The Long and Bloody Weekend (2015) Short Film Review

‘The Long and Bloody Weekend’ (2015) Short Film Review

Director / Writer: BC Furtney

Starring: Jason Winn ‘JB Destiny’ Bareford, Jennifer Blaze, Michael Kolence

Runtime: 14 mins

Production Co.: Weekend Film

‘He thinks he’s hunting a monster…she thinks he’s insane…one of them is right.’

‘The Long and Bloody Weekend’, on limited release in the US last month, tells the story of a cabin-dwelling loner known only as ‘Del’ (Bareford), who appears from the get-go to be frantically nervy about some kind of presence lurking in the surrounding Texan woods. Polishing, cradling, and at times firing his shotgun, and shouting in frustration at the countryside around his house, we are unsure what manner of creature may or may not be haunting him (and indeed possibly feeding on others), but soon local woman Mary is embroiled into his paranoid behaviour and a frantic struggle ensues…

This short was written, directed and co-produced by BC Furtney, whose other work I’m not familiar with (namely last year’s ‘Werewolf Rising’, which he also directed). Having not seen his feature-length offering I was unsure of what to expect here, but sadly on viewing I was ultimately underwhelmed. Starting with the positives, the piece is capably acted, and the camera work delivers some imaginative angles which accentuate Del’s paranoia and obsession with hunting down the vicious creature before it decides to strike again. The prosthetic effects and costume work are also good considering this is a low budget short and the creature seems to be giving an affectionate nod to the familiar inhabitant of the Black Lagoon.

However, the production does suffer firstly from some sound mix issues – the dialogue in the bar scene was hard to hear in particular. Also, the use of a heart beat sound effect isn’t the most original way to heighten tension, even if it achieves that goal. Disappointingly I found there was an aura of leeriness too in it in terms of the female character and how she was filmed – I really fail to understand why we had to see her in bra and knickers for the main part of her screen time, unless we’re to believe the creature itself has stipulated its meals must only be underwear-clad before it can devour them?

Yes, female nudity or semi-nudity is a long-standing trope of the horror genre but I believe we’re past the point now where it can still get away with cropping up gratuitously even for the sake of irony or ‘proud’ tradition. At least she’s a bit feisty and has a good crack at escaping I guess…

Overall, I just feel ‘The Long and Bloody Weekend’ didn’t offer anything original in terms of concept and the characters felt very flat and cardboard cut-out – admittedly it’s harder to develop characters and flesh out absorbing dialogue in a short than it is in a feature-length offering but it is possible (e.g. the weary yet determined Lily in ‘A Stranger Kind’). On the whole I found it to be an offering that’s not terrible but unfortunately just left me pretty cold personally.

4/10

Werewolf Rising Special Part 2: The BC Furtney Interview

BConset2Werewolf Rising Special Part 2: The BC Furtney Interview

After interviewing Werewolf Rising star Melissa Carnell (Click HERE to read) , UKHS is thrilled to feature an interview with its director/writer BC Furtney. In it he talks about how he came up with the film, shooting issues and interestingly reveals that the UKHS review of the film exposed that the UK release has been cut without his knowledge…

UKHS: Not only are you the director of Werewolf Rising you are also the writer: which role came first you for?

BC: It was sort of a package deal. The whole thing began when our producer, Jesse Baget, called and asked if I had a werewolf script. I confessed that I didn’t – Werewolf Rising is technically my first creature feature. Usually I write about bad people doing bad things. So, I accepted the challenge and got started on this monster story. I write fast, so it was finished in a weekend. After a couple weeks of tweaking, we had a shooting script and it was kind of a given that I’d direct.

bconset3UKHS: As the writer was it easier to translate from page to screen when you directed?

BC: It was easier to think on my feet under a tight schedule, having the characters already so set in my mind. There are always subtle differences in the translation from page to screen, sometimes that’s just production logistics. Wearing both writing and directing hats really just feels like the natural progression and completion of the story that began in a solitary room somewhere. Suddenly, you’re under bright lights and surrounded by people, but the ones who walked off the page are the reason everyone’s there. It’s always exciting to see the writing come alive. It always has been.

WerewolfUSposterUKHS: The film is loaded with great actors, Melissa Carnell (Emma) has a bright future. How did she get involved with Rising?

BC: She’s great, isn’t she? Melissa’s one of the most intuitive actors I’ve had the pleasure of directing. I actually learned a lot, just watching her step in and out of Emma. What happened was, Baget and I were kicking around names and we both had our short lists for Emma, but no one really seemed to encompass what I saw in my head when I was writing her. When I saw her, I knew we had our Emma. It’s funny and you can’t really tell in the film but for some reason a snowstorm in the area avoided our mountain, but the whole area was buried by a blizzard, the highways to the airport were closed and everything. When Melissa flew in, the closest they could get her was an airport across the state, at night, in a snowstorm. So just getting her to the set was this epic journey. I feel like we bonded before cameras even rolled. She’s a total pro.

bconset4UKHS: Bill Oberst Jr is one hell of an intense actor, are you pleased by his powerful screen presence in the film? Did it take a lot of direction or was it natural?

BC: It was a definite honour having Bill involved. With an actor like him in a role like Rhett, as a director, you just kinda let off the brake and let him play. There wasn’t a whole lot of deep philosophical pondering for either of us, I don’t think. Maybe a nudge this way or that, to nail the right tone at the right moment, but Rhett was so clearly written and Bill’s such a force onscreen that we just breezed right through it. It’s always an easy and fun night with Bill Oberst on set. Working with someone like him is truly one of the perks of this gig.

BConsetwithCarnellCopkoUKHS: Emma’s battle with alcohol seems to be an allegory for her battle against the evil in the woods (or the other way around, even): how did you come up with this intriguing parallel?

BC: You’re right, the battle for self-control that rages inside Emma exists in direct parallel with the lycanthrope situation in the woods, and in a sense it’s suppressing something else that’s going on. I don’t want to give anything away, but that monkey on her back simultaneously mirrors and supplants a whole other problem. It was also a way to introduce Emma into this dark playground with one arm tied behind her back, so to speak. In the horror genre, it’s always more fun to turn the screws on a character who’s not at full strength to begin with, isn’t it?

WerewolfRisingUKHS: Werewolf Rising will go on sale in the UK on Sept 8th. What are your hopes for the release?

BC: My hope is simply to provide 80 minutes of escapism for horror and/or werewolf fans who might be hungry for a new beast to emerge from the shadows with an unquenchable bloodlust. And if we can make ’em laugh a little bit or think a little bit along the way, even better. I love a marauding monster as much as the next guy, but there’s also a people story at play – albeit a really dysfunctional one – and hopefully it will speak to viewers as much as the mayhem. Sales would be nice, too!

Also, in the UKHS review you mention Emma downs a bottle of vodka and wakes up sober minutes later. Thats not how the scene actually happens! What does happen is that after Emma pounds the vodka, she wakes up drunk and crawls to the window and passes out again. Then she wakes up a second time, later on, with the worst of the vodka having left her system, or at least that’s what was meant to happen.  I hope to get the cut reinstated for a second pressing in the UK. The US release is the full movie.

James Simpson and UK Horror Scene would like to thank BC for giving us his time and sharing his insights on the making of Werewolf Rising.

Werewolf Rising is out Sept 8th (although other places report Sept 22nd), on DVD: Click HERE to pre-order from Amazon