PETRIFIED (2010): Super 8 Gothic Camp
John Hartman of Reel Groovy Films brought this campy Gothic short to Loud Green Bird’s attention. Shot in Super 8, PETRIFIED’s footage consists entirely of first takes. There are obvious limits to production value with such an approach. The results are nevertheless impressive.
Using title cards in place of dialogue and adding musical accompaniment, the film is reminiscent of the silent movie era. Nevertheless, it has dubbed sound effects, including some background speech. This adds to the gothic ambiance of the shadowy visuals. Hartman used a Nizo 800 Super 8 camera and tri-x reversal film to capture the action.
The story follows a young, female Gothic novelist (Amy Butts) who rents a castle filled with wax figures of Colonial-era Americans. The landlord (Douglas Kirkpatrick), his butler (Chris Berg), and his maid (Molli Kirkpatrick) are strange people. This does not put our heroine off. She’s determined to write in this place. Little does she know, however, that she has personal, historical, supernatural connections to the castle’s apparent artifacts:
Hartman wrote, directed, co-produced, shot, and edited PETRIFIED. He used real, historic wax figures from the old Plymouth Rock Wax Museum as props. An acquaintance who bought more than two hundred of them from the Museum loaned some of them to Hartman and allowed him to “have his way” (as a filmmaker) with them. Hartman even appears on-screen, in association with the wax figures.