Attack of the Killer Sock
Attack of the Killer Sock, is a well shot and contagiously hilarious, grim film from the one man filmmaking team that is Alexander Williams.
A man decides to stay at home whilst his wife and baby spend the week visiting the grandparents. Unfortunately his desired week of relaxation is about to become his worst nightmare.
The short is simply shot and consists of a single (human) character played also by Alexander Williams. Through this short film, this director, writer, editor and actor showcases his filmmaking brilliance and uniquely peculiar yet visionary approach to storytelling. Running at 29 minutes, Attack of the Killer Sock is a wonderful joy ride filled with dramatic horror tension and an eerie sense of discovery that will keep audiences glued to their screen.
The story that Alexander Williams’s short film tells is one that is odd, while being intriguing at the same time. Our protagonist (the one human character of the short) is charmingly engaging and is able to fill the screen with an attractive charisma. Unlike most films of a similar one man team breed, this film does not suffer from dragging or and exhaustive use of dialogue. No, instead the story is sharp, the dialogue is interesting, and the plot progression is entertaining.
I’ve always enjoyed a good horror film and have constantly thought about making one. However I feel the film industry is getting increasingly full of horror films and has been for quite a while. Not that this is a bad thing of course but you do see a lot of Zombie/Vampire/slasher films nowadays. So I wanted to come away from the typical "screaming girl chased by murderer/monster/boogeyman" and use elements in the process of the film to make the audience feel uneasy but without giving too much away.
- Alexander Williams
The cinematography in this short film is impressive. The way Alexander Williams frames his shot in this short is attractive and very pleasing to the eye. The color palette and use of warm and cold tones throughout the short is appropriate and non-distracting in retrospect. Most impressively, Attack of the Killer Sock features a number of shot that feel like warm homages to classic horror and thriller films. Williams uses these shots brilliantly and creates a tone that leaves audiences engaged.
Now on YouTube, One is a plays out like a film with a hidden psychological meaning. This may be an over the top analysis, but themes of stress and psychological wellness seem apparent in this short and important to its narrative.
Like with any good short film, Attack of the Killer Sock will make the viewer anxious and hyped till the very last shot of the film. Alexander Williams’ short is a showcase of many talents. Check it out now and experience this fantastic work!
INTERVIEW with Alexander Williams (Director/Writer)
First of all how long have you been film making? What got you interested?
Hi there, well my name is Alexander Williams and I live with my beautiful wife and 1 year old son in Liverpool, England. I am a full time Dad as well as part time actor but I also have this rather small, burning passion to create films! I think I inherited this creative streak from my family as my dad is a wood carver and my uncle is a painter and ever since a young lad I've always wanted to, well, just create. At first I would write short stories with the idea of becoming a writer when I grew up, however my brother was always playing around with cameras and I must say he had a very important role in my passion for filmmaking as he was the first person to show me how you could easily create a stop motion animation using any camcorder. From that moment I was hooked! However obtaining a camcorder at the tender age of around 10 years old was no easy matter and so my first camera was actually a cine camera purchased from a car boot sale. Unfortunately though, making films with this was no easy matter. Film was £30 a role and you would only get three minutes worth. Plus it took two weeks to get developed! Luckily my brother was able to obtain a black and white security camera which we were able to connect straight to a VCR which made productions a whole lot easier, however it wasn't perfect because it didn't record any sound - only pictures.
It wasn't until I got my first job when I was finally able to purchase my own camcorder and started to experiment with the odd camera technique. But it was actually another five years later on a holiday with friends in Suffolk that I decided to make a short film. Don't get me wrong it was no big budget, high concept movie. It was quite literally my friend being chased by a person/creature unknown. Having only two of us as the full crew it was quite difficult to think of some Oscar winning storyline. None the less however it was great fun to do and so we created two sequels with pretty much the same premise but looking back at it now you can definitely see how each short becomes more creative and daring each time around.
Still it wasn't until my brother stepped in again and showed me how video could be manipulated and edited with a basic computer. Titles and music could be added so no longer did I have to record a TV set playing the short film/footage whilst playing the desired soundtrack music in the background. To me this opened all a whole new world for my passion in film making. It was at this point I decide to go back to college and do a crash course in Film, Media and Television Production before going on to University to study Film, Media and Scriptwriting.
With my knowledge on film making techniques now being heavily influenced at University I decided to create a place that could show case my work - a website. But having no idea on how to build such a thing I went on to self-teach myself website design before finally creating the now up and running WWW.MCPHONEY.COM which not only has my random shorts on but also my random TV appearances' too! Of course there is also my YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/mcphoney) which has really started to take off over the past 12 months and I am currently gaining more and more subscribers each day!
After University I found it difficult to gain work in the film and TV industry. It would always be the same problem. "You lack experience." But how could you gain experience if you couldn't get experience. And so I ended up back in the normal 9-5 workday. But still my desire to create film was not extinguished and I carried on making short films as well as teaching myself visual effects whenever I could. When my wife and I found out we were to have a baby it was decided I would become a stay at home dad and it was at this point I decided to rekindle my love for acting. Not only would I still be in the field of production but it would give me plenty of time to stay at home and look after our baby when he comes along. (As everybody knows the acting profession isn't exactly a full time job)!
