The Tell Tale Heart (2020 short)

As some of you may know I (Kaleb Morgan) cohost a podcast called Macabre Media Podcast. About a month ago a Twitter user with the handle @telltalefilm messaged me privately on my personal account sharing that they would love if Jorge and I left a review. Over the past month I have been inundated with finals but since my semester ended yesterday I made the review my top priority. We recorded an episode but its a little hard to pull a one-liner from that so here’s a blog post (don’t worry I will link the episode at the bottom with everything else).

The Narrator (Sonny Grimsley) sitting with Detective Tucker (Teren Turner) and Officer Sharpe (Mikah Olsen)

I will start off strong. Bassmints Pros Films is easily the most creative and riveting adaptation of not only The Tell Tale Heart but any Poe adaptation I have seen. The cinematography and sound design/score are at a level that exceeds the general limits of short films from indie studios. This was tremendously surprising considering the general struggle short films tend to endure when it comes to technicality. There is not a second of fluff and much like the original story it is jam packed in its short length. The practical effects and limited CGI were very well done (much to Jorge and my delight). The cinematography seemed to have inspirations from David Fynch, Panos Cosmatos, Dario Argento and maybe a dash of Stanley Kubrick. The score (composed by Joel Pack) is easily one of the best parts of the film, not saying the rest isn’t enjoyable.

James C. Morris as the Old Man/ Master

What is most impressive to me is the directorial ability of McClain Lindquist. This was the mortician’s (and musician) first foray into directing and it was almost perfectly executed. I previously mentioned some inspirations and I want to explain my assumptions a bit here. The color palettes used in this film are what remind me of Panos Cosmatos and David Fynch. The quick and focused zoom-in shots remind me of Dario Argento and shots we see in the original Suspiria and Deep Red. Finally there seems to be a slight influence from Stanley Kubrick in the way some of the madness is portrayed and even some of the slower creeping shots. However, Lindquist sets up his own style in how he addresses certain sequences and even into some of the artistic choices he introduces into the story of The Tell Tale Heart.

The Master’s House (shot in Utah).

I really only had one gripe with this film, which both Jorge and myself share and that’s the performance of the police officer and detective. Their line delivery seemed somewhat forced and inorganic. This wasn’t so bad as to dissuade us from the film or even make us not enjoy it but it was something we had both noticed.

Finally, I want to address the performance of Sonny Grimsley, which highlights the film. The film is certainly set in modern time, the police officers carry modern hand guns and drive cars, but that doesn’t stop the Narrator from maintaining the same internal dialogue and narration as the original text from 1843. He even goes so far as to wear the attire and speak in an accent (which left something desired for me). I believe this to be indicative of him being off. Grimsley’s ability to portray madness and insanity are exquisite and Lindquist capitalizes on this with effects and dialogue written for the conversation with the police.

This short film (22 minutes) hasn’t hit the festival circuit yet and we aren’t sure if or when it will be widely released but this was a very pleasant experience and if you don’t want to listen to our episode on Macabre Media Podcast (though you should), Jorge and I both rate this movie 10/10.

Sonny Grimsley as The Narrator

The Tell Tale Heart Short Film Social Media

Macabre Media Podcast Episode and social media Available 5/17/20 7:00 AM MDT/9:00 AM EST

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