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DVD: Puphedz - The Tattle-tale Heart (2002)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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Elite Entertainment 
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1 (NTSC)

February 4, 2003



Genre: Horror Comedy  
A re-telling of the famous Edgar Allan Poe tale, re-enacted with puppets from the "Puphedz" troupe.



Directed by:

Jurgen Heimann
Screenplay by: Terry Mann
Music by: Jim Kundig,  Jurgen Heimann
Produced by: Jurgen Heimann

Jurgen Heimann,  Ryan Vaniski,  Ryan Vaniski,  Irit Lockspeiser,  Mark R. Leins,  Janet MacGregor,  Jorge Falconi,  Scott Millenbaugh,  Connie Angland,  Andrew Rubio,  Scott Brines,  Georgina Santelises,  Mike Elizalde,  Steve Sherman,  David Howe,  Valek X. Sikes,  Frank Langley,  Derik Wingo,  Anthony Van Winkle,  John Shea

Film Length: 61 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.33:1
Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages:   English (Mono)
Special Features :  

Short Version (26:40) / Long Version (33:39) / Featurette: "Carving The Truth Out Of The Puphedz" (16:06) / Slide Show (0:56) and 4 character bios / USA, Euro and Teaser Promo for "Puphedz"

Comments :

Winner of the Best Animation award at the 2002 Los Angeles Screamfest Horror Film Festival.

"Puphedz" is a travelling puppet troupe, starring Woodrow J. Larchbottom III, Douglas "Chip" Fir, Peter Feidwood, and Leif Applebaum - four intricately carved and highly stylized human puppets enacting their own twisted version of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," presented in a 'ready for Prime Time' version, and a longer cut, on Elite's attractively designed DVD release.

Since the market for short films remains a challenging venue for independent filmmakers, DVDs offer these works another route for exposure, with added features identical to standard studio releases. Shot on digital video (aka "Hedz-O-Vision"), Elite's DVD presents two crisp versions of "Puphedz": the longer adds several scenes of Our Mad Hero in a padded cell, tormented by a malicious jailer, a bee, and God's Mighty Finger, plus wicked gore for those tired of puppet films that just don't go the extra mile these days; the 'PG' version has better pacing, but adds fluttering gloves and onscreen text to smother gore for the kiddies ("Don't Look! Yucky Stuff!").

A documentary covers the basics of the film's pre-, post-, and production stages, with interviews from Executive Producer Jorge Falconi, Cinematographer Mark R. Leins, Puppeteer/Associate Producer Ryan Vaniski, and Producer/Director Jurgen Heimann (at home in the kitchen, shaving in the bathroom, and changing the family sedan's tire, so we know he's just a regular Joe).

Inspired by old radio shows from the forties, and the visual designs of the silent classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," the evolution of "Puphedz" is concisely covered through film clips, stills, drawings, a few outtakes, and a breakdown of the beautifully constructed puppets. There's also a short piece on some of the CGI effects used via an off-the-shelf PC workstation, used to remove the rods and strings that enabled the puppet's humanoid gestures - a nice example of Big Screen technology that's now available for any independent filmmaker.

A cheeky 'cast bio' gives short backgrounds on the four star puppets (see, they're real), and a slide show glides through production stills. In addition to a short teaser, there's the U.S. trailer patterned after Universal monster flick campaigns, and a European trailer that parodies Alfred Hitchcock's tour of the "Psycho" house (substituting Hitch's rotund presence with a helpful, Looney Tunes yellow glove).


© 2002 Mark R. Hasan

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