s work, especially since he was blazing new trails both in horror storytelling and in the medium we share so much of the genres we love.

So over the next several weeks, we’ll step back in time to 2002, when Mr. Sinn and company begin telling the story of a town where things are far from what they seem, and follow both the filmmakers and their story as the entry point for some really great storytelling from the Kansas City area and beyond. We’ll dive into what Kendal hoped to accomplish with Shadow Falls, what he learned as a filmmaker in making it, and what he’s doing now as a storyteller. Then we’ll introduce you to some exciting new talents who are doing their damnedest to scare the hell out of you, and explore their stories as filmmakers as we share their best work with you.

So watch this space! This place where we’ll be delivering some Short, Sharp Shocks … each week, and every week.

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Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror film "American Maniacs", and serves on the board of directors for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City and the Kansas City Film Commission.

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