Monster Short 'The Elaborate End of Robert Ebb' Pays Homage to Its B-Movie Predecessors
Expanding Godard’s classic assertion to include; “A man, a girl, a monster costume, gun toting villagers, a tragic end,” Supinfocom alumni Fx Goby, Matthieu Landour and Clement Bolla unite forces for their ‘reverse B-movie’ about a night watchman whose prank turns tragic when he gets stuck in a monster costume. Ready to suspend your disbelief? Hit the jump to watch the film and learn about the filmmakers’ inspirations, process, and regrets:
Originally conceived as an animated short for Fx Goby’s Supinfocom graduation film, the directors decided that the comedic nature of Robert Ebb was much better suited to live action. As with last year’s seafood battle short Monster Roll, the trio required their staring monster to be more kitsch comedic than realistically terrifying. Luckily, Bristol model studio Cod Steaks were on hand to build the 8ft high monster costume (worn by lead actor Paul Hassal) within the tight five week time-frame. Influenced by the work of Roger Corman and films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon (with non-B-movie favorites Edward Scissorhands and Christine also providing inspiration), the innocent times of the 1950s with its drive-in theaters and diners seemed the natural setting for the film — albeit not a pain free one to depict onscreen:
I wouldn’t do that again soon because it was a nightmare. (Laughter) Just setting things in a different period is really complicated because you need to be super accurate in everything like the hair, the clothes, the objects, the cars, everything. It’s extremely complicated. We did everything wrong with our film in this sense. We had too many sets and a massive costume. I think if we had to do it again, we might do it a bit differently because it was extremely hard to get the result. It was a long process.
Nailing the time period wasn’t the only obstacle faced by the team over the five nights of shoots. Hassal’s ability to perform under the weight of the ungainly costume was a running concern, as can be seen in Francois Turquety’s making of video:
In the end, the trio of directors brought everything together — including an extensive ‘from scratch’ sound design process — with the film playing several festivals around the world and picking up the Canal+ award at last year’s Clermont-Ferrand festival.
What do you think of The Elaborate End of Robert Ebb? Were you able to buy into its ‘reverse b-movie’ spirit?