“Shades of Scarlet” (2017): Released Criminal and Brusque Nurse Match Wits and Wills in Dark Thriller Short

Director Wendy Keeling follows up last year’s horror comedy short The Unconventional Gourmet, reviewed here,  with a dramatic thriller about a convicted rapist who is freed from prison on a technicality, and the nurse he meets in a bar on his first day of freedom. While Shades of Scarlet has a few darkly humorous moments, its main tone is deadly serious.

Wynn Reichert (The Unconventional Gourmet, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Beast in the Cave) plays Bob Tribble, known as the Switchblade Rapist. He goes from ecstatic to being released from behind bars to irate that his status is being announced over the airwaves. A radio report states that one of his victims committed suicide after testifying against him. He stops off for a sandwich at a diner but his awkward behavior causes him to need to leave in a hurry.

Wynn Reichert wrote the screenplay for Shades of Scarlet and stars as criminal Bob Tribble, who finds that it is not easy to run from his past or present, as evidenced by the news alert on the television behind him.

Tribble then stops off at a small bar, where he encounters a nurse named Scarlet (Wendy Keeling [The Unconventional Gourmet, The Dooms Chapel Horror]) who comes on strong to him with some bawdy talk and then lewd propositions. I’ll leave the plot alone there to avoid spoilers; suffice it to say that the discomfiting tension between the pair in the bar is only the beginning.

Wendy Keeling, who edited and produced along with directing and acting in Shades of Scarlet, does a tremendous job both in front of and behind the camera. Her films show confidence and an eye for engaging visuals no matter the genre in which she works, and this new effort is no exception. Here, she first highlights Tribble’s creepiness before adding in the rather enigmatic character she herself portrays. Credit also goes to Wynn Reichert for his well-paced screenplay. He obviously learned about his criminal character well during the writing process, which shows in his performance. The supporting cast also give fine turns. Director of photography R. Mark Ramey captures the proceedings marvelously.

The staff of a restaurant is alarmed by Tribble’s presence.

Shades of Scarlet is in the very early stages of its film festival run and is well worth watching out for. The short has already won awards and nominations along the way. New screenings are announced at https://www.facebook.com/ShadesofScarletmovie/and https://twitter.com/Shades_Scarlet. Readers can also visit the official website at http://shadesofscarlet.com/ for more infomation.

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.