T is for Toxin (2011) Short Film Review
T is for Toxin
Directed by: Rusty Armstrong
Written by: Rusty Armstrong and David Monahan
Starring: David Monahan, Marshall Jones, and Rachel Monahan
Category: Horror: Short Film/Horror
Char Hardin 2/5
The ABCs of Death
26 DIRECTORS | 26 WAYS TO DIE
Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a contest to find the 26th Director and award an established or new emerging director of horror $5000. Each director will be given a letter and every letter represents a word to be uses as a prompt or “springboard” devised to create a short story based on death. Stories submitted may be from disturbing to outrageous, depends all on what the director dreams up.
I am familiar with this contest and have been viewing some of the ones submitted. Some are quite good actually and I am anxious to see who wins. The deadline to submit is October 1, 2011 for details on submissions go to http://26th.theabcsofdeath.com .
The short I am reviewing today was submitted by Rusty Armstrong. His letter was “T” and according to the details, he was able to choose his word using the letter “T” he was assigned and he decided on TOXIN. Ratings for short films are tricky at best, as I am not a professional, but I am a fan of horror and have been writing and screening films for little over seven months, I do have details, I look for in the productions I have screened. Since this short film has been submitted to this contest, I am going to incorporate the list from the website. This list is to be used as a guide for the directors. I will still use my 1-5 rating scale to rate it. Originality, Plot, Sound, Special FX & Entertaining (Recommendable) are all keys to which I look for in short-films.
· Do you put your death in the beginning, middle or end? Yes
· Do you make it subtle nod to your “T” word or take the sledgehammer approach? Sledgehammer
· Do you create a beautiful death or a scary one or a humorous one or a very unpleasant one? Grotesque/ brain out mouth silly move
· Do you have a twist in the tail of your tale? No
· Do you give it a specific perspective? POV Yes
· Do you set it in one room or in several locations? One
· Do you use dialogue or make it a visual poem? Dialogue
· Do you make it live-action or animate it? Live-action
TOXIN is about…not quite sure, but a man is bound to a chair. Next, another man enters the room, tells the captive, he has been given a toxin and if he doesn’t supply the information needed, he will die. Short and simple…not exactly, the potential was there and had Rusty, spent less time on the gory scenes and flash backs, he might have been able, to give a little more insight to the situation. Alas, he did not. It is unfortunate that the viewer is left, disgusted & baffled (I liked the gore…so I was only left baffled) The final scene has the regurgitation of a brain; that clearly is impossible with the size of a humans’ throat and having it find its way down from skull to up throat and out mouth. Not a good move. (MY OPINION)
For me Rusty’s TOXIN knocked out the list as a whole, but the story lacked clear definition of the situation. It is hinted at but never totally breached. What got my attention however, was his gore. As a gore hound…yes I like the bloody stuff, this was vivid, flowing and the one scene where the main character struggles from his bonds and pulls free of the ropes, the result was wicked. Talk about flay of flesh. The death scene was like a rainstorm of non-stop blood gushing and bubbling, seeping from the poisoned man in his death throes, was it beautiful…no…was it compelling, artistic, exciting…no…but it was bloody! Like the song from THE CROW, “It Can’t Rain all of the Time” and I can’t love them all of the time. For Toxin, the sound was good and the bloody Special FX caught my attention, the plot and deliverance of the story fell flat. I give TOXIN 2 out of 5. Thank you for sharing the short with me Rusty good luck.