Movie News

This Week's SATURDAY SHORTS are Horror-filled Nuggets of Awesome!

Published at: June 30, 2012, 3:13 p.m. CST by Muldoon

Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with a healthy serving of horror flicks that are sure to have you running out to buy a nightlight or two. Well maybe not, but I am pretty sure you'll dig this week's selection of shorts - a horror fest from some damn talented individuals and fellow Ain't It Cool readers. Since kicking off SATURDAY SHORTS back in January, I can definitively say I've received way more Horror and Comedy shorts than any other genre and I'm okay with that. Personally I dig horror films that seem more grounded in reality and today we've got quite a few of them, along with the more fantastical I know some of you ought to get a kick out of.

Thanks again for sending in your shorts week after week and don't be shocked if you send it in, say today, and don't see it up next Saturday - there's a solid chance that if it's truly something cool, it will be up a following week (or a full month later). And on that note, remember to feel free to shoot your opinions/critiques in the talk backs below (Just don't be a dick).

Go grab yourself some cereal, lock your kids in a closet, kill the lights, relax and check out this little weekly film fest we've got ourselves here:

NEXT CALLER

TRT: 16:35


To kick things off, let's ease into the horror realm with Patrick Rea's rather simple, but incredibly well executed short that taps into some other worldy craziness.

A late night radio (Allan Kayser, "Night of the Creeps) host encounters the supernatural.  Screened at "Shriekfest" and upcoming Chicago Fear Fest.

Next Caller from Patrick Rea on Vimeo.

 

DO NOT DISTURB

TRT: 14:31

Dig NEXT CALLER? Good, then chances are DO NOT DISTURB will find a nice spot in your film loving heart - another one from Patrick Rea, this timeit's a  creepy tale about a mysterious man hiding out in a hotel room and begins receiving messages from a secret admirer.   Screened at Atlanta Horror Film Festival and upcoming Chicago Fear Fest.

Do Not Disturb - Short Film from Michael Stine on Vimeo.

 

ENDING THE ETERNAL

TRT: 13:12

Up next is a short shot in by Justin McConnell from Unstable Ground, Inc.

Samuel Gradius settles himself in for a quiet night at home, unaware that the icy fingers of death are creeping into his apartment. Low-budget short film prequel to the upcoming feature 'The Eternal'. http://www.theeternalmovie.com.

 

OLIVIA

TRT: 12:40

Our next short was sent in by director Boris Undorf and honestly I think has some of the best acting I've seen a while. It's such an incredibly simple story and Boris nailed the casting.

A young woman receives a strange visitor who is convinced he's come to the right place.

Olivia from Boris Undorf on Vimeo.

 

40 YEARS

TRT: 13:43

Monsters, who doesn't love 'em? Russell Appelford sure as hell does and went out to make his own. 40 YEARS, is a fun short that absolutely "rocks." Oh man, I crack myself up... Seriously though, it packs a punch.

As a child, David witnesses the death of his younger brother. Forty years on, his days are haunted by a powerful nemesis.

40 Years from Russell Appleford on Vimeo.


WHAM! That's it for this week. I hope you guys and gals enjoyed these shorts as much as I did. Now it's back to the jungles for me! I'll see you folks next week with some more kickass shorts. If you're new to SATURDAY SHORTS and want to check out some other really cool shorts that have screened here, here's an evergrowing list of filmic fun:

Genre Explosions

Mixed Genre Bag

Mixed Bag

Horror/SciFi

Comedy

Mixed Bag

Horror

Genre Mix

Mixed Bag

Mix

Drama/Thriller

Mixed Bag

Comedy

Animated

Horror/SciFi

Comedy

Mixed Genre Bag

Drama

SciFi

Horror

SciFi

Animated

If you have a short and think it belongs here or are on the fence about whether to send it in, please do send it in - I'd love to see what you've put together. I've already seen hundreds of fresh new filmmakers' shorts and like any good addict, I need more!

Shoot me an email at "Mike@aintitcool.com"

In the subject line include:

“SHORTS” + “Your film’s name” + “The film’s genre”

Then, in the body of the email, please include a synopsis of the film and any contact information you might think I need or would want published.

Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times.  I swear to each of you I truly check every email I get, and sending the same short a few times just makes it a bit messier.

