horror short

Wicked Wednesday: The Umbrella Factory (2013)

Horror stories have been around for thousands of years. The original Grimms’ Fairy Tales can be shocking and horrifying. The Bible has stories of ghosts and floating hands.

We love to be scared and always have been. Which is why The Umbrella Factory‘s simple storytelling is so effective.

One rainy night, three brothers are visited by a traveller. The cold, wet man has no money to offer the brothers in exchange for their hospitality. But he does have a talisman from India that grants wishes.

The eldest brother, the most unkind, asks for a large sum of money. The next day, the brothers go to the umbrella factory they work. Tragedy strikes when the youngest of them dies. The factory manager offers them money on behalf of the youngest brother.

That night, the second brother wishes that the youngest brother was still alive. The wish is granted, and the mutilated brother returns home. Horrified, the eldest brother wishes that none of the events had ever happened.

So again. One rainy night, three brothers are visited by a traveller.

This is a simple story, inspired by “The Monkey’s Paw” by WW Jacobs. It’s a story that many people are familiar with. And even if they’re not, it’s the ages-old moral: be careful what you wish for.

But the most effective part about The Umbrella Factory is the interesting Victorian-inspired animation. It’s use of black and white with splashes of red give this potentially child-ish story a gruesome twist. For less than four minutes, this short horror film gives you plenty of eye candy to look at.

Wicked Wednesday: The Home (2016)

Well. Talk about putting the short in short film.

The Home is a brief 7-minute short film (including opening and closing credits). I originally was pulled to watch this because of Alex Essoe, whose performance I really enjoyed in Starry Eyes. But this film really leaves a lot to be desired.

In a small convent in Ireland, a group of pregnant women are getting ready to go to sleep that night. Their Father tells them to blow out the candles for the night when one of the women begins to talk about the trowie, saying that they’re coming for the babies.

The other women ask the girl to be quiet. Then they hear a noise – the sound of the Father being attacked by something. One brave girl (Essoe) gets out of bed and sees a creature eating a body. She runs away and finds that all the other mothers are missing from their beds – and she’s next victim.

I like short films. But above is the entirety of those seven minutes. The best short films manage to make you feel something that the crew has managed to build in those few minutes. Sometimes short films are even the best way to tell horror stories. But man oh man… The Home doesn’t do this.

It doesn’t do much of anything other than just look really great. Weirdly, even the synopsis on IMDB has more drama to it: “Set in a small, isolated 19th century Irish home for unwed mothers, a young pregnant woman must fight for her survival as the home falls siege to a group of mysterious invaders.” Where’s THAT story? If there had even been a spared minute or two of telling a story about the fairies to build an unease it would have at least been something.

There’s none of that, kids. And maybe there should have been. Heck, I don’t even know if I can say I disliked it. There just wasn’t much there at all.

And just one annoyance from someone who likes Irish and Scottish folklore.

Now if you’re not familiar, the trow or trowie is a fairy in Scottish folklore. They’re mischievous and love music, but here they’re malevolent baby-killing creatures.  And if you’ll notice, I said Scottish (specifically the Orkney and Shetland Islands) NOT Ireland. Minor, I know, but why even call the monster Trowies if you’re not even going to bother getting anything right?

Watch The Home anyway. It wouldn’t be a waste of time.