By KJ Doughton | January 17, 2005

“There’s Something Out There” features cinema’s first psychopathic garden gnome.

Appearing as a jovial, elfin gatekeeper for all that is herbal, flowering, and leafy, this scheming porcelain statuette soon spells doom for Brad and Penny. The two lovers toss and turn in their bed, struggling to sleep. The hair-raising sound of fingernails (?) scraping against glass prompts Brad to investigate outside. Needless to say, the chubby little ceramic bastard guarding the couple’s garden is in a bad mood, wielding a sharp spade and chuckling with maniacal glee.

Directed by Chaos! Comics creator Brian Pulido, “There’s Something Out There” is an entertaining, twisted horror-comedy short that makes up with enthusiasm what it lacks in technical polish (the voice track doesn’t always match the actors’ mandibular movements). On the other hand, Pulido’s spiffy suspense short is shot on film, giving it a professional edge that many digital video productions lack. It looks like a real horror movie, and not some intentionally amateur, porno-style “satire,” which is ironic, considering its campy, gnome-from-hell premise.

Will Pulido be the next Sam Raimi? Based on this tiny terror tidbit alone, the verdict is still out. But “There’s Something Out There” uses tight editing, tension-building music, and inventive scare tactics to make a memorable, funny/scary viewing experience out of what could have been a simple B-movie hack job.

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