Where Forgotten Films Dwell

Welcome to this site! It exists for one reason: to preserve the memory of films that have been forgotten about or under-appreciated throughout the ages. Take a seat, read an entry, leave a comment. You might discover your new favorite movie!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest Post: AM1200

Many thanks to Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci for this excellent guest article!

The Creepiest Lovecraft Tale that Lovecraft DIDN'T Write!

Writer/producer/director David Prior's 2007 horror thriller short AM1200 follows in the great tradition of Psycho and From Dusk Till Dawn in both its high quality and its story structure: a taut protagonist-on-the-run thriller that devilishly morphs into an atmospheric, razor-sharp tale of supernatural terror under your very nose.

Eric Lange is solid as Sam Larson, an almost sympathetic white-collar everyman (if that makes sense :-)) whose company is going downhill fast. Going into Dick-Over or Be Dicked-Over mode, Sam makes a bad, no-turning-back
decision to embezzle company funds before his slippery boss (Ray Wise, in the kind of role at which he excels) beats him to it. Sam escapes in his Audi on what seems like an endless desert highway, literally scared sick whenever he sees a police cruiser in his rear-view mirror. But his nerve-wracking flight from the law feels like piña coladas and Key West sunsets compared to what happens when, in the dead of night, he hears and responds to a desperate SOS broadcast as he tunes his car radio into the titular evangelical AM radio station.... Refreshingly, unlike so many other protagonists of his ilk, Sam sees the red flags (metaphorically flapping in the breeze), and does his best to avoid the station until he's truly left with no other options.

AM1200 is an original story by Prior, but once Sam enters the all-but-abandoned station and discovers the terrifying
truth, the film becomes a brilliant modern-day homage to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu tales. It packs more potent suspense, dread, and eerie atmosphere in its 40-minute running time than many feature-length horror films. It also looks and sounds amazing, thanks to Brian Hoodenpyle's crystal-clear digital cinematography, and the brilliant use of sound and light (and dark) by Prior and his crew. The sparingly-used special effects are so artfully rendered that they seem quite natural, as opposed to the kind of F/X which practically scream, "Hey, look at me! I'm a special effect!" Great use of music, too, ranging from Bela Bartok to Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street." Among the rare, fleeting instances of comic relief, my favorite was when the seemingly millions of unseen crickets that have been insistently chirping -- nay, screeching -- away in the background suddenly STOP -- just like that! AM1200 was like having a knife to my throat for forty minutes -- in a good way. It's well worth seeking out and recommending to others. I give it an A+!

Miles to go before Sam sleeps.

Think, Sam, think! What would Janet Leigh do?

Me, embezzling? Nope, just out for a midnight stroll….

Funny how everything looks like a UFO at night.

Harry Jones (Ray Wise) takes a shot at eluding the law.

Why doesn’t that put Sam at ease?

Blinded by the light!

“They say it’s better to reign in hell than to serve in Heaven. What about serving in Hell? What if the only option is to serve in Hell?”

“Hi, I’m Larry. I’m the new guy.”


  1. Hey, Nate, Dorian here! Thanks for letting me play in your garden and posting my AM1200 review! While I have your attention, I also want to praise the cast, including Eric Larsen, Ray Wise, and John Billingsly of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE fame, among others. (My personal favorite of his roles was as Denzel Washington's sidekick in the thriller OUT OF TIME.)

  2. Thank YOU for being awesome and giving me this guest article!

  3. Dorian,
    Pleasing, intrigued, feeling left out, short films can contain brilliance. Okay, words that came to mind after reading your review.
    I've never heard of this little gem. (Shocker I know) but I'm trying over here.

    Sometimes you don't need a huge budget but good acting, a long road and desperation, fear, guilt can give you a fun little ride.

    I really enjoyed your review Team B and thank you Nate for choosing the perfect duo to fill in.

  4. Page, I just loved your word-association review of AM1200! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and surely I speak for our compadre Nate and myself when I say thanks a million for your feedback!

    If you ever get an opportunity to see the film yourself, you can get more info at DreamLogic's Web site:


    Also, here's an excellent review of it from the Quiet Earth film review Web site: