Putting my work out there on the web for the potential consumption by anyone that should happen to stumble across it has opened up new doors. It has allowed me to gain access to films the average person would never see. Such is the case here. I received a DVD collecting a number of short subjects from director Jay Holben. Included were three short films, one very short film, and a couple of commercial spots.
The first place I headed after popping the disk in the drive was the "Additional Materials" area. This section contains the very short film and three commercials. Let's take a look at these pieces.
- Maxim "One Night Stand." This is a 30-second short for Maxim magazine. The spot employs a series of still images and then animation. As my first taste of Jay, I didn't find this terribly impressive. It is successful at making any guy want to check out the magazine, but not a good way to judge the man's ability. Moving along.
- Guinness "High Noon." The story behind this has Jay with some equipment and some free time. He decides to fill that precious time with the production of a commercial. This time it is a 60-second spot for Guinness. It is a clever piece, putting beer bottles into a Wild West style shootout. Of course, the Guinness comes out on top, with the final shot showing the bottle with a smoking bottle opener. The look is grainy and worn, like an old film, and it was backed with the classic music from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This was fun. Probably the best of the three commercials.
- Sharpie "Oops." Rounding out the commercials is this 30-second entry for the maker of permanent markers. I didn't find this to be all that outstanding, but that didn't keep the humor of the situation from sinking in. Let's set the stage. You’re at a bar waiting for your buddy to come back. A hot woman walks up, whispers in your ear, and proceeds to write her number on your palm. She leaves and your friend returns, handing you a beer. What is the "oops" of the title, you ask? You took the wet beer bottle in the hand with the number, making the number unreadable. Should have used a Sharpie! Again, it was nothing special, but I found the situation humorous, thereby making the commercial effective.
- Hunger. This is an interesting piece. It is a horror film that is finished in 60 seconds, including credits. Not enough time to really give a story, but plenty of time to induce the creeps. This was made for, I believe, AMC. There was a series of one-minute horror shorts to air in between classic horror marathons. This was Jay Holben's submission, and it is pretty darn creepy. A man wakes in the middle of the night. Strange noises are emanating from the shadows. He walks out of his room and finds a man cowering there. He asks him what he's doing there. He says he's hungry as he turns his head to look up. He is not alone; our good guy is struck from behind and the two things start to eat him. It ends with a young girl entering the room asking, "Daddy?" What a way to end — the way the two things look up and the look of absolute terror on her small face. On the surface, this has a bit of a cheesy feel to it, but the way it ends will send chills up your spine.
After viewing each of them, I went back to the main menu and watched the meat of the disk, three films ranging from 8 to 20 minutes in length. This is where the real entertainment was to be had.