I am a big fan of the huge 1920’s spiritualism movement. It was during that time that spirit boards, seances and mysticism reined supreme. Stories of old charlatans, black and white cartoons depicting ghosts and demons…I love it all. When a short film called PARLOUR TRICKS was sent my way, I was immensely excited. It heralded long pasty styles, humor and was exactly what I hoped it would be.

PARLOUR TRICKS is the debut short film from horror queen and beautiful burlesque dancer, Tristan Risk. It was a collaboration between House of Hiss and Bad Cookie Pictures. This delightful horror comedy was written and directed by our lady Tristan Risk and stars Sean Covernton as the hilarious Aleister, Tyler James Nicol as Edward, Mandy Mauchline as Millie, Shawna Mauchline as Hazel and kitty cat Frances as their glorious self.

My very first thought as PARLOUR TRICKS opened was, “Where can I get the number for their interior decorator??” Their parlour room is goals and looks eerily close to the decor I already have. That aside, the story follows 3 ungrateful and greedy family members who are trying to contact their great-aunt a year after her terrible carriage accident that killed her. She didn’t leave a will, and they are trying to reach her to find out who gets her estate.

While everyone was very funny, the seance leader, Aleister, was so enjoyable. He is silly without being over the top. Millie and Hazel are wonderful and play off of each other well for some really funny moments. Edward is the tamest of the bunch but keeps it anchored so it doesn’t become too cartoonish. The sound effects plus the acting were light-hearted and silly without taking it too far into the slapstick territory for a nice, yummy morsel of horror comedy that was just right. The petit-four of horror comedy shorts, if you will.

Lest we forget those behind the camera, from the press release:

“Also behind the camera, Cinematographer and Editor Jordan Barnes-Crouse (Extra-Ordinary Amy, Ghost Can, The Sleep of Endymion) and Producer/Production Designer Topher Graham (The Man in the Rabbit Mask, Punks Vs. Lizards, Madre De Dios) with additional support from Selena Raskin, Ben Gammound, and Burns the Dragon.”

The original score was composed by Kris Wood and the ADORABLE poster was made by Sean Covernton. I might need that poster on my wall some day, I love it so much. This short film is a big recommend. This black and white fare is cute, silly and gives us a taste of 1920’s spiritualism. Overall, PARLOUR TRICKS is the perfect debut film from Tristan Risk.

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