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Curious Stories, Crooked Symbols

Reviewed by: Nelson
Movie Details:
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Founding editor and publisher of Rue Morgue Magazine, Rod Gudino, has now extended his reach into film and his first venture is a successful one. His shorts have been selected by over 50 international film festivals and won numerous awards, not to mention a pat on the back by Guillermo Del Toro himself. Shorts included on the Curious Stories, Crooked Symbols DVD are: The Eyes of Edward James, The Demonology of Desire, and the Genie-nominated The Facts In he Case of Mister Hollow. Rue Morgue Magazine is releasing the DVD, which you can purchase here.

Special features include:

Director's commentary
Girls, Guns and Goblins: Making The Demonology of Desire featurette
The House of Edward James video tour
Rue Morgue House f Horror video tour
Original trailers
Original screenplays
Production/publicity stills
Liner notes by the director and by Peter Gutierrez of Firefox News

The Eyes of Edward James

Shahla Kareen-Palmer
Tal Zimerman
Robert C. Fidler
Richard Underhill

Directed by Rodrigo Gudino

Rating: 7 out of 10

Suspense. Director Rodrigo Gudino truly understands the meaning of that word. While watching The Eyes of Edward James I found myself clenched, uneasy and gripping my chair dying to find out what is going to happen next.

Filmed in a first person perspective, you have the eyes of Edward James and you are seeing what he saw the night where he discovered his wife's body in the attic. Told as a narrative between doctor and patient, Edward is describing scene-by-scene and footstep by footstep what happened that fateful night. When we get too close to the truth, we pause as the patient refuses to acknowledge what happened and we're all left in the dark.

What really works for this short is the narrative. Both actors are calm, concise and almost artificially vocal, yet you sympathize with Edward as he tries to unlock what's in his minds eye. If the director didn't choose to go with that style, I would say that the film would suffer greatly as each stage of the session relies heavily on the tone of the patient.

Gudino's first effort into film is truly impressive and you can certainly see where his keen eye on the genre lends to crafting excellent stories.

The Demonology of Desire

Bianca Rusu
Tudor Plopeanu
Jewelia Fisico

Directed by Rodrigo Gudino

Rating: 7 out of 10

A very different take for Rodrigo's second venture but an equally commendable effort. Taking a different direction than the first, Demonology of Desire is shot as a straightforward film about a girl, Ramona, who wants nothing more than to have a man all to herself. The scene opens with her praying to God to deliver her someone that will do anything for her unquestionably and the next day, he delivers. Eric, a soon to be 13-year-old from her school follows her as she walks home and professes his love to her. Stand-offish at first, Ramona agrees to meet with him at a stadium the next day. What happens to Eric is not exactly pleasant.

She convinces Eric to go with her to her friend's Sarah's house where they drink, dance and show him the house pet. It just so happens that they keep this pet in a giant cage and occasionally dismember its regenerative limbs�.it also resembles a giant vagina. The creature itself is fantastic. No CGI, all puppet (the way it should be) and reminded me heavily of the kind of deformity we would get in a Cronenberg film. A compliment for sure.

As we get to know more of Ramona we clearly see that she is bat-shit crazy. She makes poor little na�ve Eric do some rather questionable things. At first you don't feel sorry for him, maybe more angry at why he is so gullible, but he does castrate his anxiety towards Ramona through creature.

The last scene leaves something to be desired. I wasn't really sure as to what Ramona was really trying to show us or what the director really wanted us to think, but that is far from a complaint. At less than 30 minutes, The Demonology of Desire is a perfect little film that shows us the literal growing pains of adolescence.

The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow

Julian Richings
Alan Alderton
Lea Lawrynowicz

Directed by Rodrigo Gudino and Vincent Marcone

Rating: 9 out of 10

The third film is a collaborative effort by Rodrigo Gudino and Vincent Marcone with Marcone's music project, Johnny Hollow, composing the beautiful and haunting score. This time, an incredibly unique method was used in filming. The five-minute short is essentially a photograph where the camera will zoom in and out and around to show you details that would otherwise be missed.

It's difficult to write a review of what is, as I said, a photograph. What I can say is that it is not boring. What seems to be taking place in the photograph is a soon to be sacrifice or some sort of cleansing by a small group of people all sharing a tattoo which appears to be the caduceus. The short appears 3-D at times, and there is even subtle movement; a device assumedly used to keep the audience engaged.

Rodrigo continues to churn out fantastic narrative pieces utilizing unique styles each and every time. I can honestly say that I've never seen anything like The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow ever before and that certainly speaks volumes.

Each short on Curious Stories, Crooked Symbols are very different and show that Rodrigo is a versatile director who is not afraid to experiment. He goes from one short that is all narrative to another with no verbal narrative but both are well executed and above all entertaining. He's about to embark on a feature film (read about it here) and I for one cant wait to see it.

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