Eight year old Henry is no regular child. Which is important to know and hence it is also the first thing we get to hear about him in this short film by former horror journalist Axelle Carolyn. „The Halloween Kid“ is her third directorial work and you can already recognise a personal thumbprint. Just like her debut „The Last Post“ it has a central character able to see things invisible for everybody else. But while the earlier film deals with the final days of a life and thus strikes a bittersweet chord, this new short (first released in 2011) decided for a pre-teen protagonist who still has to find his place in the world and yet is an outsider already. Nevertheless, the overall tone is light-hearted and slightly playful.
So Henry, as we learn thanks to the lullabyish voiceover narration by British veteran actor Derek Jacobi, has a pretty vivid imagination. Although, that is probably more the explanation his mother and teacher have. Actually the little boy can see monsters, like the regular one in the closet, and he is pretty talented at sketching them in detail. Oh, and then the skeleton at school – does it really move its head? Of course we, the audience, are totally team Henry, but unfortunately (and expectably) we are also the only ones (no wonder, since we are invisible for the other characters too). Although, no, not quite, but see for yourself.
„The Halloween Kid“ is a seven minute declaration of love to all of us grown up boys and girls who used to carefully check the situation under the bed before we went to sleep when we were little. We may not have had the Hogwardian scar on our forehead that Henry has, but we surely knew there was something out there adults (and the other kids) considered as ridiculous figments. Would we still watch horror movies today if it had been any different? Certainly not. No need to wonder whether Axelle Carolyn was such a kid herself.
Composed with utmost care and a sense for details (try to spot the Playmobil ghost on Henry’s desk), this is another proof for a great talent moving forward to her first feature. The color scheme and lighting is warm and beautiful enough to let every single frame qualify for a still that you might want to put on your wall. Told in rhymes off- and on-screen (if not as strictly metric as you’d expect from, say, Dr Seuss) „The Halloween Kid“ feels like an adaption of a much beloved children’s book with a slight taste of Tim Burton minus the usual quirkyness.
Written and directed by Carolyn, co-produced by her partner-in-crime Neil Marshall, scored again by Christian Henson and prominently cast with Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle of „Game of Thrones“), Dave Legano (Harry Potter’s Fenrir Greyback) and Anna Walton (Princess Nuala of „Hellboy 2“) in supporting roles, this lovely short brings Halloween to your heart any time of the year. Still on festival circuit, so watch out for it.
[Find a 1 minute teaser below as well as a 19 minutes Making-of. More images and details on the film's official homepage.]
[Images: Witching Hour Films]