30th Oct2018

Pass Horror Notes: ‘Psychomanteum’ Review

by Aaron Shakespeare

pass-horror-notes

PSYCHOMANTEUM

Stars: Adrian Annis, Adam Bertenshaw, Sophie Bickerstaff, Jack Blanch, Ray Brady, Emer Brennan, Corey Bridgeman, Norma Butikofer, Arlo Cadbury, Ian Donnelly, Anastasia Drew, Aidan Eason, Angela Peters, John Rankin, Steve Roberts, Kate Sandison, Andrew Shire | Written by Ray Brady, Jamie Drew, Brian Evenson, Stuart Wright | Directed by Ray Brady, Andy Edwards

Name: Psychomanteum
Age: 2018
Appearance: A series of low budget short films interspersed with a rambling monologue about paranoia and fear…

Psychomanteum. Tick tock, tick tock.

Psychomanteum. Tick tock, tick tock.

“Tick tock… Tick tock”

Why are you speaking like that?

Because it’s uttered continuously throughout the monologue.

Oh, that’s annoying.

Yes, it does go on a bit but the narrator acknowledges that near the end of the film so that makes it okay. Tick tock, tick tock…

Stop it.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

So, the film is called Psychomanteum. What’s that when it’s at home?

It’s a small, dark area used by spiritualists to commune with the dead and our narrator never ceases to remind us about our impending demise, the meaningless of our existence, mortality and our fragility upon this earthly plane!!

Have you been drinking?

No, but you might fancy a pint after sitting through this series of short experimental horror shorts that mix conventional narrative with surreal imagery, exploring diverse themes such as paranoia, religious belief and even sexual politics.

Not one for gorehounds then?

I suspect there wasn’t the budget for such luxuries, which is good in some ways as it forces the filmmakers to use other techniques at their disposal to get their stories across. My favourite was called Afraid of the Dark. It’s about the residents of a street besieged by unseen assailants with only their monstrous growls and the screams of victims to indicate that an attack is taking place. The use of sound is very effective in creating a sense paranoia and fear.

Not one for gorehounds then?

You’ve asked me that already and I said no. It does feel at times as if the writers were punching above their weight though, particularly where ambition is at odds with budget constraints such as the short, It’s in the Trees about some school kids chased in the woods by a giant monster. The only problem is that you never see the giant monster.

Any gore?

No! One of the kids utters the immortal line “where did his bones go” when finding the body of their friend so you’ll just have to imagine the gore. Happy now?

What about nudity? You did mention sexual politics after all. Phwoar, eh?

That would be the comedic short, I Kissed a Boy. A man catches a disease that turns him into a woman whilst his wife turns into a man. Basically, it’s an excuse to dress actors up as the opposite sex, make obvious jokes about men missing the toilet and women drinking girly drinks in pubs. Suffice to say, if a man losing his penis rings high on your LOLometer then you might get some enjoyment.

No sex either?

It’s films like this that remind you that horror isn’t all beer, sex and gore. Yes, it is low budget and yes the acting can be ropey but it has imagination and heart.
______

Don’t say: No budget, no point!
Do say: A low budget never stopped Romero.

Psychomanteum is available on Amazon Prime Video now.

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