Monday 6 January 2014

Last Seen on Dolores Street (2010)

Directrix: Devi Snively
Stars: Cynthia Dane, Roxie Schaller, Circus-Szalewski, Eileen Grubba, Ken Dusek Jr and Max Roush
This film was an official selection at the 7th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2011. Here's an index to my reviews of 2011 films.
I enjoyed Devi Snively's 2011 horror comedy Trippin' and was delighted to see a quote from my review on the cover of the 2-disc DVD set alongside another from the indefatigable Jim McLennan, the scholar and gentleman behind Trash City. I was even more impressed by Snively herself, who came out with her cast for the Trippin' screening at Fear Fest 3. Beyond being a clearly capable film director, surely a good thing given that she now teaches the subject, she's a thoroughly grounded one, as professional a young lady as I've met. I'm not sure why it took me this long to catch up with one of her short films, as it's just as solid, albeit not very long. I mean, sure, it's a short film, but it's a really short short film, running only just over three and a half minutes, including credits; yet it never feels rushed. It's a twist movie, as so many short shorts are, and there's not much time to do anything except set up the story and then hit us with the twist. Luckily for us, Snively and her crew do both really well.

Not a shot is wasted, with some gorgeous composition of frame, much of it reminiscent of old films noir, even though it's shot in colour. The old time feel is enhanced by the fact that there's only a single line of dialogue throughout the entire picture. 'Do you have anybody?' the vet asks our unnamed leading lady, after he puts her dog to sleep. She's credited as Cyn and we can see from her tag that the dog's name is Eileen, as is the lady whose face adorns the missing poster outside the vet's surgery. The lowlife who follows Cyn as she walks off into the night is Kenny and... well, you'll need to watch the film to figure out where everything goes. I mention all the names because they're also the names of the actors who flesh out the roles. Cyn is played by Cynthia Dane and Kenny by Ken Dusek Jr. Even the vet, Dr Szalewski, is played by Circus-Szalewski. The reason is that it's apparently a very personal film for Snively, who spent a year in Los Angeles and apparently didn't have a particularly great time of it.
In interviews she has said that she 'got mired amidst the bottom feeders and carelessly lost my soul', a viable synopsis for a film noir if ever I've heard one. She adds that 'luckily it grew back,' but for a while, long enough to shoot this film at least, she clearly felt like she was one of the myriad victims of forties cinema. Fortunately she dreamed of being the femme fatale, so this story grew out of her experiences and into a cute and hopefully cathartic little short. It was received well, playing a whole string of horror festivals, including the International Horror & Sci-Fi Festival here in Phoenix in 2011. Visiting it now tells me that I've waited far too long to catch up with Snively's short work and suggests that I should get on with it and track them down. At least that shouldn't be much of a chore, given that this film, along with six others, which include such gloriously titled shorts as Confederate Zombie Massacre and I Spit on Eli Roth, are on disc two of that DVD set. You know, the one with an Apocalypse Later quote on the front.

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