Weekend Fright Flick Exclusive: Haselwurm

Okay, so this short film was scheduled for the weekend, but I ran late with it. I decided to post it anyway, because it’s such a cool film — short but punchy and very weird. Call it a Midweek Fright Flick…

Haselwurm (Italy-2011; short [15 min.]; dir. Eugenio Villani)

Haselwurm is a a short fantasy/horror film inspired by folktales originating in the region of Trentino, Italy, and by H.P. Lovecraft’s weird tales. It tells the story of a man and a woman who, while investigating an ancient mystery in a remote mountain locale, kill a strange creature with a stray rifle shot. The consequences of this reckless act are terrible and the price they have to pay is high …

The aim of the production, according to the press release, was “to make something that pays homage to monster movies” and diverges from the sort of thing being produce in Italy in recent years, instead harking back to the good old days. In early 2010, director Eugenio Villani asked for a script from David Chance Fragale, who would also conceptualise the make-up and monster effects.

Shooting on location in the Trentino mountains seemed like an inspired notion, as the region is full of atmosphere and spectacular scenery — though it also meant that the production was plagued by “sudden weather changes” and overly tight deadlines. Post-production, including a raft of visual effects, were completed in early 2011.

“The purpose of the [project] is to raise awareness of the recovery of Italian genre cinema, gone many years ago, without giving up a touch of experimentation, trying to give emphasis to the legends of the area in which we live, legends that increasingly are being forgotten, and to pay homage to those foriegn authors of supernatural stories who have always had a big following in Italy, such as H.P. Lovecraft, W.H. Hodgson and Arthur Machen. The result is something that resembles the end of a longer movie, with the resolution of the fate of the protagonists but not the whole story of what happens before.” (Press release)

Fragale (pictured above) commented that the story of what led to the events of Haselwurm may be told in the future. Indeed he considers the film a first step towards creating a strong team that can continue to work in short films or even longer stories with fantastical themes. “We are working on new projects,” he admitted. The question is, will one of those projects be a feature-length version of Haselwurm.

Longer Synopsis:

A man and a woman kill a mythical creature. The reasons are unknown and remain unknown, but they probably lie in the fabled magical properties that the creature is said to give to whom manages to eat it. The man shows immediately the effects of the bite of the beast and the woman is forced to drag him in a makeshift shelter. Night falls. After struggling to calm the pain of the companion, the woman finds herself talking to herself, recalling the powers of the Haselwurm, until sleep comes. When she wakes up, the woman realizes that she cannot abandon the creature’s body and runs to the place of the horrible crime. Meanwhile, the man begins to suffer the most incredible metamorphosis. The story ends with the woman discovering that Haselwurm has disappeared and that the man has turned into a new creature, perhaps a reincarnation of the killed animal. Now, she must take care to pay for the hurt done to nature and to the mystery that has always lived among these mountains…

Above: Director Eugenio Villani

Head over to the Cinema of the Backbrain to see the short film. It is available in two formats: via Vimeo and in two parts via YouTube.

The Gallery below includes conceptual artwork and more images from the film.

Source: David Chance Fragale via Avery Guerra; Press release.

Further information: Haselwurm website; IMDb.


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