Directed by Karl Holt
Produced by Darkline Entertainment
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” So wrote Paul the Apostle in Corinthians. Of course, sometimes those childish things don’t really want to be put away. What results is something worthy of an episode of “Twilight Zone” with homages to horror movies and the inner desires of most adults thrown in for a thoroughly enjoyable short film from England.
When a man decides to go through his collection of stuffed toys and get rid of the ones that are either ragged or just unwanted, he comes across “Eddie” (disturbingly portrayed by a Tickle-Me-Elmo). The torn friend from his childhood seems tattered, but his shrill little laughing voice box still works fine. Even as he tosses the doll into the garbage bin, it giggles and repeats that all it wants is a hug and that it loves his former owner. Later that night Eddie shows up on his doorstep in what appears to be a practical joke from a friend. When he finds the remaining stuffed animals sacrificed in a fiery hell in the back yard, it becomes apparent that this is no joke. What follows is a disturbing and hilarious game of cat and mouse between human and muppet in which Eddie tries to gain revenge for being literally dumped.
At just 25 minutes long and made for under 250 British pounds, this film is a testament to amateur filmmaking. What is done in this short with camera angles and lights could teach the Hollywood set a thing or two about how to create a creepy vibe. It has won numerous awards, including “Best Cinematography” at the Portobello Film Festival and numerous “Official Selection” and “Audience Choice” awards from festivals in both England and America. Darkline’s puppetry skills were also brilliant enough to get them nominated for the award for “Best FX” at the Eerie Film Festival.
The human actors turn in good performances, especially when the Narrator cracks and starts throttling the toy (as any parent has wanted to do for years). While the Narrator and the “Dirty Priest” do a fine job, the real star is Eddie himself. What is commonly considered a kid-friendly icon turns in a tour-de-force performance as a psychotic killing machine the world has not witnessed since Tony Curtis traded in his ladies’ man looks to play the Boston Strangler. Of course, it’s only impressive if it’s acting. I’ve long suspected the little red bastard was evil since day one. “Fine acting” say some; “typecasting” says I.
Perhaps the director is right when he says this movie is best enjoyed with a group of friends. Playing this for a group of sober, intoxicated, or otherwise impaired folks will undoubtedly result in howls of laughter. But when the giggling is all over and everyone goes home, viewers will be left in the dark wondering. Is it really wise to put away childish things?
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