Okay, Cab Calloway was never in a horror film. But he did sing “Hi D Hi D Ho” in “Minnie the Moocher,” which is a favorite song that I grew up with.
We have arrived at “D”, the fourth letter of the alphabet and the grade I got in Marketing in college (a five credit D, no less). In keeping with my threat, there are two silent films in this times group. The USA is finally represented better as I am spotlighting a filmmaker who has made quite an impression on most horror film lovers, as well as many kids and parents for his recent success in the picture book market.
Well, enough foreplay. Let’s take a look this episode’s group of short films.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
One of the first film versions, from 1912, starring James Cruze. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the most filmed stories in the history of motion pictures. There are numerous silent versions out there. Sometimes, the story was filmed several times within a year, by different studios. The best silent version is, of course, the 1920 John Barrymore feature.
This 1996 short from the UK is based on an urban legend. It is directed by Steven Gomez, who is mostly known for his visual effects work with series like “Infested” and “The Monster in Me,” and is also one of the graphic artists for the movie “Salmon Fishing in Yemen,” which is an excellent film.
The Devil’s Castle
This is an early film (1896) by French Master Georges Melies. It is considered, by many, to be the first horror movie. A devil residing in a castle plays hell with a pair of intruders.
Daddy is unable to sleep. His daughter keeps waking him up. But… A 2012 short film, directed by Lee Boxleitner and written by both Lee and his
brother, Sam, who portrays Daddy.
D is also for Drew Daywalt
Drew Daywalt has an excellent talent for horror and for a certain amount of comedy, in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Starting in 1999, he has written, directed and produced more than twenty short films, many of which are available on YouTube. Here are a few of my favorites.
Who’s that sleeping in my bed?
The Closet (2011)
Happy Birthday Mom. Here’s a surprise.
The Many Doors of Albert Whale (2011)
I don’t want to say anything about this one. See it. Be surprised.
The Bad Cookie (2010)
Cookie love and more. Funny.
Aside from the horror, Mr. Daywalt has published a pair of brilliant picture books about what happens when crayons get tired of their treatment by a boy named Duncan and run away. In “The Day the Crayons Quit,” Duncan, who you never see, receives a letter of goodbye from each color of crayon that he owns. The reasons for leaving range from overuse to underuse, along with removal of paper, being broken in half, and not coloring within the lines. He made the cover of last month’s “Writer’s Digest”.
Remember, he is not the first to do something out of his genre. Clive Barker did write “The Thief of Always” for young adults, and Detective Harry Hole creator Jo Nesbo does a series about “Dr. Proctor’s Fart Powder” (which is hilarious and has spawned at least one feature film). Even Weird Al Yankovic has a children’s picture book to his credit.
That wraps up a view of the letter “D.”
Don’t believe that this is all for the first four letters of the alphabet. There are thousands of short films out there that all deserve attention. It’s important to check out what you find. You aren’t going to find that they are all good, but many are. In the meantime, keep viewing!
Once again, I’d like to thank IMDB, YouTube, Vimeo, Writer’s Digest and Barnes & Noble for all their help with this article.