DRIP (1996) Short film. Dir. Steven Gomez

Yes, another short horror film from youtube,  only this time I’ve sought it out deliberately. It took a bit of finding, too. I can remember catching this on a very late night Channel 4 screening, according to imdb it was in 1996. Jeez, quite a while back then.

Anyway, the story itself should be familiar to anyone who’s been told scary stories by sadistic older kids growing up, or who takes even a passing interest in urban legends. The YouTube video of this which I’ve posted below is a bit grainy but otherwise not bad.

I ask you to give it a chance, in a dark room fairly late at night, and see what you think. I found a large but not full screen version the best way of viewing this.

SPOILERS AND ANALYSIS

I remember ‘Drip’ being a lot scarier, actually, proving that those who watch things through their fingers are actually sparing themselves less scary dodgy animatronics and effectively making films more terrifying than they really are. But the atmosphere of isolation, the rising dread in the creaking house and the gliding, stalking camera that tracks the ‘lonely woman’ work beautifully. With just two – or perhaps three characters – this is a great short horror film.

It really isn’t one for dog lovers – I feel even worse about the Fly’s fate than I did the first time I watched it, he’s such a sweetheart; but to warn anyone of this before viewing is just spoiling the scare. It is a horror, and pets are usually first in the murder line. I also think most people will already know this story. It’s a very well known urban legend, albeit with a very supernatural pay-off, frankly it’s is up there with ‘hook man’ and ‘Bloody Mary’. It was even subtly referenced in an episode of Supernatural. It’s part of the reason I remembered this short film so clearly.

While I was looking for this piece of nostalgic horror, I noticed several hundred other versions of the ‘Drip’ story just searching on YouTube alone. The story evolves all the time, from when it’s being told around the campfire or by an evil older sibling. The version I’ve heard is the other most common one, with the creature under the bed the requisite escaped lunatic, and sometimes the lady is infirm, very elderly or completely blind. While this was a more down to earth, more scarily possible version of the story, I like the way that in Drip (2006) the thing is a demon of some sort which she has somehow disturbed.  Now, the problem with the reveal of a demon, rather than a creepy man, under the bed is mainly that I’m a bit surprised the demon didn’t simply nip her fingers off while she was patting it for reassurance. Is it just messing with her? Was it using the dripping noise deliberately, to lure her upstairs? That suggests a level of central plumbing knowledge that demons may or may not possess, whether they’re fictional or not. Given how the poor dog ends up, I’m going with the monster ‘messing with her’.

The strength of true horror, and the urban legends in particular, rests in being unaware of how close you are to something evil until its proximity is revealed. The scary thing about ‘Drip’ is the realisation that she (standing in for us, the viewer) has touched the horror, put herself in danger. That the threat has been barely avoided, but is still lurking somewhere in the house, hiding under the very bed she/you were just sleeping in. And you put your hands on it!
As a final note:
The story ends at its most terrifying point, and leaves me curious about what happens next. Does she run out of the house screaming, driving off? Would she make it as far as the door before it came after her? Is that even what it wants? Is it just under the bed because the previous owners kept it as a pet to keep out burglars? What is it? I honestly remember a more terrifying face under the bed than the one here, but realistically I still wouldn’t want to run into it in the dark, on my own, in a house when I’d just found the eviscerated remains of my pet dog. Nope, pretty much anything is a best-case scenario compared to that.
That’s why Steven Gomez’s ‘Drip’ is a terrific retelling of an urban legend which refuses to die.
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Review: Taunt

Taunt
Taunt by Claire Farrell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Supernatural misfit Ava Delaney only just survived the last book, and barely a fortnight passes before she’s once again up to her neck in even more sturm and drang. Her new employer is costing her in more ways than one, groups of strange vampires are hanging around outside her home, and to cap it all off her rent is way overdue.

With this to contend with the first half of this book, the followup to ‘Thirst’, is almost exhausting to read. You get a great sense that Ava’s life is spiraling out of control and at first she is utterly helpless against the greater supernatural forces that are playing her. She has no idea who to trust and is still finding her way, whilst remaining utterly loyal to her own principles of not hurting humans, or drinking blood despite the edge it gives her. This mindset and her trust issues were frustrating but realistic, and it makes Ava a more vulnerable, and heroic character, particularly as she never once feels heroic and is constantly questioning her own morals and abilities. Ava seems to live with an overriding sense of guilt but she is also defiant to the last.

In Taunt we learn a few things about Ava which will hopefully be further explored in Book 3. Because there’s so much going on it would be a shame to say more to spoil the surprise. Basically, Taunt is a perfect example of how to bust up your protagonist’s once sequestered little world, and then keep the reader totally on her side as she fights for survival, while the character remains almost entirely herself. Ava is a strong character even when she’s trying desperately to catch up with the threats and conspiracies surrounding her. In Taunt she’s a bit less scatty than before, but no less stubborn, and prone to insulting super-powered beings when threatened, which I enjoyed very much.

‘Taunt’ has ended on a very interesting note, just as some very cool stuff was revealed, so I’m glad I have the next in the series ready to go, and I’ll look forward to hanging out with Ava Delaney again very soon.

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