“It’s wince-inducing, crotch-covering, creature-feature fun!” There, Grue Believers, you have my blatant attempt at a Blu-ray cover blurb for Christopher G. Moore’s latest horror comedy short, Knob Goblins. That sentence also sums up my true feelings about the short; take it as a strong recommendation for those who love to chuckle uncomfortably with their fright fare.
Michael Ray Williams stars as R.J., who is brought from a psychiatric facility back to his childhood home by Dr. Blair (Yale Giffin) so that he may undergo the final step in his recovery program. R.J.’s younger brother was killed seven years ago in a very unorthodox manner. R.J. discovered his body in the basement and the killer was never apprehended. R.J. has lived with guilt all that time. Blair’s therapy includes having R.J. spend 10 minutes alone in the house to put to rest his fears that whatever it was he thought he saw that night is just a figment of his imagination. Because this is a horror film (with some comedic tones), you can guess how that plan goes.
There’s more to R.J.’s backstory than I’m letting on; that’s because I hope viewers can go in as spoiler-free as possible. I will say that the titular character shows up several times, does what you expect him to given the film’s title, and he’s a creepy little varmint. Designed by special makeup effects artist Bill Mulligan – who is also responsible for some truly nasty gore effects here – the knob goblin makes his initial appearances in classic horror-film fashion, with partial reveals that show off Christopher G. Moore’s genre-movie knowledge and filmmaking know-how.
Writer/director Christopher G. Moore uses a variety of camera angles and framing styles to wonderful effect in Knob Goblins, and the lighting is top-notch throughout. Ismail Abdelkahlek’s cinematography captures all of that masterfully. Rob Gokee’s score evokes the supernatural and the dramatic well, adding tension during R.J.’s trek through his old home.
Moore has also assembled a solid cast. Michael Ray Williams inhabits R.J. with a sense of apprehension and then some ill-timed (for the character, to clarify) bravado. Yale Giffin plays Dr. Blair with a dash of smarminess and a touch of arrogance. The cast is rounded out by Christopher Houldsworth as facility security guard Burton, Tom Gore as his assistant Ron, and Jaysen Buterin as Snake, who assists the facility personnel by unlocking R.J.’s house. (Genre-film aficionados will find a common thread or two in those characters’ names.) The supporting cast does a fine job and I was especially intrigued by Buterin’s turn as the eye-patched outsider of the bunch.
Christopher G. Moore and Cinema Fuel Productions (www.cinemafuel.com) have a multiple-award-winning hit on their hands. Knob Goblins has been winning over fans on the festival rounds. If it heads your way, don’t hesitate to see it.
Knob Goblins: (4 / 5)
Editor’s Note: Director Christopher G. Moore is a friend of the site and is the co-host of the Hannibal Fan Podcast produced by Doc Rotten and part of Gruesome Magazine. He also makes guest host appearances on the past season of the American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Horror News Radio. You can also catch an interview with him with Doc Rotten from 2014 on the Future of Horror podcast discussing his films Foodie and Disengaged, click here.