Do you really need gas?
Having just gotten back from a road trip, I decided to immerse myself in several indie films that have been waiting patiently in my inbox. Just by coincidence, I chose to start with the one that reminded me of a stop on our trip, a stop at a gas station to be precise, totally in the middle of nowhere. The film is Used Body Parts, a short that appeared in October at Shriekfest here in my hometown Los Angeles. Luckily for us on that stop, no one ever came out to help with the gas — the girls in Used Body Parts were not so lucky.
Used Body Parts, written, directed and produced by Venita Ozols-Graham, packs quite a lot into an 8 minute short.
With nods to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel, and other similar genre movies, we find out why it’s not a great idea to stop at a deserted gas station late at night. The fear and tension begins right from the first minute and we already know this was not a good idea for our young ladies.
Shooting at night is always a challenge, and it was worth it in this movie. The neon colors at the gas station add to the creepiness, and everything about the cinematography was wonderful. Combine that with some great practical SFX and some believable acting by our young victims (Brigitte Graham and Jordan Elizabeth), Used Body Parts worked on many horror levels.
But I have to admit I loved the “Gas Man”, the guy that the girl should never have given her ID to. Played by a veteran actor I have seen at horror conventions, many movies and TV shows (including horror favorites Cabin in the Woods and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), Tim Dezarn was an intimidating character right from the start. Anyone watching would have to be thinking “No, don’t go in there!” But of course, our girlies do.
Used Body Parts is like the bloody 70s/80s gore films we’ve all seen, but so much more well done. The twist ending is not a huge surprise, but it worked, and I can see that they intend to make a longer film out of this if they have the chance.
Still working the film festivals (it won Best Thriller at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival and Best Special Effects at the Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest), the best way to see Used Body Parts (and I think it’s worth seeing) would be to go on their Facebook page and see where they are playing next.