Remember, the filmmakers might still be in the audience, so feel free to share your thoughts in Talkbacks below. (JUST DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE). I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? How'd you like 'em?

 

 

- Mike McCutchen

"Muldoon"

Mike@aintitcool.com

  

Readers Talkback

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  • June 30, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Olivia.

    by SebastianHaff

    That was insanely well done. Whoever made that is fucking going places.

  • June 30, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Next Caller

    by Tigger Tales

    Love the casting -- Handsome Billy Bob could be the child of Danny Cooksey and Pulp Fiction's Eric Stoltz. The psychic won though, with her mannerisms and appearance reinforcing the traits that I've seen in "mystical" people that I've encountered here in California. The short would have benefited from not showing the footage of William passing out and his producer running in to check on him; instead, a fast forward to an epilogue (some weeks or months later) would have been a nice touch.

  • June 30, 2012, 4:53 p.m. CST

    ENDING THE ETERNAL

    by cyberuck

    The sound mix was terrible on this one, which makes an otherwise enjoyable flick tedious and confusing to watch.

  • June 30, 2012, 9:18 p.m. CST

    Only complaint...

    by AMchannelEpicwish@Youtube

    The runtime on these shorts. Feel the stories could have been shorter and tighter.

  • July 1, 2012, 12:42 a.m. CST

    AICN Saturday shorts — aka — Bad moons rising!

    by justmyluck

    NEXT CALLER While titles and music hearken back to THE TWILIGHT ZONE, this *episode* too bright an advertisement to conjure up the required chills. Tipped its hand early with answers from god. That, and similar reveals, should have been held until the end — suspending the audience's disbelief through a series of *prove its* in order to solidify the menagerie and final twist. Similar to a short posted here in March, LA HORA DE LA MUERTE, which involved a radio show caller going through purgatory. Casting was strong. DO NOT DISTURB Improved effort from Rea/Jones/Brown-Eagle. Compositions and imagery more assured, allowing the phantasm to keep one guessing. The beset-upon murderer's visions finally crossing over to the real world felt a stretch; "Together at last" perhaps better found written by hand on an un-shaking serving tray. Likewise, the coincidentally-timed news broadcast may have been better served as an appetizer or dessert. Considerable use of limited resources and a single environment, as with NEXT CALLER. ENDING THE ETERNAL PANIC ROOM WITH A VAMPIRE. Spurious premise saved by dynamic lead, makeup FX and smart dialog. Black comedy aspect could have been played up by focusing on the vampire's monotony instead of the break-in — leaving that moment to come as a surprise. Music and dialog need re-balancing to 0db. Stretching this to the proposed feature-length would benefit from less DRACULA and more LOVE AT FIRST BITE. OLIVIA Strong lead performance, wise use of tracking/lingering camera and the quiet moments build tension. Didn't need the coda. In fact, if this had ended with the lead waking up annoyed at the ringing phone, while a hand reached around to embrace her in bed — cut — *Baby, I'm on my way* — cut to black — the shock might have been maximized. Did remind me a little of the scene in Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING where Julie Harris complains about her *bed-mate* squeezing her hand. Appreciated the intimate tone of this, which never dipped into the sensational. 40 YEARS Generally enjoy projects like this which begin mid-action. Pre-viz/shot-planning shows, though symbolism for its own sake feels like a VFX reel at points. Left guessing at the end as to whether the man has gone insane since the tragedy, or if he was hallucinatory to begin with — not a good aftertaste. Production quality very high, well cast and directed; featured CG animation, solid/particle simulations & mo-cap performance leading-edge. The intended emotion was just suffocated by the bizarre. Overall this week = Don't be scared, it's only a movie!

  • July 1, 2012, 12:47 a.m. CST

    @justmyluck

    by Jarek

    From what I've read the expanded 'Ending The Eternal' takes place months after the short, and isn't just a retread of the concept of the short. Just a continuation of the vampire's story.

