Tingle Monsters is a short film starring, written and directed by Alexandra Serio. After sweeping the film festival circuit and being screened at Cinequest, Final Girls Berlin, the Cleveland International Film Festival, and accepted into Oxford FIlm Festival, FilmQuest, Montclair Film Festival, and more, this short film is now available for streaming on Omeleto and Vimeo. Give it a spin below.
The film features an ASMR vlogger with a devoted fan base who returns from an extended absence with a live stream that spirals out of control. Through this context, Serio explores her belief that violence against women truly starts with words. Using the vehicle of an ASMR live stream, Tingle Monsters shows how what people say and think about women affects their real-world treatment. Audiences will witness the consequences of harassment turn dangerous both on-screen and off as her fans, who are watching it unfold from their own screens, comment live.
“I firmly believe that through gender parity and telling women-driven narratives we can begin to change the world. But we must start by taking a sobering look at where we currently are. Tingle Monsters aims to do that,” Alexandra Serio tells us.
The most common form of stalking is unwanted phone calls, text, and internet messages. The unconventional format of the film plays on this. Shot in screenlife format with no extra score or sound design, the film is designed to transport viewers into a scenario they are already familiar with—the harassment of women on the internet—ultimately inviting the audience to examine the link between what we say and think about women and their real-world treatment.
In 2014, Alexandra Serio founded Nameless Network, a production and media company that makes educational content for the smartphone generation. For Tingle Monsters, Serio was heavily inspired by her own experience making female-driven content and seeing the abusive comments that the female hosts received. They were attacked for everything from their voice to the way the looked.
Serio also drew inspiration from an Amanda Hess piece called Why Aren’t Women Welcome on the Internet for Pacific Standard. In the piece, Amanda shares her own experience with online threats of rape, death, and stalking. Says Hess, “None of this makes me exceptional. It just makes me a woman with an Internet connection.”