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[Review] Mercury Screams: Unsettling Eighties-Set Tale Offers Dread Galore and an Authentic Retro Atmosphere

Prolific horror movie critic, screenwriter, and fiction writer Dan Wilder makes his directorial debut with the short shocker Mercury Screams, a trippy tale of mysterious creatures and miscarriages.  

The short initially presents itself as footage that was thought lost, from an episode of a 1984 television series exploring paranormal stories titled Within the Gaze of the 3rd Eye. In a reenactment of “actual events,” after Gretchen Winchell (Sarah Zimmer) suffers a miscarriage in Manhattan, she and husband Herd (Wayne W. Johnson) move to a rural area in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. While they both sleep, Gretchen is visited by a monstrous figure. The tragedy that befell the Winchells may be part of a far-reaching, ominous plot.

Wilder, who adapted the screenplay from his feature-length version, gives an authentic 1980s-era regional television video feel to the proceedings. This is a low-budget project, but the conceit of the regional documentary helps Wilder get the most out of his project.

Besides the VHS aesthetic, Mercury Screams boasts a cool Eurohorror vibe, as well. Beautifully framed shots and vivid color palettes are on display, with cinematographer Jon Caron turning in solid work. The cast fits the retro reenactment feel quite well.

The psychotronic short Mercury Screams is obviously the work of a seasoned horror fan, with an eerie energy and brooding atmosphere. It is an impressive calling card for Wilder, and he is obviously a talent to watch. Here’s hoping that the mysteries teased in this short become fully realized in a feature film sooner rather than later.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/Mercuryscreams/

(3.5 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry’s formative years were spent watching classic monster movies (starting with "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Godzilla Vs. the Thing") and TV series (starting with "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits"), Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features" and Roy Shires’ Big Time Wrestling (two northern California legends); reading Silver Age and Bronze Age Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Marvel, and DC comics; and writing mimeographed newsletters about the original "Planet of the Apes" film and TV series. More recently, he has written for "Filmfax" magazine, is the foreign correspondent reporter for the "Horror News Radio" podcast, and is a regular contributing writer to "Phantom of the Movies’s VideoScope" magazine, occasionally proudly co-writing 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’s formative years were spent watching classic monster movies (starting with "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Godzilla Vs. the Thing") and TV series (starting with "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits"), Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features" and Roy Shires’ Big Time Wrestling (two northern California legends); reading Silver Age and Bronze Age Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Marvel, and DC comics; and writing mimeographed newsletters about the original "Planet of the Apes" film and TV series. More recently, he has written for "Filmfax" magazine, is the foreign correspondent reporter for the "Horror News Radio" podcast, and is a regular contributing writer to "Phantom of the Movies’s VideoScope" magazine, occasionally proudly co-writing 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.
http://tastethemilkofchocula.blogspot.kr/