  • July 1, 2012, 1:10 a.m. CST

    @jarek: Okay, I'll check it out.

    by justmyluck

  • July 1, 2012, 4:32 a.m. CST

    OLIVIA

    by Glenn

    Why is no one calling bullshit on the story? The minute a strange guy shows up at your door a 2nd time at night, why aren't you calling the cops? Why isn't your bf telling you to call the cops? Story story story. Story. Does no one pay attention to story logistics and motivations? Jesus Christ. Sure, it looked good, it was acted well -- which means nothing if it's all at the service of nonsense. This was always the problem in film school, no one seems to pay attention to what's important.

  • July 1, 2012, 5:13 a.m. CST

    @rumourd

    by justmyluck

    It's established with the repeated calls to her BF, the *have something to eat*, *lock the door, take a Xanax, climb into bed* that she's codependent, or generally seeks and follows her BF's advice. The BF is occupied with work and, from his end, it sounds like she's overreacting to someone looking for an old tenant/owner. Not the most feminist take, but I wouldn't file it as bullshit, either.

  • July 1, 2012, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Muldoon...

    by PR Deltoid

    ...just lovin’ your Saturday Shorts. This has got to be the best feature on AICN; hands down!. No ‘fan-boy’ BS, no KIDD vs. whoever/whatever. Russell Appleford is a real talent, hope we see more of him soon. Keep this up Muldoon. Top of the class!

  • The ending of Olivia could've been tightened up; we're given too much time to dwell on the inevitable ending. A little shoulder stroking would be good-- but if it were cut down a bit the audience might just be allowed to wonder for a moment if this might be the boyfriend. (also I disagree about calling the cops; she was placated by the boyfriend, it's not a huge stretch that she would talk herself out of calling the cops. People do dumb things in life.) In 40 years, the scene when the little brother dies could be a little less ambiguous-- a close up of his head hitting a rock or something would've helped the emotional clarity and impact a bit I think. I don't know if you want people to be thinking, "huh?" at that moment as much as, "oh crap!" Great job, folks.

  • Seriously I love the retro feel of AICN but you don't have to redesign anything to make the site 200% easier to navigate. Just use link titles that make sense and assign some frigging context. Honestly..

  • July 1, 2012, 3:06 p.m. CST

    @Autodidact

    by Muldoon

    Thanks for the classy comment. Out of every possible way you could suggest that, you chose to imply that I'm a moron. Awesome. I quite honestly didn't think SATURDAY SHORTS would still be going this long - so that list has grown way longer than I anticipated.

  • July 1, 2012, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Horror?

    by Industrious Angel

    Not my genre BUT Thanks again Muldoon all the same! Somehow 90% of young filmmakers productions turn out to be horror, intentional or - ok, seriously now: "Next Caller": Was ok by me, the story not exactly groundbreaking but well executed. At first sight I thougt the use of a ultra-wide ratio strange, but the frames were used well, the juxtaposition during the interview scenes for example or the eye close-ups like in a Leone film. "Do Not Disturb": Didn't like it much (I usually like a character to identify with) but there's one thing about it I did very much like: The dark was dark. In most films (even top quality) dark scenes are lit far too brightly, at least for my taste. The screen ratio was not that good in this case, 4:3 would have served better since many scenes involved vertical elements (the whole hotel environment is rather narrow, would be pronounced by narrower screen too). "Ending the Eternal": Good Make-up and light. Bad costumes, and here the dark scenes WERE too bright. Low-budget fun, nothing wrong with it but nothing more. "Olivia": Stories about home intrusion are the creepiest if you ask me because we can relate; this was not very original but good. "40 years": Really very simple, but well "written" and cut. CG was very good and fitting. A fine example how a good cut can evoke emotions without any dialogue.

  • If you think I called you a moron, maybe you are a moron.

  • July 1, 2012, 11:11 p.m. CST

    @autodidact

    by Muldoon

    Either way, thanks for reading/watching. Great suggestion.

  • July 2, 2012, 2:29 a.m. CST

    OLIVIA part 2

    by Glenn

    Okay, people are not that bright in real life, or are co-dependent, or oblivious to the needs of their significant others. That right there is my problem, I guess. I don't like to see movies about dumb people. It's as frustrating as watching those terrible slasher movies where people do the dumbest things ONLY to serve the script and elasticize the movie's runtime to create some fauz suspense. Guess I'll stick to commenting on "All the President's Men" and things of those ilk. My bad.

