Mass Grave Pictures is back with… well, a whole ton of shit! The groovy production company’s new psychological horror film, Theta States, will screen as an official selection at First Contact Film Festival in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey this Sunday at 2:40PM. Find my review of that here and then purchase your tickets to the event here. But first, as part of its Dark Tales from Channel X web-anthology, Mass Grave Pictures will also unveil their latest micro-short Knock Knock as part of the Severed Horror Show in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania this Saturday. Find out more about the event here. I asked MGP for a screener of Knock Knock and they were kind enough to indulge me.
Nothing good ever comes from staying in a motel room or hotel room when you’re in a horror film. Just look at Psycho, Room 1408, and countless other titles. No one knows this better than The Pineland Murders‘ Heather Drew and The Jane Game‘s Kati Schwartz; as they play two women who are tormented by a strange force aggressively knocking on their hotel room doors all night. However, each time they look out into the hallway, nothing’s there… except blood curdling screams. Cult actress Deana Demko also appears as a quasi-host in this metaphorical, open ended three minute short.
But here’s what I took away from it as a viewer. Deana Demko’s role comes with a small monologue that’s very telling. She talks about opening doors and whether or not people have the courage to do so. To me, this signals a psycho-political idea that’s currently a major talking point across the nation. Half of ‘informed viewers’ are sheep to propaganda, mindlessly following whatever the media and politicians spew out. The other half is consumed by hatred and blindly follows whatever the media and politicians churn out because it fits with their biased and unwarranted views. Demko appears as a scarier version of an Anonymous member with a mask that’s a mock-up of Phantom of the Opera and Scream. While Knock Knock serves as a horror themed device that wants you to question your perspective on reality, it also serves as a cautionary tale about what evils you may find on the other side of that.
Knock Knock fits perfectly into the Dark Tales from Channel X series and everything else Mass Grave Pictures has produced, including Blood Slaughter Massacre and “Attack of the Brain People.” MGP has a definitive style, a retro feel from the 1980’s independent scene that doesn’t sacrifice quality and content for the sake of being hip. I always dig it. They’re one of the only companies that succeed in making that style work. Knock Knock is too short to examine from a production stand-point on any grand scale, but I will say that they did break the 180 degree rule at one point. That is realistically the only flaw here and most people won’t be able to spot it. Armed with the background knowledge on this short that I was privy to, I’d say one tiny error is quite the accomplishment from a few-hour shoot. This is a metaphor wrapped up in a tiny box of creepy horror goodness – so enjoy it!
Knock Knock was written, directed and edited by Manny Serrano with assistant director and producer Lindsay Serrano.
Final Score: 7 out of 10.