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When you've been the embodiment of a horror character as iconic as Pinhead it must be difficult to show the world there is more to be seen underneath all the layers of latex. It's partly due to the new fresh faces of Robber Baron Productions that we will be seeing some more demonic Doug outings, without latex.
'On Edge' and 'Red Lines' are two short movies, both written and directed by Frazer Lee (Robber Baron Productions) and starring Doug Bradley. On Edge was winner of Best Short Film at the Halloween Filmfest Germany in 2001 and Red Lines was winner of Best Picture at the Fearless Tales Genre Fest USA in 2004. This review is based on the currently available double feature dvd. More information on buying this dvd can be found at the bottom of this article.
When Peter Thurlow (Charley Boorman) gets a toothache after biting on a nut he rushes to the dentist without an appointment. Irritated by the fact that everyone with an appointment is seen first, while he is suffering suchs pains, he wanders through the corridor. One of the dentists, doctor Matthews (Doug Bradley) warns him he isn't allowed to come back there, but decides to help him now that he is there.
Squimish as Thurlow is, Matthews decides to give him an extra shot of valium while working on his tooth. After some nasty complications, three horrific dental stories and a few hours of sleep Thurlow wakes up again, only to find out something has gone terribly wrong...
On the dvd there's also an interview with writer/director Frazer Lee and also an extensive interview with Doug Bradley. It's interesting to see that Frazer Lee is a 'dental pervert', loving the smells, sounds and sights of a dental surgery. Not having had any bad dental experiences himself he wanted to created his own dental nightmare. Doug Bradley on the other hand hates all the surgery equipment involved in dental work.
Shot in beautiful 35mm Panavision Widescreen, with perfect lighting, realistic make up (by Bob Keen, who also did Hellraiser) and some powerful acting this is a very nice piece of work. The clever part of putting Thurlow out for several hours makes it possible to tell something that takes hours in about 10 minutes. Be warned, this is no comedic - running around with syringes - horror movie. You might think twice before running to the dentist next time you have a toothache...
"Don't forget to floss!"
This short movie is a bit storter than On Edge. This time around Doug plays a school teacher with sadistic tendencies. When a girl (Kirsty Levitt) is sent to detention she is asked to write 'I must not run' over and over again. When she's suddenly warned by something supernatural she opens one of the drawers of the teacher's desk. Inside she finds a terrible secret. When the teacher returns and sees the open drawer, she knows a terrible fate will await her...
Clearly different from On Edge, this short movie focusses more on the imagination of the audience. The movie also looks and sounds different. Everything seems to have an aura of light, giving the movie a supernatural feel. There's also a more imaginitive use of sound and music.
Whereas On Edge works really well the first time, revealing all the details at the end. The movie is less durable when watching it over and over. Because Red Lines only shows quick scenes giving your imagination something to work with, this movie works better in the long run. This is not a shock horror movie like On Edge, but more a supernatural thriller.
The dvd also shows outtakes of both movies. I'm glad they decided to take out the final line by Doug in Red Lines, because ending the movie with a tongue-in-cheek comment like the one in On Edge, would have made a totally different movie seem a bit similar to On Edge and might accidentally make it some kind of trademark, like the famous 'Shyamalan endings'.
Both movies, in their own diversity, showcase the talents of Frazer Lee, Doug Bradley and the cast and crew. In the words of Frazer Lee: "We want to drag British horror into the 21st century kicking and screaming!"
I wish him all the best at that and I'm looking forward to his first feature film called 'Urbane' which will also star Doug Bradley as a nightclub owner.
On Edge: 5/5
Red Lines: 4/5
:: hellboy ::