  • July 2, 2012, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Suspense

    by Glenn

    Thanks for the (unneeded) lesson in suspense. i think we all know the oft-used hitchcock anecdote. However, suspense only works when you're not questioning the validity of the characters' choices. If you're busy wondering why they're so dumb and/or selfish -- and conveniently so just to draw out the running time -- then that ain't suspense. That's distraction.

  • *If you're busy wondering why they're so dumb and/or selfish* The bulk of THE EXORCIST is spent with Reagan's mother acting selfishly while cluelessly antagonizing doctors while we know all along, from the Max von Sydow intro in Iraq, that Reagan's possessed. *questioning the validity of the characters' choices* ALIEN has characters doing *invalid* things like hunting a beast alone through air vents or chasing after a cat before a spaceship explodes. Just two examples from major suspense/horror movies which dispute your claims. Lessons in suspense NOT unneeded. If you think OLIVIA was too dumb for you, fine. Believing that your opinion of it is a model for other movies is ridiculous.

  • July 2, 2012, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Suspense

    by Glenn

    "The bulk of THE EXORCIST is spent with Reagan's mother acting selfishly while cluelessly antagonizing doctors while we know all along, from the Max von Sydow intro in Iraq, that Reagan's possessed." How is Regan's mom acting selfishly? She does everything possible to help her daughter. "ALIEN has characters doing *invalid* things like hunting a beast alone through air vents or chasing after a cat before a spaceship explodes." Air vent scene isn't stupid, they're trying to find and flush the thing and it's not coming out into the open. If you believe this, then the following two sequels are just as invalid according to you. I'll give you the cat -- that's always been a sticking point with me. Lessons in suspense unneeded x2. "If you think OLIVIA was too dumb for you, fine. Believing that your opinion of it is a model for other movies is ridiculous." Gotcha. I judge other movies by other people's opinions, not my own. (Are you being serious?) My whole point is, in this day and age, we're so saturated with crime and murder stories that if the events in Olivia unfolded in real life, I don't think you'd wait for your bf to come home. You'd call someone, anyone. And you couldn't easily fall asleep. Hence, I was metaphorically screaming at my screen like I was watching a bad Friday the 13th movie. Did you make Olivia or something? Maybe that's it.

  • July 2, 2012, 6:57 a.m. CST

    Suspense again

    by Glenn

    Ohhhh...you thought Regan's mom was acting selfishly because she was antagonizing the doctors. I don't see that as selfish, I see that as Lionness protecting the life of her cub. Now if she was ignoring her daughter's sudden change, or fobbing of the responsibility off to Sharon (her asst) or others, then you have a case. Oh yeah -- Alien, once again: Why does that bit of logical screenwriting bother you, going into the air shaft? Are they supposed to wait until it comes after them? As Dallas states, they need to drive it into the airlock so they can blast it into space. Do you have a better solution? Seriously, lay it on me and I'll eat crow here in Talkback.

  • July 2, 2012, 8:03 a.m. CST

    justmyluck you sound like an idiot

    by Autodidact

    Just my two cents.

  • July 2, 2012, 1:59 p.m. CST

    The AICN talkback formula....

    by Jarek

    I love how every article on this site, no matter what, always ends up dissolving into bickering between users.

  • July 2, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    @rumourd:

