“The Unconventional Gourmet” (2016): Well-Prepared Short Horror Film Serves Up Chuckles with Its Chills



Some people yearn for the simpler times of days gone by. Judging from the photos on display in Rosina Leckermaul’s (Wendy Keeling, who also directs) home in the dark-comedy horror short film The Unconventional Gourmet, this lady who seems stuck in the past may have yearned for yesteryear for quite some time. Perhaps her diet has something to do with that . . .

With a screenplay written by Wendy Keeling from a story by her and husband  Kevin Keeling, The Unconventional Gourmet is a fun, upbeat take on a traditional tale (I won’t mention which one, to avoid spoilers) with a decidedly different approach and a novel twist to the finale. Rosina Leckermaul seems to be enamored with the 1950s, if viewers go by her style of dress and some of her kitchen appliances, not to mention her thoughts about today’s society. We meet her as children from a local orphanage go door-to-door selling candy as a fund raiser.

Wendy Keeling is the director and star of the horror-comedy short film The Unconventional Gourmet.

Soon, orphanage employee Robert Piper (Wynn Reichert) shows up on Rosina’s doorstep, looking for some of his children who have gone missing. Rosina acts rather nonchalant, concerning herself more with inviting Piper in to try the meal on which she has been working.

The Unconventional Gourmet is free of graphic gore and overt violence; the short instead goes more for wicked laughs and creepy moments than sudden scares or shocks. It works exceedingly well in this manner. Director Wendy Keeling sets a nostalgic tone with a disturbing feeling lying just under the surface. She gives her main characters time to become established and then takes viewers down a path with which we think we are familiar before adding some dark surprises provided by her  playfully ghastly screenplay.

Wendy Keeling brings feelings of both comfort and underlying mayhem to her role as Rosina. Wynn Richert inhabits Robert Piper with a humorous charm. Several child actors are also on tap, and all do a fine job in their supporting performances, particularly Manon Guy as teen-with-an-attitude Grace and Grayson Kilpatrick as her brother Hugo.

Robert Piper (Wynn Reichert) brings his two latest charges from the orphanage to meet Rosina Leckermaul, the titular character of the short. Hugo (Grayson Kilpatrick) and his sister Grace (Manon Guy) come with an appetite and an attitude, respectively.

R. Mark Ramey’s cinematography is another of the film’s strong points. An impressive aerial shot achieved by using a drone opens the short, and Ramey’s handiwork on land shows a definite flair that fits the film perfectly. Christopher Gentle’s score adds a fun flair to the proceedings.

The Unconventional Gourmet is currently making a splash on the film festival rounds. For more information including upcoming screening dates, check the short’s official website at http://theunconventionalgourmet.com/index.html.

The Unconventional Gourmet: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)


Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.