Between the grieving husband (complete with photo of happier times) and the pale, white nightgown'd ghostly figure against a nocturnal backdrop of thunder and lightning, it feels a little like we're checking off items from the horror trope handbook
Which isn't really a bad thing, pastiche can be fun when knowingly paying homage to those horror signifiers. I'm curious to see what you'll do with them...reading on...
Nice little switch here at the end, flipping from supernatural to the real. A visceral image to leave us with and the disturbing notion of a vengeful father killing his two sons in this manner.
I want to give you the benefit of the doubt now and say you intentionally littered the build up with clichťs. Firstly, because it was a remorseful kid's dream and secondly, to hit us with that abrupt return to reality at the end. A reality far more horrific than any dream.
Itís suitably shocking, well played.Christmas Exorcist
Hmm. I'm not sure how this one finishes up. Youíve left us with many questions (which may be your intention).
I sensed there was a shift when Mark suddenly acquiesced and put his hands up. My suspicions fell onto Winston and that perhaps there was some alter ego type stuff at play. Given the seemingly distorted perspective of Winston compared to what the others see, that would seem to be the case.
So, did we just witness Winston's mental breakdown? If so, then how do you account for Davis? Alternatively, did the devil mess with their minds and have them both other its spell?
I don't know, I can only speculate because itís left totally unresolved (as far as I can see, please correct me if not) and thus somewhat unsatisfactory.
I should say that I'm not a someone who needs everything explained, I usually welcome a degree of ambiguity but here we are given very little. Nothing at all really.
I mean, did Winston actual commit these murders or did the devil orchestrate it all? In that, everything did happen as we saw it unfold during the script before it escaped Mark's body and left an apparently defenceless man in a Santa costume with a slain family.
However, Winston can see the devil right up to the end while the others can't, so again, this suggests some kind of psychotic break on Winston's part, it looks bad for him when back-up arrives...but then you would have to consider his motive. Why would Winston kill Mark's family and the priest?
Thus, in the end, itís basically the devil playing games, killing this random family and priest, only appearing to a couple of cops, taking one out while making the other look crazy (and possibly the perpetrator)
In other words, the devil is all powerful, itís merely toying with these hapless mortals and that just isn't very interesting to me. It lacks any real tension or sense of jeopardy if you have the antagonist (which, at least, to your credit, makes a change from the infallible protagonist. That's even more uninteresting) who can do whatever it wants.
I think it needs more than that, another twist or turn. Because right now, it just feels too easy, convenient.Ding Dong Ditch
This was very short. I was expecting more. There is a distinct Halloween feel to it (tilted stare included) and you craft an escalating tone of dread and suspense as we know there are more than just a few unruly kids banging on Lou's door.
Disappointingly though, it just ends. We have that release of horror and violence when the Masked Man confronts and dispatches Lou. The babbling rhyme works well too, very odd. However, there is something unsatisfying about that being all there is. Yes, you imply this madman is just going house-to-house picking of these suburbanites one by one but that's it. There is not much else going on. I know for a 4 pager I can't expect a whole lot I'm just not sure the point of it all, besides providing a couple of scares. It feels unfinished.Stalked
Again, this is rather short and ends abruptly. You obviously know how to set a scene, establish an intriguing situation. There is an explosion of violence...but then it just ends. Done.
In regards these last two segments, they feel more like opening scenes (such as the ones before opening credits roll) rather than stand alone pieces. Maybe this is your intention but I can't help feeling like they are missed opportunities.The Well
I know Iím sounding like a broken record now but this has similar underdevelopment issues present in the previous two segments. So much is suggested and intimated, many questions abound...and then it finishes.
However, this one is elevated above the others due to its innovative and genuinely weird and disturbing premise. I like how there is no protagonist here either, itís just evil turning against evil.
The initial jolt of dread when you realise Doug is not a family man, or a watchful parent. He is something altogether different and depraved. This is confirmed by his tossing of poor Cherry into the well, followed by masturbation into said well...which is (somehow) superseded by supernatural forces in the well! For that constant stepping up of horror/perversity, I have to applaud you, sir.
It then all culminates in that striking closing image of the bloated kids corpses rising up to exact revenge on their killer. Good work.Connective theme/tie in
Iím not sure I see one right now. I thought of suburban horror, that darkness which lies just underneath the white picket fence, but only 2 of the segments relate to that. It could be 3 if you move the Carpenterís house to the suburbs but the seclusion of that abode adds to the suspense.
Another theme, broadly speaking, itís that there is a haunting presence, supernatural or otherwise, terrorizing these characters. Of course, haunting presences are the bread and butter of most horror but I wonder could you include a similarity/parallel between each entity; the mom, the devil, the prowler, Edgar Flynn, the well monster, some link that binds them together. This might involve some back-story though which will add pages and, on the basis of these stories, youíre not too keen on explaining things. These evil forces are here and thatís it, no more elaboration necessary. I donít mean this as a criticism by the way, horror can often work better when it goes unexplained (Us is a good example of the perils of over explaining I think) but maybe in this context, given its anthology structure, could there be some common element drawn between the evilness?
Alternatively, you could have a character, a police officer for example, who comes upon the scene in each scriptís coda. Since all segments end with a murder(s) we can imagine that there will be some police investigation into them (although, The Wellís victimís may go undiscovered) Perhaps, all these stories happen within the same district, the same police officer is witness to their aftermath. A 6th and final segment could follow this police officer as he tries to find out what is going on...yep, severe haunting and gory deaths ensue!
Iíll leave that up to you.
Of course, this idea would only work if you take on board the previous suggestion regarding connecting the haunting presences.
Anyway, some interesting stuff in here. As I said, you have a knack for creating terrifying situations, Iím just not always sold on the follow through, or lack thereof.