    by justmyluck

    *How is Regan's mom acting selfishly? She does everything possible to help her daughter.* (THE EXORCIST) She's defined as a self-absorbed actress who's dismissive to her director, to her household help and to the doctors who try to help her child. The fact that she's protective of her child doesn't erase that behavior. Did you watch the movie? *Air vent scene isn't stupid, they're trying to find and flush the thing and it's not coming out into the open. If you believe this, then the following two sequels are just as invalid according to you. I'll give you the cat -- that's always been a sticking point with me.* (ALIEN) No, it's exactly the same criticism you had of OLIVIA - doing *invalid* things to draw out running time. In the case of ALIEN, trying to locate, chase and corner a beast through a series of hallways while effectively *blind* to its location. It was more successful due to the dark environment, claustrophobic set, disconnect between Dallas and Lambert's tracker directions and Goldsmith's brooding underscore. It's remains the same *milking* suspense once those elements are taken away. Since you don't need any lessons in suspense, you should be smart enough to pick that up, right? *Lessons in suspense unneeded x2.* ^^ See above. *Gotcha. I judge other movies by other people's opinions, not my own. (Are you being serious?)* I wrote that you thought your opinion on OLIVIA was a model for other movies, which was accurate. Did you read what I wrote? *My whole point is, in this day and age, we're so saturated with crime and murder stories that if the events in Olivia unfolded in real life, I don't think you'd wait for your bf to come home. You'd call someone, anyone. And you couldn't easily fall asleep. Hence, I was metaphorically screaming at my screen like I was watching a bad Friday the 13th movie.* That's your opinion and you're completely entitled to it. *Did you make Olivia or something? Maybe that's it.* (OLIVIA) Nope, but I understood that the lead character was defined as seeking and following her boyfriend's advice in a codependent way; needy enough to not call the police based on his advice. It's not like relationships like that don't exist. *Ohhhh...you thought Regan's mom was acting selfishly because she was antagonizing the doctors. I don't see that as selfish, I see that as Lionness protecting the life of her cub.* See (EXORCIST), above. *Now if she was ignoring her daughter's sudden change, or fobbing of the responsibility off to Sharon (her asst) or others, then you have a case.* See (EXORCIST), above. *Oh yeah -- Alien, once again: Why does that bit of logical screenwriting bother you, going into the air shaft? Are they supposed to wait until it comes after them? As Dallas states, they need to drive it into the airlock so they can blast it into space. Do you have a better solution? Seriously, lay it on me and I'll eat crow here in Talkback. * The air vents weren't a closed system, which is how the alien got in, and could get out. A team of at least two would be required, with flame-throwers let's say, to corner the target to a point where it could be dealt with, incinerated, directed to an air-lock, etc. You know, air vents aren't connected to air locks — there wouldn't be much air left if there was a connection. You don't think about these things much, do you? Crow is served.

  • July 2, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST

    Suspense 3

    by Glenn

    Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree then. I don't see the need for your nasty tone, however. You have a great vocabulary, though. I dunno, I guess I'm the idiot here for thinking The Exorcist and Alien are near-flawless films. The problems you've enlightened me to, were and are not issues I had when I saw them. However, the issues in Olivia were, so I called bullshit. It's a visceral reaction: Am I believing what I'm watching to worry for the people onscreen? Yeah, Chris McNeil is self-absorbed; it makes her a complex character when her personal life goes south. She is bitchy to the help sometimes; she's bitchy to her asst when the woman leaves her daughter alone with an alcoholic director; but she is nice to her at the party, hugs her at the end; laughs with her director on set, helps get him into a taxi; talks calmly with her daughter's doctor, takes the collective of doctors to task when they can't give her a diagnosis. Maybe you're not a parent and can't understand that kind of hopeless frustration. She's in the most severe situation a parent can endure. So I don't see her as JUST selfish, I see her as a complete human being, because her flaws don't overwhelm her compassion. As for Alien, yeah, you're right, I don't think about air vents and air locks. But they sold me, writing wise. I guess they didn't for you. Too bad, it's a great film. All the tenets of suspense you listed that Ridley used, is a model of how to do it. But I guess you thought Olivia did it better. As for co-dependent relationships rationalizing the character's behavior... I dunno what to say. In a movie, I'll take selfish but smart behavior over co-dependent and dumb, any day.

  • July 2, 2012, 9:09 p.m. CST

    "Don't Be an Asshole"

    by Muldoon

    Simple.

  • *Maybe you're not a parent and can't understand that kind of hopeless frustration.* (THE EXORCIST) Early in the movie, when Reagan's father doesn't call for her birthday, Reagan's mother takes it out on the phone operator in a very self-absorbed way, while her assistant picks up the mess. There's no *possession* presenting at that point. Reagan's mother is more cheery during the party she is hosting (keeping up appearances etc.), however the selfish outbursts continue until the world drops out from under her. That's Ellen Burstyn's arc. *I'll take selfish but smart behavior over co-dependent and dumb, any day.* (ALIEN) The air vent scene doesn't make sense for a additional reasons: - the alien got out of the air vent system anyway, even when it was *cornered* by those flimsy opening/closing irises; - If the crew could track the alien and lock it off somehow with those irises, they could contain it to a point where it could be dealt with en masse — instead of one person chasing it *blind*; - if Dallas is trying to get himself and the alien between an airlock, and an air vent which could somehow be sealed off, he's not wearing a space suit.

