VOCAL WORK BY
Gavin Phillips, Travis Worthey, Stephanie Pax, Andrew Carlson, Colin Clarke and Elaine Carlson
Colin Clarke, Marc Packard
Inspired by the myths and ghost stories that co-writer, director and animator Colin Clarke heard while growing up on a Northern Illinois farm, Raven's Hollow is simply a groovy little indie animated horror short that will both inspire wannabe filmmakers while also tauntingly throwing up a skeletal hand and saying "Betcha' can't make one this good."
The kicker with Raven's Hollow is, according to Clarke, that the film was made entirely on home computers utilizing off-the-shelf software. In other words, you SHOULD be able to make this film at home.
While I'm not about to doubt Clarke's claim about this film's origins, I'm also likely to add the disclaimer that having a whole lot of talent also helps because I'm guessing there's a good number of filmmakers out there who could take the same computers and the same software and end up with a whole lot of crapola.
However, Raven's Hollow will hopefully inspire you because it shows that talent, creativity and some really awesome friends can often transcend budgetary limitations and even on a low-budget you can end up with a mighty entertaining film.
Raven's Hollow is set on Halloween night with little Billy (Gavin Phillips) tagging along with his sister (Stephanie Pax) and her boyfriend (Travis Worthey) at a late night horror feature at the local drive-in. Billy ain't having it, though, and threatens to flee and go back home through a nearby cornfield, a threat that is greeted by Mike with one of those old ghostly legends that we all heard as a child and we kinda' sorta' believed. In The Legend of Old Farmer Blood, legend has it that the old man seeded his field with the blood of his murder victims - Billy, of course, scoffs at the legend.
Clarke, who directed Frankenstein vs. The Wolfman in 3D along with the Gothic superhero shorts Raven and Raven 2, is well-crafted and anxiety-inducing horror film that also serves as a rather horrifically touching tribute to old school Midwestern type horror that emphasized atmosphere and the creep factor over hardcore gore and carried with it a strong gothic sensibility filled with chilling sights, sounds and symbols.
While one could easily think that the whole "made with on-the-shelf software" is nothing but a gimmick, it becomes far more than a gimmick in the hands of Clarke and his team that includes co-producer/audio designer Andrew Carlson and score composer Andrew Kalbfus, whose score gives the film a good amount of its genuine chill factor.
Raven's Hollow has already proven to be quite successful on the film fest circuit with appearances in 2011 at Gen Con, Dark Carnival, Mile High Horror Film Festival, Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival, Tri-Cities International Fantastic Film Festival and others. The film was a First Place Winner at On the Waterfront Film Festival. The film is a co-production of Daredevil Films and Darkhouse Productions.
For more information on Raven's Hollow, visit the film's website and/or Facebook page. Be sure to watch it right here on The Independent Critic.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic