Delve Deeper

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tom Sullivan reviews The Vessel...

Welcome to the Infinite Abyss...

Here is the latest installment of Tom Sullivan's Reviews of the Infinite Abyss (a feature from the old site), written exclusively for Among his many accomplishments, Tom Sullivan is the fx legend behind Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films and was a contributing artist for Chaosium's classic role playing game The Call of Cthulhu! Tom is currently acting in a variety of films and writing a comic book mini-series called Tom Sullivan's Books of the Dead: Devilhead...

The film is: The Vessel
Short film: 25 min
Directors: Jason Voss and Robert Rundle
Writer: Jason Voss
Producers: Jason Voss and Robert Rundle

The Vessel
may not actually be a Lovecraft film. It has more satanic elements than part of the Mythos ol' H.P. dreamed up out of his complex imagination. That being said, filmmakers Voss and Rundle have done what I haven't yet, and that's make a movie.

However it seems to be an early effort and I am sure these enterprising artists see the flaws in their film as I do.

The story seems awfully familiar and sadly lacking in originality. As a learning experience that’s forgivable and I am sure they are improving with greater dept and skill.

It's about a young woman, Katrina played by Stacy Smith, who shoplifts a book from a used book store. Although the book looked kind of familiar to my Book of the Dead from Evil Dead, thankfully its original art and look are among the highlights of the film.

Katrina meets a friend, Jeff, in an abandoned building and she creates a ritual circle to summon a demon. Stacy's performance here was wonderfully energized. Although Katrina recites a number of names none of them sounded like Lovecraft Gods and the circle seems to use Latin.

Unless you are in the circle you are not protected. Her friend, Jeff, performed by Christian Hammel gets brutally murdered offstage by the demon.

I'm afraid the demon costume let's the film down. In its brief appearance it resembles the thing on the wing in that classic Twilight Zone with a paranoid William Shatner in the window seat. It sadly lacks the menace it requires and the off stage murder is done with Jeff's hands in writhing in agony from behind a doorway.

As for Katrina she learns you don't always want what you ask for.

The pacing is what really slows the enjoyment down. Long scenes of Katrina walking stop the flow of the film. Transitions are an acquired skill and I'm sure Voss and Rundle will pick it up in a future in film making I hope both follow.

While I can't recommend the film if you are looking for Lovecraft in all the right places, I want to encourage Jason and Robert to continue honing their craft. I see something there but it's not gelled yet.

Let's see more.

- Tom Sullivan

© 2009 Tom Sullivan


  1. Robert Rundle has done more, look up "Hell's Paradox". The slow pacing was Jason Voss' fault, he just wanted to milk every minute of every scene and non-scene. Robert loves Evil Dead and, yes, that's where the book got it's look from, but apart from shooting and lighting the film Robert is not really responcible for the editing and direction of it.

    1. Julia, your way outta line with this stupid comment. Robert edited this film at his own pace, on his own computer. The final edit was in his hands. You wanna blame me for the slow pacing? Blame Robert. He fought me during editing, because he wanted to show off his camera work. I wrote the script, cast the lead actor, produced the film, created the monster, decided on the music, got it screened. But yeah, in your mind of course, anything good was all Robert, and anything bad was my fault. You don't know anything. And by the way,Hells Paradox was a piece of crap.


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