CONDUCTOR Short Film Review – Hip Hop Horror That Isn’t Common

By Drew Tinnin

conductor MPC808 poster 073018 610x915 200x300 - CONDUCTOR Short Film Review - Hip Hop Horror That Isn’t CommonStarring Michael Maclane, Kelli Jordan, Joshua Canada, Nora Nagatani

Directed by Alex Noyer

Back in 2015 at SXSW Film Festival, I happened to catch a documentary about the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine – a device that spawned the birth of electronic music and greatly influenced the future sounds of Hip Hop. The producer of this inspiring film, Alex Noyer, has combined his fondness for sampling and beat-making with his love of gore to direct the short film Conductor that’s been picking up buzz at various film fests across the world. The film just premiered at Shriekfest in Los Angeles and will also play at Morbido Fest in Mexico City later this month.

Josh (Maclane), an aspiring musician, has a chance to win a new, state of the art drum machine at a mall contest where the best beat wins. With a waiting, impatient crowd surrounding him, Josh stumbles at first on the sample pads until a mysterious girl from the crowd named Alexis (Jordan) gives him some sound advice. In a horrifyingly gory crescendo, Josh realizes that he’s only the puppet in a macabre maestro’s devilish vision.

The graphic effects work by Robert Bravo are really the standout of Conductor, employing a crude rope and pulley system to inspire numerous cuts, punctures and drills that find countless ways to maim and dismember. All that blood and latex turns a pristine suburban mall and the established safe environment that defines American consumer capitalism into a torture chamber that rips away that facade while simultaneously parodying it by showing the bloody production in a storefront window display. Imagine a What-If Scenario where Andrew McCarthy from Mannequin was actually a protegé of Tobin Bell in Saw II and you’ll start to get the idea.

Some of the best horror shorts wind up serving as an effective calling card for its director and, while I don’t know if Conductor could be drawn out to feature length, Alex Noyer should definitely garner some attention for his efforts here. As you know, we love to shine a spotlight on short film here at Dread so you guys can underline a couple of up and coming filmmakers you may want to keep an eye out for. Judging by the output transmitted from Conductor, Noyer just may wind up being on your list.


  • The Conductor


Alex Noyer’s festival hit crafts a bloody beat.