Written & Directed by Josh Heisie
Starring: Dave Roberts, Johnny Quinn, Rick Cordeiro, and Robert Nolan
Theodore “Tubby” Ellsworth and Jack Smith are two criminals on the run, lost in the untamed wilderness. When they stumble across a mutilated prospector, dying on Indian ground, they promise to give him a Christian burial.The fugitives break their oath and steal the old man’s gold…but that night, the Prospector’s corpse returns to make them pay!
I love short films – love em. You aren’t given the luxury of a feature-length time frame to weave an engaging character-rich tale. You have 15 minutes to work with – so you have one chance to succeed. It might be a little unforgiving, but that’s the nature of the beast. Viewers want a concentrated dose of horror within that 15 minute parameter, something that grabs you from the opening scene and runs with it. Film maker Josh Heisie has done just that.
As fate would have it, a curse of its own might have plagued the set of this short horror film. Originally slated for a summer 2012 release, a number of issues pushed that date back. Curse notwithstanding, the film is finally complete and a blast to watch. This cautionary tale of greed and respect is perfectly set in the gold rush era of the old west. A murderous but simple-minded oaf pairs with a snake oil salesman that’s been given the bum’s rush out-of-town. When the duo discovers a dying prospector, they quickly forget his request for a Christian burial when the man gives them a giant bag of gold to return to his family. They leave his body on Indian ground, a place where dishonored bodies and dying wishes always end well. Their plans to enjoy the gold is cut short by the prospectors ghost.
This short was a labor of love and it’s all there in the finished product. The well-made film incorporates elements of horror, spaghetti westerns, ghost stories and maybe even a touch of Abbott and Costello sensibilities. In the end, it’s a fun film, one that flows easily and effortlessly despite the physical traumas endured during its creation. I kept looking for Robert Nolan, not initially realizing that was him under the beard, blood, and gross teeth. Nolan gave my website its very first interview, so I might be a little biased with his work, but the guy is a tremendous character actor and brings just the right amount of over-the-top justice to the film. The Prospector’s Curse releases in May, in the mean time check out the official trailer right here.