Friday, 23 January 2015


Another day, another wonderful little short to share with my equally wonderful readers.
Certain horror movie set-ups have become such powerful tropes that they move beyond cliche and re-emerge as classic, almost mythological scenarios. A case in point? The tale of a young babysitter watching over a frightened child one cold, dark night. From this situation any number of cinematic nightmares have unfolded, from Halloween to The House Of The Devil. Tickle, the delightfully retro film from director Corey Norman, takes this scenario and runs with it.
Want to know where Bonfire Films’ frightful little flick takes us? Read on...

TICKLE (2014)

Dir: Corey Norman
Starring: Casey Turner, Andrew Lyndaker, Sean Carmichael, Daniel Noel, Dennis J. Healy

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: This is a short, so I'll try not to spoil too much, but read on at your own risk.

Trudy (Turner) is a fun-loving and feisty teen babysitter, tasked with watching over young Charlie (Lyndaker) late one night.
Upon noticing that her charge is choosing to sleep with his feet poking out the end of his blanket, Trudy spins the tale of Tick Tack, a malevolent and malformed little troll that stalks bedrooms after dark, looking for feet to tickle.
When Charlie's bravado fails to yield a suitable reaction, Trudy escalates her fable — should a victim fail to respond appropriately to Tick Tack's tickling, the diminutive monster lops those feet clean off.
Having finally frightened Charlie witless, Trudy confesses that she was only teasing and bids him goodnight, heading back to the sofa to watch horror movies and await the arrival of her boyfriend Donnie (Carmichael) after his late shift at a pizza parlour.
However, later that night Charlie is disturbed from his slumber by ominous noises in the dark. Was Trudy's tale really a work of fiction after all?

WHY IT WORKS: In case the premise and that awesome poster up there weren’t enough to clue you in, Tickle is a lovely homage to the dark and weird practical effects spectaculars of the Eighties. Think the likes of Troll, Ghoulies, Critters, The Monster Squad and House, all movies I adored during my formative years!
The period details are wonderful, from Trudy’s outfit, the decoration of the set and even the soundtrack, really capturing the feel of the horror movies of the time.
Haley Norman’s story also effectively echoes the work of that era, following a simple plotline and instead sprinkling its magic through the details and artful writing. The events of Tickle will surprise very few viewers, but the way in which it unfolds is still compelling and entertaining. This is an exercise in story-telling — it is less about the destination than the delightful journey we are taken on to get there.
The film boasts some brilliant camerawork, using interesting camera angles and a fantastic use of light and shadow to build a suitably campfire-esque atmosphere for the classic creepy bedtime tale unfolding before us. I loved the way the family home slowly transforms from a warm and safe refuge against the darkness outside into a hellish setting for the film’s shockingly gory final moments.
The tale is helped no-end by the excellent and natural performances of its cast — Turner in particular is great as the likeable (if mischievous) Trudy. A lot of the film hangs on her work and she completely nails it. She’s a talented actress, I‘m sure we’ll see plenty more of her. She also demonstrated great onscreen chemistry with young Lyndaker. While at times I felt Lyndaker did border on a little too cutesy, I still think he did a solid job for one so young, especially in his tense later scenes  The natural banter between he and Turner was one of the highlights of the film, naturally drawing the audience onside with both of them and making each character all the more realistic and sympathetic.
The cast was well-rounded out by the laid-back and loveably lunkish Donnie, as played by Carmichael. The character doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but Carmichael does an admirable job with what he has, so more props to him.
And finally, Healy. Unfortunately there will be some inevitable spoilers from this point on, so if you want to remain unspoiled, you’ll be best skipping to the end!
SPOILERS********** Healy as the monstrously nasty Tick Tack is awesome! Feeling very much like a hideous Eighties creature feature beastie, the character design on the sickle swinging Tick Tack is fabulously ghoulish creation. In a role without dialogue like this, the way in which the character moves, his gestures and body language speak volumes. Healy is creepy and twisted, his jittery stalking of dozing victims the stuff of nightmares. Tick Tak is a villain we NEED to see more of. Much like Billy Pon’s Doll Boy, Tick Tack is one movie monster that definitely warrants the step up from short film to feature. 
The character is fantastically realised through some excellent make-up effects. The special effects team of Liam McCarthy, Shawn Quirk and Petronela Schredlova deserve plenty of credit for their old school work, not just on bringing Tick Tack to life but with the gory, splattery finale. Well done, guys, you rocked! SPOILERS END **********
With a fantastic throwback feel to the heyday of practical effects, videostore fun popcorn shockers, Tickle really does feel like a loveletter to some of the greatest (and also the very worst) films of my youth. Good looking, with an amazing cast, great writing, some memorable scares, assured guidance by Norman and playing out at a cracking pace, this is a top short. I recommend it wholeheartedly. 
WIth the feature length Hanover House from the same team on my review list, you‘ll be hearing much more from these guys in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!

SO WHERE’S IT AT? Tickle has had a good run on the Festival circuit, so you really should keep your eyes peeled for any future screenings in the days ahead. 
Be sure to check Bonfire Films’ official Facebook page for news on when it may be coming to a cinema near you. Give it a Like while you’re there and show some support.
However, should you be unable to track the film down, there is a DVD with the flick on it, which you can buy here. It‘s fantastic fun and well worth your time.

10 WORD WRAP UP: Frightfully fun throwback to the golden era of vhs shockers

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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