  • July 3, 2012, 12:29 a.m. CST

    Muldoon:

    by Glenn

    As you've been witnessing, some people can't seem to help themselves... As for Olivia's scope, what does that have to do with the topic of suspense? Yeah, Chris McNeil isn't an angel, but I already said, as you just did, that's her arc. Maybe she'll appreciate what's important after surviving this ordeal with her daughter. That's a great character arc. As for Alien and vents and locks, both of us will never know the official answer -- neither of us knows the lay of the land when it comes to the Nostromo's innards. As for not wearing a space suit, it seems logical to me that Dallas thought he had a shot at driving the thing thru the vent and into an airlock, whereby the could iris/close the shaft off there, trapping the alien next to the airlock door...then Dallas could retreat to safety...then they could open the airlock. Like I said, we'll never know. But there's enough there for believable plausibility in my book. And I understand you and I don't have access to the same book. Just, you know, please -- try not to be so caustic, it's not that big a deal. Go to happy hour. Take your chick to a movie. Chill out. It's a movie. Discussions about movies don't have to contain the same vitriol earmarked for politics, where the things you do say and hear can actually change people's current existence.

  • You could take your own advice. *As for Olivia's scope, what does that have to do with the topic of suspense?* Didn't you say, *All the tenets of suspense you listed that Ridley used, is a model of how to do it.* Intended scope. Budget. Resources at hand. This is why I consider the efforts taken to bring projects like these into being seriously — many indie shorts being borne of limited resources. You declared one *bullshit* in an unthinking way, based on a personal, subjective gut response [as you did, and stated so]. If you post a strong opinion like that, at least be prepared to back it up. If you can't, don't pretend to be dismayed when the flame's hot on your heels. Problem is, you're dicking around at this point; resorting to predictable as hell personal gibes to further waste my/our time. I'll make you a deal: I'll throw you the shovel and you can keep digging your own hole. *This is Ripley ... signing off.*

  • July 3, 2012, 2:17 a.m. CST

    Suspense 4

    by Glenn

    Wait a minute -- YOU made it personal and in a rather nasty, condescending fashion. Let's parse the examples: 1) "If you think OLIVIA was too dumb for you, fine. Believing that your opinion of it is a model for other movies is ridiculous." 2) "The fact that she's protective of her child doesn't erase that behavior. Did you watch the movie?" 3)"Since you don't need any lessons in suspense, you should be smart enough to pick that up, right?" 4)"I wrote that you thought your opinion on OLIVIA was a model for other movies, which was accurate. Did you read what I wrote?" 5)"You don't think about these things much, do you? Crow is served." Hm. Up until my last post, I was pretty direct and polite without any sarcasm. Scope/budget/resources only work if the script gets it right first; money won't buy you suspense. I think Alien got it right on all levels. You didn't think so. Agree to disagree. But I notice you didn't debate my last point. You're right, I declared bullshit based upon my personal gut feeling. Please, tell us what we're supposed to base our opinions on? Other peoples' reactions? By the way, visceral doesn't mean it bypasses the brain, but you seem to think it does. The reason for my personal gibe is, you were a jerk right off the bat. And a few people here have called you on it, too. I feel plenty fine with my opinion, my visceral reactions, my story interpretations, etc. You shouldn't be so ready to hand people a shovel... Btw, I didn't buy into the story of Olivia. In case you were wondering. Not for a second. Not even after watching it a second time. Not even after your intellectualizing it to death. Not even after I read what you wrote, which, yes, I did read. Not even after somehow filtering it through Dr. Frankenstein's mind-transference module so I could properly suss out the suspense through someone else's viewpoint. Not even after....ah fuck it. You're right. I just bit off all my nails hoping her douchey boyfriend would get home and save her, because, you know, women are so co-dependent. THAT'S a female I can root for. Screw Chris McNeil and the Alien crew -- this is a woman I can root for. I'm on the edge of my seat for her. Poor thing, has to keep answering the door for that psycho, making her ask the same question over and over, the cruel bastard!