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Cinemaphobia (2001)

This is a little known short film that was made in 2001. It was not given an international release or even released outside of the internet. Now you may not know the name of the film, but you may know the name of the film maker, James Rolfe. For those of you who don’t know the name, I will give you a rundown. James is a film maker that first achieved fame when a created a series of three videos where he portrayed an alcoholic nerd who would play old Nintendo Entertainment System games. The web series was eventually put on Youtube and got upwards 1 000 000 views on his video. His best friend, Mike Matei, pressured him to make more videos and place them on the internet. The result was a series called the Angry Nintendo Nerd, although the name was later changed to the Angry Video Game Nerd to avoid copyright claims to avoid a lawsuit from Nintendo. James’ notoriety led to him having his own website to host his videos (http://cinemassacre.com/) which was called the Cinemassacre. He would also have many other series such as Board James which is a very sporadic show where he would review obscure board games such as DragonStrike or Hero Quest. There was also a show called You Know What’s Bulls**t which is a show that just came off a very long 2 year hiatus. James would play a character called the bulls**t man who would just sit around and talk about things he didn’t like such as shoelaces or people who leave their Christmas decorations up for months. James is also known for having many crossovers with people on Channel Awesome such as Douglas Walker who is also known as the Nostalgia Critic. This was one of the most widespread feuds on the internet. The Angry Video Game Nerd (Rolfe) and the Nostalgia Critic (Walker) would have many fights to comedic effect. In reality, Rolfe and Walker are great friends. When Walker posted a film that featured all reviewers from his website, Rolfe made an appearance as Board James. Anyways, Rolfe is also an accomplished film maker having made many short films that are very well made and have unique plots. My personal favorite is a one that he made called Cinemaphobia. The film was made in 2001, two years before Rolfe made the first episode of the Angry Video Game Nerd. Although, the film has a very interesting plot that may not seem to be frightening, the film is actually quite scary if you are a person who finds psychological horror to be scary. The plot follows an unnamed actor who is being overworked and begins to hallucinate that he is followed around by a camera that is filming his life and making a movie. This is an interesting touch because when you think about it, it’s a very realistic plot. Many actors are severely overworked and could become completely a slave to paranoia that their life might just be another movie that is being made. It’s kind of like the Truman Show effect. If you don’t know what the Truman Show effect is, the Truman Show was a film starring Jim Carrey and Laura Linney that was released in 1998. Carrey played a character called Truman who was adopted at birth and had hidden cameras faced around town to film him in a real life setting. The thing is that Truman did not know that he was being filmed. When the film was shown to mental patients, they believed that their lives were TV shows and that they had to do something outlandish (climbing up the CN Tower to meet and old girlfriend etc.) to “end” the show. Anyways, Cinemaphobia seems to show the symptoms of this sort of state of mind. The camera follows him until he is so desperate to get away from it until he throws a candle at the camera and sets his house on fire. The cinematography shown here is brilliant. The lighting and the effects fit the tone of the film perfectly. I found the ending to be the most frightening part of the film. The actor manages to get out of the house where he goes down into a small creek. The camera ended up surviving the fire and Rolfe (who plays the main character, by the way) begins attacking it, shouting about how he is not scared of it anymore. Finally, he delivers the final line “My life is not a movie!” Suddenly, he begins to look straight into the camera (the one filming the actual movie) while the screen fades to black. This scared the hell out of me when I first saw it. All in all, a brilliantly made film and yeah, James, keep up the good work! I plan to review a few more of James’ horror films in the near future, possibly The Jersey Odyssey: Part I: Legend of the Blue Hole, next week


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