Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the horror short KEEP THE GASLIGHT BURNING (2017) by directors Dave and Lou Elsey. To best describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:
“A new maid begins to learn the stranger history behind her mistresses’ superstition of keeping the gaslight on and is offered a chance for riches, if she is willing to perform a few “simple” tasks.”
I am going to say this right out of the gate; this feels like a lost episode of “Tales from the Crypt” (1989) in all the best ways. The period setting and creeping sense of dread brought to mind some of the more experimental episodes that often had much higher production values. This short matched or exceeded the visuals thanks to the appropriate looking sets and the more modern techniques used to portray the apparition.
The story also follows similar beats to many of the more revenge minded episodes of the various anthology series that have cropped up over the years, so viewers are sure to have some idea of the general direction. While this might disappoint some because it will be familiar ground, I still thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings even if I knew where they were heading. I also felt like they had just the right amount of content for their twenty minute run time so as to do the story justice while never overstaying their welcome.
The acting is appropriate for the piece with a good balance of both campiness and restraint to keep the story chugging along. The two leading ladies are both excellent in their roles as they were serious enough to get us to buy into the horror of the short while also portraying the humor with equal ease. Watching Kate Armstrong Ross transform from the submissive maid to the more dominant role she took on was especially fun as it nicely mirrored the backstory of her mistress.
All in all, the story might be simple, but the bang up production values make this short an easy recommendation. The tone was well handled as it walked the fine line between campy and creepy with relative ease. Fans of anthology shows like the aforementioned “Tales from the Crypt” (1989) are sure to like this short.
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