SUBCONSCIA [Short Film]

December 27, 2015

I love science fiction; Alien, Blade Runner, Terminator, Mad Max, Escape From New York,  Robocop, etc. Two of my strongest films had been in the sci-fi genre rather than horror (which my work is better known for) and I now wanted to see if I could make something set in space.

 

The basic idea of the film was that the crew of a spaceship would awaken from their hyper-sleep to find an alien being in their space-chamber (or whatever) and chaos would ensue. However, using that idea as a rough template, I wanted to just let my imagination go wherever it wanted to go, not stopping to figure out reasons or meaning behind the events and actions. I think that subconsciously everything that you can dream up has meaning, which is why the film is called ‘Subconscia’ (which is obviously a word I made up). This resulted in a bizarre and surreal film which I hope is entertaining merely for its visual, nonsensical and comic elements.

The script, which describes everything in the film (nothing was made up as we went along, though it may seem so), was only 2 pages long. I expected the film to run at under 10 minutes and was quite surprised when my final cut ended up being 20 minutes long. I was also surprised that at the end of my planned 8-10 hour shoot I had shot only half of the film. I’d expected to finish the whole film in one day (it was only intended to be a very short piece of nonsense filmmaking) but had to shoot a whole additional day. My actors did a great job of being weird and going along with all the weird things that I made them do. Charlotte Roest-Ellis was particularly distressed in her multi-role of characters I called ‘God’ and ‘The Devil’, especially during the hoover/rape sequence…

 

The set was put together very cheaply as -like always- I had very little money, and you can probably tell from the film how cheap the set was. I made it almost entirely from plastic sheets -which fell down constantly during the shoot- as I loved the effect of light on the plastic sheets in Extrasensory Perception. I wasn’t aiming to achieve some high-tech spaceship interior, though the exterior was hardly high-tech either.

 

 

 

 

I’d found a toy space ship (sci-fi fans may notice that its the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars turned upside down and slightly altered) and painted detail into it to make it appear old and rusty (I was going for a retro sci-fi look). I hung the ship from a clothes rail with black string in my attic and filmed it wobbling about a little bit. In post-production I slowed the clip down and color-keyed the black background (including the strings, well most of them) and placed it on top of background that was originally just a snowy/static TV image which I darkened and added a flicker filter to, making it look like stars in space. I then enlarged the background and made it slowly shrink and rotate in keeping with the movement of the spaceship.

 The ‘Red Planet’ was simply a melon I brought from Tesco and painted red, with black detail, filmed and edited using the same process. I did the spaceship explosion effect at the end of the film by placing a candle inside the toy spaceship and spraying deodorant at it, which was a bit dangerous and burnt all the strings that were holding the spaceship (there is an amusing outtake of this in the special features on the DVD).

It was a fun movie that I’m quite pleased with. Watching it is like watching something weird  straight out of my head, which is very entertaining for me, perhaps not for anybody else, but that doesn’t matter because I didn’t make it for them.

WATCH THE FULL FILM HERE:

 

 

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