Sunday, June 3, 2007


NIGHT OF THE HELL HAMSTERS (2006) On a dark and stormy night, Karl arrives at the house where his girlfriend Julie is babysitting. When Julie discovers that Karl has forgotten the Ouija board he promised to bring, she simply makes a makeshift board out of an alphabet puzzle, a shot glass, and a drop of Karl's blood. Karl calls upon a spirit with what he believes to be a made-up nonsense name. Unfortunately for Karl, his choice brings about a demonic force that possesses the family hamsters, and turns them into blood-thirsty critters with glowing eyes and a mischievous laugh. Karl is quickly taken out of commission, and Julie must take up the mantle of "final girl" if she is to survive the razor-sharp incisors of the hellish housepets!

In this ridiculously fantastic splatstick short film, first time director Paul Campion (whose visual effects resume includes work on LORD OF THE RINGS and SIN CITY) pulls out all the stops to weave elements of THE EVIL DEAD 2, THE BIRDS, GREMLINS, and especially the brief "killer rabbit" scene in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, all while taking production cues out of the official Ed Wood Jr. playbook. He even gets a little character development out of his actors before drenching them in red food colored karo syrup.

Now, Paul O'Neill and Stephanie Ratcliff to a fine job in their roles here, but it is the hamsters who obviously are the objects of affection in this little production. Post-possession, the real hamsters are replaced with obvious furry fakes, who are animated by easily visible fishing line and the puppeteering abilities of O'Neill and Ratcliff as they wrestle with the critters. These little furballs are not without a sense of humor either, as they laugh at Julie as she stumbles around trying to find them, or are compelled to roll around in a hamster ball before going in for the kill.

Minute for minute, HELL HAMSTERS holds up on the gore-o-meter with the likes of Sam Rami's DEAD trilogy and Peter Jackson's early film entries, as fingers are bitten off, hamsters are squashed and decapitated, and poor Julie gets a hemoglobin facial that would make Ron Jeremy or Peter North envious.

Campion has a winner on his hands here which has been making the festival rounds for eager fans waiting to get a glimpse at the madness he has built up. This will hopefully lead to more good ol' fashioned splatterrific fun or even a feature length redux of this short film. Hopefully this will find its way onto a short film compilation. This needs to be seen and lauded, as there are not very many things out there that only last fifteen minutes which are more enjoyable than.... NIGHT OF THE HELL HAMSTERS!

(NotHH Official Website)


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