Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Making Friends

The short film "Making Friends" was released in 2011 and won an award for the Best Thriller/Horror Movie at the 2011 Canton Film Festival.  "Making Friends" was featured at the Dragon*Con Independent Film Festival, the Horrorfind Film Festival, and the Canton Film Fest.  Directed by Marvin Suarez and written by Greg Bartlett, "Making Friends" is based on the short story by Gary Raisor.  I will copy and paste the short story below as it is relatively short.

"Jack-o’-lanterns smile their secretive, broken-mouthed smiles as they peer out from behind darkened windows. Eight-year-old Denny Grayson hurries down the sidewalk. He is barely able to contain his excitement. Tonight is Halloween.

A hint of chill hangs in the air and the tang of woodsmoke carries. It’s a good smell. The huge yellow moon tags along, floating over his shoulder like a balloon on a string. When he glances up, he sees the man in the moon smiling broadly. Beneath his green latex Frankenstein mask, he smiles back eagerly. He has waited with much anticipation for this night.

A small group of kids pelt by, anonymous in their costumes. Only the patter of their expensive new Adidas and NIKES link them, to an exclusive club; one to which Denny will never belong. He watches enviously as they pound on the door. “Trick or treat,” they demand in high, childish voices. He turns and scurries to the next house.

A quick stab of the doorbell brings a smiling, silver-haired, woman to the door. “My, aren’t you scary looking?” she laughs merrily. “Are you going to say trick or treat? What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”

Denny shakes his head and asks, “Ccould I hhaff a ddink of, wwatah, ppleese?” Her smile wavers and she blushes as understanding comes. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Of course you can.”

When she goes to the kitchen, Denny reaches into the candy dish sitting so invitingly by the door. He barely retracts his hand before the woman returns with a glass of water. Turning his back, he lifts the mask and takes a short sip. “Ttankk yyoou,” he mumbles thickly, holding out his plastic sack. The woman drops in extra candy. After every house on the block has been visited, he climbs on his bike and heads for home, racing the moon from streetlight to streetlight watching the shadows wheel and dart before him.

Pedaling furiously, he soon reaches the section of town where the houses aren’t so nice. He weaves the familiar route up the rutted street until the small, rundown house comes into view.

Quietly letting himself in, he tiptoes past his mom who is fast asleep on the couch. As usual, the reek of soured whiskey follows him across the creaky floor.

He barely has time to stuff the mask and candy under the bed before he hears Mom’s heavy tread. She enters the room and drunkenly embraces him. “Oh, Denny, I’m so glad you’re home. Momma just had the most awful dream. It was full of blood, and children were screaming and screaming. . .”

Denny pulls away from her and throws himself onto the rickety bed. She stares at him in helpless misery. “I dreamed you went trick or treating again,” she blubbers wetly, and Denny knows she’s going to talk about it. “I’m so sorry, baby. I know I let you down. If only I’d checked the candy. Who’d have ever thought someone would be sick enough to put razor blades in a child’s-”

Denny turns to the wall and stonily ignores her. Stiffly, she reaches a fluttering moist palm toward him that stops short. “I know the kids at school make fun of your problem. But I talked to Dr. Palmer again yesterday, and he says he might be able to help.”

“Hhee ccan’tt hhellp.”

The silence becomes a thick wall between them. For the first time, she notices he is wearing a jacket. Alarm sifts through the alcoholic haze to finally settle on her face. “Where were you tonight, Denny? You didn’t go trick or treating, did you?” She yanks him around, trying hard not to wince as the horribly disfigured mouth smiles crookedly at her.

“Nooo, I wass mmakin’ ssome neww ffriendss,” he utters cheerfully, jumping from the bed and crossing over to the window. He jams both hands into his jacket pockets. His fingers touch a small lump nestled within-it’s a candy bar. For a second, he’d almost forgotten he’d placed one in the candy dishes of all the homes he visited tonight.

As he thinks about the kids who make fun of the way he talks, his fingers curl tightly. A sharp flash of pain causes his hand to fill with sticky red wetness. After tonight, he’ll have lots of friends to talk to. He stares into the night and smiles a terrible, secret smile. The man in the moon is smiling too; only, this time, a river of blood is gushing from his mouth."

Copyright: Gary Raisor.

So am I the only one both disturbed and slightly heartbroken by this short film?  We've all heard the horror stories of "Razorblades in the Halloween candy!!!!111!11 Beware!!!111" but "Making Friends" took it to a whole new level.  You have no choice but to feel sorry for the little maniacal Denny Grayson.  He's young, he's vulnerable, and he's never fit in.  All he wants is some friends, right?  He doesn't understand the ramifications of disfiguring all of the neighborhood kids, making them bleed from the mouth and shriek in terror.  Or does he...?

My only complaint is I feel they could've done way more with Denny's makeup.  They could've made his scar look super gruesome and mangled or even not as gory but still better than what it was which basically looked like some silly putty painted pink.  They don't really explain the stutter either.  I know a stutter can be a result of emotional or physical trauma, but did Denny always have a stutter?  Is it genetic?  Was it brought on by the attack? I do especially love Mom's creepy horrified smirk at the end.  I personally am looking forward to the day when I have children and can impose the standard parental candy tax.  I'll be happy to check for razorblades as I chow down on Kit-Kats and Butterfingers.


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