Wednesday, July 13, 2011

REVIEW: RITUAL, (Phantasm music video)

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If you haven't already heard The ADN Project's sweet cover of the Phantasm theme, I suggest you immediately give it a listen by clicking the link above, but then return here once you're caught up. The ADN Project's rocked-out rendition of Fred Myrow's theme has become a fast fan-favorite, garnering more than 14,000 views on YouTube and even enjoying a stint on the main page of the official Phantasm website. Now the man behind the song, Andre Noe, has directed and produced a music video accompaniment to ADN's cover that shines bright with the flare and production value of a short film. Read on for my review of his efforts.

Titled RITUAL, Andre's music video is a lovingly crafted tribute to the Phantasm series that incorporates multiple franchise character-types and elements (sleek black muscle car, sphere, coffins, etc.). I must first speak on the music video's fine cast, all of whom can be glimpsed above) and all of whom give terrific performances as their respective characters. RITUAL's sultry star is professional model Windy West as the Lady in Lavender, who plays her part with great relish and makes the whole thing a lot of fun. Actor Greg Bronson is her right-hand man, a gnarly gravedigger who spends much of the film looking scary while exhuming a coffin. The video's youngest actor, River Arik, is a very talented chap who makes for a convincing Mike Pearson. As a Mike-ish character, Arik is able to convey a range of emotions - apprehension, determination, curiosity and fear - all without having any dialogue. The final cast member is Greg Joseph, who's briefly seen as the Tall Man in several fleeting but satisfying shots. He, of course, gets the sole line of dialogue in the video, which you can probably guess what is. (Hint: It's one word!)

Everything in RITUAL from its acting to its technical merit is first-rate and of professional grade, which makes it better than almost all unofficial fan tributes, regardless of genre. About two minutes in, I found myself wishing I were watching a feature-length film and not a music video racing toward an all-too-quick end. Webb Pickersgill's cinematography is superb in every shot, from a silver sphere close-up that reflects neither camera nor crew (their method of achieving this is quite different from what Don Coscarelli used in the films and I'm still not 100% sure how they did it. I do have a theory, though.) to a shot of the Lady in Lavender staring into a mirror and seeing only the Tall Man reflected. Webb is aided by some incredible scenery that includes an eerie graveyard by night, a casket-laden mansion and a fogged-out courtyard. The quality of Andre Noe's direction is on high par with that of RITUAL's music, by which I mean it's fantastic. With direction this solid, one can only hope Andre takes a significantly longer foray into the horror genre the next time he steps behind the camera.

Simply put, I have nothing but high praise for Andre and his team's efforts. While the song itself has been available for a good while now, The ADN Project hasn't yet formally released RITUAL to the fan-base. Whenever they do make it available, you can be sure to find all the details right here. Considering how good it is, I can only hope it's soon.

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