Emily Post never explained how to act when attending a dinner party with a
Lovecraftian elder god. It turns out you can just call him Charlie, but please
don’t stare at his Cephalopod head. Of course, it is hard not to, as one
somewhat uncouth couple learns when they crash the wrong soiree in Nick Spooner’s
short film, The Call of Charlie (trailer here), which screens tonight
as part of the Homegrown Horror shorts block at the 2017 BostonUnderground Film Festival.
and Mark are preparing for an intimate dinner party. The only guests they have
invited are their old friend Charlie and Maureen, an office-mate they hope to
fix him up with. They have thoroughly prepped her for Charlie, so she
understands what to expect. However, when Diane’s college friend Virginia and
her husband Jay spontaneously decide to pop over with a bottle of wine, they
have no idea what they are getting into.
Jay is a little put off by Charlie’s tentacle-face. As his revulsion grows, he
starts breaching etiquette in numerous ways. Still, it is hard to blame him for
getting rattled, since Charlie radiates pure, ancient, primordial evil.
Call of Charlie is easily one of
the funniest shorts currently making the festival rounds. You could argue it is
essentially a prolonged comedy sketch, but the sad truth is shows like SNL simply are no longer sufficiently
literate to produce a Lovecraft-themed routine, nor do they have the guts to
handle its macabre edge.
Smith and Harry Sinclair are terrific as Diane and Mark. They seem very with-it
and witty, but they are also completely nuts. Frankly, Roberta Valderrama is
just amazingly obnoxious as Virginia, while the way Evan Arnold’s Jay loses his
cool is quite a spectacle to behold.
The Charlie make-up effects are impressive as well,
especially considering short films usually have short budgets. Lovecraft fans
will absolutely bow down in reverence, but anyone who digs horror and cult cinema
will be charmed by The Call of Charlie
when it screens tonight (3/24), as part of Homegrown
Horror, at BUFF ’17.
Labels: BUFF '17, Lovecraftian Cinema, Short Films