I have a feeling that I love The Dangerous Alphabet more than my daughter does but that’s okay with me. It’s an appropriately spooky and gholish way for a child to learn her ABC’s. Plus, the Neil Gaiman story is supremely sweet, but in the context of this review, The Dangerous Alphabet was my first exposure to artist Gris Grimly, a name I’ve been hearing a lot of lately. He’s an exceptionally gifted illustrator that channels Edward Gorey and Vincent Price. Equal parts ghastly Victorian horror and drive-in b-movie.
In the last few years, he’s been spreading his wings and embarked on a foray into the world of film. His first short, Cannibal Flesh Riot is finally making its way from the festival circuit and into the hands of the public for the first time shortly and wouldn’t you know it? Gris thought it proper to put a copy in my hands. What’d I think of it? Glad you asked.
Ghoulish stars, Stash and Hub are the Dante and Randall for the death rock crowd. They’re a pair of ghouls stalking through the cemetery on their way to dig up the freshly buried body of one Clarence Heckles. Along the way, they discuss their differing opinions on cannibalism, their particular methods of preparing a corpse to be eaten and the importance and wide ranging variety of condiments. Among the discussion, Stash declares his confusion over relish. Apparently, it’s just pickle vomit.
Shot on DV and filtered through film grain and damage, Grimly does everything he possibly can with his black and white short to evoke both the 50′s b-movie vibe and the dawn of the film medium through the eyes of a German expressionist. The set, a ghastly cemetery is an Ed Wood dream come true complete with a shabby cabin façade where the cemetery keeper lives and the foam headstones. It’s hardly a cheap looking movie, though. Shot for less than six grand, it looks like a much bigger movie featuring a little CGI to season a few characters like the bubbles to illustrate the drunk cemetery keeper and the occasional bugs that crawl on Stash. Also in the house is some skeletal Harryhausen style stop motion that is far more impressive than it has any right to be.
Stars Stash and Hub have great chemistry, too. Stash, tall and wiry brings to mind Bill Moseley’s Choptop from Texas Chainsaw 2 and the squat hunchback, Hub is a lot like Nick Frost. Their insane ranting about corpse preparation is entertaining to the last drop. Cannibal Flesh Riot is quite possibly the ghastliest buddy picture you could possibly conceive of. From start to finish it is extremely funny, under no circumstances are you to miss this. Available shortly at http://www.madcreator.com