‘The Picnic’ wins Halloween Video Contest

Oct. 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

BY MIKE GORDON / mgordon@staradvertiser.com

Whoever said life imitates art never met Deborah Glazier, the independent filmmaker who won the second annual Honolulu Star-Advertiser Halloween Video Contest.

She spun that notion around by turning to childhood memories — and her twisted uncles — for her creepy, point-of-view stalker video. The result earns her the $300 first prize.

Deborah Glazier, left, shows her daughter Elise photos on her camera as an unnoticed guest (Glazier's son Nicholas, 11) lurks under the bed in a posed portrait at their residence in Kailua. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jamm Aquino)

Deborah Glazier, left, shows her daughter Elise photos on her camera as an unnoticed guest (Glazier’s son Nicholas, 11) lurks under the bed in a posed portrait at their residence in Kailua. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jamm Aquino)

Our judges said Glazier’s “The Picnic” stood apart from entries that included ghouls, a mad bomber, alien abduction and an animated ghost. Still, they would have loved the real-life stories that inspired Glazier, who cast her two children and their babysitter in her winning horror short.

When Glazier was 6, she was deathly afraid of werewolves, Frankenstein and the idea that something evil was under her bed. (She should have been more afraid of her teenage uncles.)

One night, Glazier heard a wild animal howling outside her bedroom window. Then something jumped through the window and into her room. It was one of her uncles.
“He jumped in through the window and scared the living bejesus out of me,” Glazier said.

Another night, she stared at her closet door in her darkened bedroom, convinced the door was moving. She stared harder, unsure if the darkness was playing tricks on her eyes. But the door kept moving, ever-so-slightly until … Frankenstein himself roared out of the closet. It was an uncle.

And finally, on a night when Glazier had pulled her blanket tight to her chin, she sensed she wasn’t alone. To her horror, she realized the blanket was slowly being pulled away.

As she looked over the edge of the bed, Glazier could see her greatest childhood fear. The one she often saw in nightmares.

A hand. Reaching up. For her.

It was an uncle.

“I remember being scared out of my gourd,” Glazier said. “When you are 6 years old it stays with you.”

Making “The Picnic” was a lot of fun, even though she worked on it right up to the Oct. 14 deadline, she said.

Glazier’s video reminded judge Gerard Elmore, a local independent filmmaker, of the original “Halloween,” featuring serial killer Michael Meyers.

“I think the reason I liked it was because it used a lot of scary elements you see in horror films,” Elmore said. “The point of view and not showing the monster until the very end. The suspenseful music. It did all the things you are supposed to do in a horror film.”

Maui-born actor Wesley Freitas, who makes hilarious music video parodies in L.A., liked the hand-held camera aspects of “The Picnic.”

“There was an unnerving feeling from the very beginning,” he said.

Freitas had praise for the editing, too.

Glazier filmed her son walking along an eerie rock wall while searching for a missing soccer ball. Both the audience and the boy sense there is something else there as well, as Glazier turns two camera moves into one shot, Freitas said.

“It’s a really clever edit,” Freitas said. “My favorite part was when the filmmaker uses a rock wall to seamlessly transition to a shot behind the young boy. Great filmmaking.”

The runner-up video, “Party Crasher,” was a close second, both Elmore and Freitas agreed. The video from the local production companies TalkStory Productions and Super8Cowboys had the best production values but didn’t scare the judges as much.

“Party Crasher” was written and directed by Jason Lau and produced by Jess T. Johnston.

The story of a bomber whose chance encounter with a beautiful woman puts him in a quandary was shot on a Saturday afternoon on Fort Street Mall, Lau said in an email from Tokyo. It took a week to finish the slick post-production work.

“Everyone who worked on it just wanted to have fun making a Halloween film,” Lau said. “In my opinion, this is just another example of the local film industry pitching in because of our love for storytelling and making films.”

Although several teens submitted entries, none were entered in the student division, so no prize is being awarded in that category.

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