Legend of the 7 Bloody Torturers

A throwback to the look and style of the classic horror flicks of the ’30s and ’40s, director Conall Pendergast takes the tongue-in-cheek approach to a bloody, medieval torture dungeon. Shot in corpse green, the scenes carry a deliberate (but great) sound-stage artifice to them–imagine James Whale’s Frankenstein complete with finely groomed torture victims and we’re getting close.

The short tells the tale of a lowly, young bureaucrat who ventures deep into the “dungeon of the seven bloody torturers” only to find one missing–a grave threat to their label as the ‘seven bloody torturers.’ On his way to deliver replacement bolts for the dungeon’s pendulum, he encounters two rather chatty torture victims; one critical of the legendary torturers and the other in absolute admiration of them. Of course, when his bureaucratic duties clash with the short-staffed group of bloody torturers, things get a little messy.

Taglined as “a dark comedy about pain and fudging the numbers,” Legend works visually with the green tinted look and many canted, frantic close-ups of the characters. The soundtrack, provided by Toronto local Steve Kado, also works well with its prodding metallic stomp in tune with the torturer’s attacks. The only drawback has to be the dialogue. Rather than play it straight on the idea of a bureaucrat checking in with a legendary torturing squad, the comedy becomes forced, especially from the torture victims. When one of the victims instructs the bureaucrat to “put yourself out there” in getting the attention of the torturers, the film becomes conscious of its humour, unfortunately undermining the hilarity of the premise. This complaint aside, Conall’s film is a great stylistic short that hits all the right visual cues of the classic MGM monster flicks complete with an ironic tone. www.zopog.com (James King)

Dir. Conall Pendergast

 

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