It’s just been over a year now since our baby was born and my YouTube channel is still growing and I have been extremely lucky in the world of acting too, grabbing a few small parts here and there as well as a few lead roles in some adverts. Plus I was able to release my first (almost feature) film Attack of the Killer Sock which is a project I’ve wanted to do for some time. And that is basically it! I have a few other filmmaking projects in the pipeline and I am continuing to develop new skills visual effects wise so who knows what my next short film may entail!
What inspired this short?
I’ve always enjoyed a good horror film and have constantly thought about making one. However I feel the film industry is getting increasingly full of horror films and has been for quite a while. Not that this is a bad thing of course but you do see a lot of Zombie/Vampire/slasher films nowadays. So I wanted to come away from the typical "screaming girl chased by murderer/monster/boogeyman" and use elements in the process of the film to make the audience feel uneasy but without giving too much away. A lot of people's fears I find are a fear of the unknown and it was this motif that I wanted to work on. The basic angle for the film has been greatly inspired by the late ghost story writer M.R. James whose stories built up the tension and fear by scaring us with the unknown and creating a very disturbing state of mind. But he did this without blood and guts, it was done with the simple surroundings of everyday lives of ordinary people which are then thrown into chaos by either finding a particular object or by a particular deed they have committed. Which just goes to show that it is not necessary to have ghosts rattling chains and screaming down corridors to scare you but actually more of what you don't see and let the readers mind become terrified by itself because it doesn't know what it is dealing with. A classic 1963 film titled The Haunting and directed by Robert Wise is also another huge inspiration as this sits along the same motifs by giving audiences glimpses into what they are dealing with through the use of sound and again relying on the mind to envision what is actually out there! Robert Wise also uses oblique camera angles to create a more deep sense of distortion which again keeps us (audiences) well and truly feeling uneasy and very afraid.
These are what gave me the idea for creating a sinister short film instead of the usual comedy/bizarre pieces that I have done before. However my main problem was that I was doing this all by myself. Don't get me wrong I could have put together a small team but as previously stated when you have a 9 month old baby, it isn't that simple to arrange making a film whilst keeping him happy as well. So the idea had to be something simple. That's when I decided to go with a sock. It was an ordinary, everyday object used by pretty much everyone in the world today, but give the impression that it’s actually alive with an intent to kill then you bring elements of something far darker and haunting which again is the feeling i wanted to create with the film. Was that a bad thing? Maybe, but it appears to have worked. Of course it was a big gamble which could have easily gone wrong and turned into a film that was being laughed at instead of enjoyed. But I’m hoping that the gamble has paid off!
Any interesting behind the scene stories?
I would have to say the most interesting well only production story was that during filming of Attack of the Killer Sock, I had purchased the wrong memory card so it couldn't keep up with the processing power to capture in HD. So half way through shots the camera would stop recording which after a while would get very tiresome. However at one point I think the camera has stopped recording and start mouthing off rather angrily and getting let's just say a tad annoyed. It was only afterwards that I realized that the camera was in fact still running and my whole priceless but over reaction was all captured on film. Funny when watching it and at least I learnt that maybe I should calm down a bit!
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
Although my technique hasn't changed I would definitely say I feel a lot more confident now. I always use to feel nervous about beginning a project in case I wasted too much time and effort on it only for the idea to fail miserably. However now if I suddenly get an inspiration then i just go ahead and do it no questions asked! Speaking about approaching a project though I would have to say I am now always trying to make the next one bigger and better than before, pushing the boundaries further whether it be through storyline or effects. Although it is difficult trying to create any type of film all by yourself there is a great sense of achievement at the end when you can stand back and quite literally say that you made that ALL by yourself that really is an immense feeling. Don’t get me wrong I have had to research a few tips and tricks of the trade but the actual grafting in most of my short films has been done solely by me!
Any advice to filmmakers?
To be honest if you have a passion for film and you want to make something, my advice to you then is to just get a camera and do it. Maybe start off small and see how it works before running off and grabbing actors and buying all professional not to mention expensive equipment! Do lots of testing and exploring beforehand because that's how you learn the most. You'll be surprised what you'll pick up just from watching your own work. Don’t forget to get other people's opinions on your pieces of film as well. AND TELL THEM TO BE HONEST! If they didn't like it find out why so then you don't make the same mistake again but most importantly, and this is the biggy, don't be afraid to take criticism. In fact expect it. One valuable lesson I learnt is that you can't please everybody - no matter how hard you try! If you are happy with what your finished production has turned out like and the majority of people like it too then you know you are onto a winner, but don't be shocked to find someone dissecting it bit by bit as though they can do better. There is always one!
I also find watching documentaries on the making of films is a great way to see how things work in the big world of movie making. They are usually in the added/special features on DVD’s but that is a real eye-opener because you get to see that even the professionals come up against major problems in trying to get their idea from script to screen and sometimes they even end up inventing new techniques to make it work. It’s a fascinating way to explore the world of film and you never know what helpful tips you may pick up on the way too!