Have you ever stumbled into a new hobby or fandom? Maybe had a passing interest in something, and found out there’s an entire subculture devoted to it? It can be pretty intimidating. Say you liked the first Iron Man movie, and you wanted to get into the rest of the Marvel movies. After a little digging around, you might find a person who tells you that you need to consume 10 other movies, 2 seasons of a tv show, and 50 years of comic book back story to REALLY know what’s going on. They’ll probably tell you that you should buy some of those vinyl bobble head things, too. This is the frustrating thing with fandoms. It’s not really just about liking something, it’s about liking it the most. It can turn into an absurd competition over who can devote the most of themselves to their recreation. Alfred Giancarli’s short film, Don’t Despair, deals with a particularly extreme case of this surrounding serial killer culture, and the perverse desire to experience nostalgia over actual tragedy.
We open with Rachel and William, a couple of twentysomethings, meeting in a coffee shop to discuss how they met on a serial killer forum on the internet. William says he’s intimidated because Rachel is “Queen of the Forum”. I’ve spent some time in online forums, and in my experience, that means that she’s probably the only female on the forum, and the rest of the neckbeards that post there alternate between arguing over who called dibs, and sending dick pics to her inbox. I guess it’s worth noting that Rachel seems to be pretty well versed on serial killer trivia, and even has an extensive collection, which is the envy of the forum. She is meeting with William to discuss the purchase of an adult magazine that belonged to their favorite serial killer that depicted his final victim. She gets all hot and bothered, and after running her fingers over the pages, tells William that she can “feel him”. William, sensing that this could lead to some heavy making out, is all like “uh, yeah… I think I can feel him, too.”
They then get in her minivan, and go off to check out the crown jewel of her collection. I love the fact that she drives a minivan. I don’t know why, but it’s just this girl who is trying so hard to come off as spooky and weird, driving the most suburban soccer mom type car that there is. I wish more things had this trope. I want to see a serial killer driving around in a wood paneled station wagon. I’m not alone in this, am I?
The short ends on a pretty good reveal on the true nature of Rachel and her collection. I’m not going to spoil it here, since it is better going in cold, and this thing is only like 16 minutes long, and deserves a watch. It’s a solid ending to this little story. I’d recommend this. It’s well shot, well written, and aside from a bit of hamminess from the female lead, pretty well acted. Take a few minutes out of your damn day and watch it.
-You can find Johnny talking about spooky public transportation on Twitter