Today’s Yeerie YouTube video comes at the recommendation of a fine fellow named Kit, and thank you very much for suggesting it. I’m sorry I haven’t reviewed so much this week. In future, I’d like to post two horror reviews per week, but we’ll see what my September work timetable brings.
Junk Head 1, as it’s known, is the first part of what will be a much longer film project if the creator can get enough fundraising (and that’s where you, the viewer come in). According to the start of the video I watched, the film is something he’s been doing in his spare time for the last four years or so – a labour of love, you might say. And considering that one guy did most of the work, it’s very impressive indeed. Yes, I am biased in favour of stop-motion animation, what are you going to do about it?
It’s hard to know what to make of this one, honestly, as it mostly smacks of sci-fi; I could see the first buds of horror in the form of nightmarish creatures, but I feel they need more time to blossom. Oh, and it looks like SOMEBODY’s a fan of H. R. Giger’s work.
But I’ll tackle those in a little while. First, the story, such as it is. The story takes place in a distant future where humans have traded their ability to reproduce for increased longevity, and then made a clone workforce which has rebelled, and so on and so forth. The protagonist may LOOK like an android, but he’s actually a human head walking around on a life support apparatus, which is very handy. We don’t yet know WHY he’s diving down in the forbidden depths, but the fall rather knocks him for six, and his head is picked up by some comic relief scavengers in rubber suits down below. Imagine if one of Despicable Me‘s minions decided to put on a scuba suit, and you’d have one of these guys. Their unintelligible language is fortunately subtitled, and they decide to take the head to their team of doctors/mechanics/Not Silent Hill Nurses. It’s not clear how the doctors can see with bandages over their eyes, but looks pretty cool.
A few minutes later, they’ve transformed Junk Head into a potato-headed and child-like robot. Junk Head is NOT thrilled about this, but it’s all they had lying around. The scavengers take Junk Head out with them and he gets a bit lost and stumbles upon some of the smaller and nastier incarnations of the eyeless, fleshy quadrupedal and apodal beings. (Took me twenty minutes to find a word that meant ‘having no limbs’, when I could just have said Junk Head found a bunch of worms. Oh well.) Somewhere along the way, Junk Head’s amnesia disappears, and he recalls that he is a human from the Upper Levels, sent to gather genetic information at any cost. However, in his current body he can neither speak the language of the scavengers and doctors, nor can he fight them particularly well. That’s what happens when your arms are made out of flimsy steel rods, apparently.
There is ONE creature down in these hidden depths which doesn’t want to savage everyone on sight – a friendly dog-like behemoth called Toro (a name which means ‘bull-like’ in Spanish, but this might also be a reference to Guillermo del Toro, and wouldn’t it be odd if the creatures in their most human form began to look like the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth?). Now, Junk Head, who at this point has been forced to ride around in a trolley, is roused at the sight of Toro’s, er… I REALLY hope that’s his tail. I don’t even want to include a screenshot here because that thing would need to be censored anyway. Then again, the humans specifically stated that they needed genetic information from somewhere, and inability to reproduce is a problem, and they DO state that Toro is indeed male… I don’t like where this is going.
Junk Head eventually escapes from his new friends and runs around in the vast underground system of stony corridors and hallways. He gets chased by two more creatures, which I’m going to call Rock-Beaters as, after Junk Head escapes to a lower level, they bash their way through the floor/ceiling and continue to chase him. That’s pretty damn hard to do. Then Junk Head leads them through a set of worm burrows, and they get eaten. Junk Head himself dismantled by the worms and his head ‘accidentally’ pushed over the edge of the nearby abyss by Toro, who’s had enough of being ogled for the time being. After that, Junk Head’s head is at the mercy of a mysterious figure from the Even Lower Levels, and his fate is left uncertain.
This is where the video ends, and it’s a good place to leave it. The audience is left to wonder just what the hell happened since the events of the opening narration. Which characters are clones and which are human? How long have these weird fleshy beings been wandering around? How did the scavengers manage to tame Toro, and why stop there? Why did that mummy guy at the beginning try to moon me? What did I do to deserve that? I’m a nice guy! That was uncalled for!
As I said, the horror elements are there. All things considered, the things we encounter in the depths of the building are fairly basic monsters. All they want to do is eat you. But taken in the context of the whole situation, they do manage to be pretty scary. After all, Junk Head is in an unfamiliar body – BODY HORROR! – and has no idea where he’s going, and nobody wants to be eaten, after all.
There were some other interesting themes that cropped up from time to time. For instance, Junk Head is at first revered as God-like by the doctors who repair him. It hints at the fact that nobody in the subterranean depths has ever SEEN a human from the Upper Levels before, and that things may be even worse downstairs.
Even though I didn’t completely understand the short film, I quite like it, and I’m willing to bet that the finished project will be something very special indeed. It certainly looks great and sounds great, and you can tell someone really cared at every stage of the production process. It’s a dystopian sci-fi that feels more like a portal fantasy and still manages to maintain a spooky atmosphere and show us some narsty-looking beasties for good measure. Nice one.
Why not support the guy who made the film? Instructions at the end of the video. And as always, feel free to suggest any horror-related videos for review by commenting, emailing me, or posting a link on the Facebook page! Thanks for reading!