Rupert Sanders's short film proves that even the greatest source material can become drivel in the wrong hands. Black Hole is not a high-tension psychological thriller. It's a coming-of-age story with elements of body horror; it's Linklater tinged with Cronenberg. The mutations, while grotesque, are secondary to the character drama, and over the course of the story, they are viewed less as horrific spectacles and more as pitiable afflictions. Emphasizing the teens' mutations on screen with a creepy score and dark lighting has the opposite effect of Burns's illustrations. There's a reason Burns chose to display their mutations candidly, using brightly-lit yearbook photos throughout the book. The thing that makes the mutations so scary in the book is the fact that the kids quickly accept them as an inevitability rather than taking proper precautions. That's why making the source of the mutations an STD is such an effective metaphor. This film needs a director who understand that, at the very least.
Black Hole (2010)
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Good enough to seem like part of a full-length film (contains spoilers)
8 March 2013Warning: Spoilers
This short film is available for view on Rupert Sanders' website. The film covers the arrival of Keith, who comes out of a rainstorm to drop by a house where several mutated teenagers are getting stoned, watching The Wolf Man on TV and generating mindless menace. He finds his girlfriend, Chris, in the kitchen- she's nude, making a sandwich, and swishing her tail. There are some great psychosexual images straight out of the graphic novel (e.g. slit frog's belly; bodily defects). The film concludes with some nightmarishly-dreamy imagery also faithful to the creepy comic by Charles Burnes. Temp score is music from one of John Carpenter's 80's films. This tantalizing short film has some decent acting, nicely murky camera-work, and good makeup effects-it's an impressive little appetizer for now, as it's anyone's guess how long it'll be until the graphic novel BLACK HOLE by Charles Burns will be available.