Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

“Used Body Parts” (Shriekfest 2016): Fill Up on Terror at an Isolated Gas Station in This Short Shocker

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If you think that two young women traveling alone and running out of fuel late at night combined with a creepy station attendant at an old, isolated rural gas station sounds like a fine recipe for  a horror film, you would be absolutely right. Writer/director Venita Ozols-Graham uses that set-up in her new short Used Body Parts  (2016) and delivers a macabre effort filled with sudden shocks and grisly imagery.

Jenny (Brigitte Graham) and Scarlet (Jordan Elizabeth) find themselves in the  aforementioned predicament.  Genre film and television veteran and character actor extraordinaire  Tim DeZarn plays the attendant, Gas Man. He takes Jenny’s credit card and goes inside the station, then returns to tell her that the card has been declined and that the company told him to hold her card until she talks with a representative on his phone.  She does so and the girls’ descent into horror begins.

Fright-flick aficionados will notice a vibe from seventies grindhouse and eighties slasher fare at work here, along with a bit of the good ol’ urban legend atmosphere — and atmosphere is something with which Used Body Parts is loaded. Luis Diaz’s set decoration is outstanding and brings this eerie filling station to life. Although the story takes place mostly in the dark, an array of bright, primary colors and some neon lighting  is in play.

The small cast is superb. Brigitte Graham and Jordan Elizabeth play believable young women and their facial expressions and reactions to situations are spot on. Genre film and television veteran and character actor extraordinaire  Tim DeZarn (listed in the credits as Tim DeZam) as Gas Man makes for an imposing, brutal villain. Michael Villar rounds out the cast as Sonny quite effectively.

Venita Ozols-Graham directs  Used Body Parts  with a keen eye for shots and expert pacing, assisted on the latter by editor David Strohmaier. The visual effects and makeup effects team did a first-rate job on providing some ghastly effects. Alexander Arntzen‘s score is refreshingly subdued and sets the mood well.

Used Body Parts: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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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 "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He 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.
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 "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He 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.