Subhuman
SUBHUMAN
aka, SHELF LIFE
or, DARK BREED. 2004
Director: Mark Tuit

THE APPOINTMENT. 2005
Director: Steve Ward

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Subhuman Subhuman; aka, Shelf Life; or Dark Breed (2004) has many of the faults of cheap horror cinema, but it also has a fascinating script, & that counts for a great deal in a B-movie.

There is an attempt to be "street smart philosophical" which makes some films hoky & laughable, but this script is brought to life most credibly by the central performance by William MacDonald.

The FX are crappy but Martin's at first seemingly psychotic quest to kill the vampiric aliens among us is creepy because MacDonald as Martin convinces us it's creepy. As a street-junky wacko he makes a better superhero than any I've seen.

Side-performances, including Earl Patsko as the alchy philosopher, were often wonderful actorly performances, though the "Ben & Julie" characters (Bryce McLaughlin & Courtnery Kramer) dragged into Martin's world performed badly compared to the supporting cast.

Really an interesting little film with as much indie hutzpah as b-horror charm. It'll try the patience of some viewers, but I would definitely pay attention to whatever director/writer Mark Tuit does next.



The Appointment The Appointment (2005) is a nine minute horror film "partly a spoof of arty student films" according to the director, I encountered The Appointment (2005) on youtube.

Scottish director Steve Ward has many quite interesting videos of this type accessible on the web, including the horror comedy Evil Doll (2004).

I'm pretty sure that if Steve sticks to it long enough, he'll grow into a professional filmmaker, perhaps successful enough to even have his early short films collected someday as extras with a major feature film's dvd. And I'll be able to boast I was one of the first critics to look seriously at his works.

Filmed in black & white for a classic mood, with a suspense soundtrack well matched to that mood, the film opens on a plastic cup overturned on the sidewalk, nudged by the wind. A scruffy young man (Ryan Bradley) strolls by, on his way to his appointment.

The AppointmentHe strolls into a college office complex, through hallways, up an elevator, knocks on the door of a certain room then enters.

He finds a bloody corpse, & in the corpse's hand, an appointment slip exactly like the one our protagonist has. Hurriedly leaving, the elevator no longer works.

A tough looking dude (director Steve Ward) comes at him down the hall. This guy turns out to be unnaturally strong. Down the staircase our frightened hero runs, only to encounter a squeeling man in a pig-mask. Though pig-mask-man is armed only with an umbrella, our guy nevertheless flees back up the stairs in a panic.

Soon he's trying to escape multiple pig-mask men, before the initial strong-guy stalker captures him by the throat & lifts him into the air. Our doomed hero sticks a pencil in his attacker's right eye, which the guy removes as he bleeds the only color in the film, which was rather a clever bit.

Unhampered by the wound, he continues crushing the victim's windpipe. The film then cuts to a new victim with the same appointment slip. In all, not a bad home-made horror short!

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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