We’ve previously covered two of Nate Thompson’s short films Cult Affairs and its sequel The Cult Leader. Now he’s back with The Dead Record, a new and unrelated, short. This time out Nate plays a record store employee named Louden who is working the closing shift. He’s interrupted by a courier (Kenny Urban) with a very late delivery for him. A delivery that comes with a warning, “This belongs to you now”.
It turns out to be a rare and presumed lost, record by an obscure band. Having never seen films like The Gate and Trick or Treat he and his friend Sammy (Dakota Musarelli) decide to listen to it. But when Sammy has to step out to take a call Louden decides not to wait for him. He finds himself in what looks like the mall’s staff area, but wherever he is he isn’t alone as something evil (Madeline Malice) is waiting for him.
Once again using minimal sets and a small cast Thompson uses lighting and camera angles to make the most of what he has to work with and turns those corridors familiar to anyone who’s worked in retail into a genuinely eerie place awash in the glow of red emergency lights. Except for the end of the corridor where whatever has summoned him awaits.
The Dead Record benefits from the actual record itself. From its slightly off looking jacket art to the actual music itself. It’s like a cross between old country music and a 1960 psychedelic album with some vintage commercials mixed in for good measure. It’s not what would be considered “spooky music” but it’s unnerving in its own way and makes a nice change from the usual goth or metal tracks used in a film like this.
At sixteen minutes The Dead Record is just long enough to deliver some suspenseful, creepy moments capped off with some solid jumps. And with very little explained there’s room to revisit the story at a later date, or even tie it in with his previous work.