“We Need To Talk About Todd and Zak”

By Jordan Gerdes

Been a long time y’all. Between grad school, student teaching, and now COVID-19, life has kind of hit a stand still. Horror has been more of an escape lately than something to analyze, and I apologize for that, because I cherish every single one of you that check this site for new stuff to check out. So I am going to make sure I get back on the horse and write more.

Alright, that being said, it’s time we talk about Todd Spence and Midnight Video. Todd and I have been mutual friends on the Twitterverse for a while now and we have posted a few of his features in the last year and a half of our existence as a site. Midnight Video is the brainchild of both Todd Spence and Zak White, former writers for such sites as Cracked and Screenjunkies. They began making their own short horror films themselves a few years back, and man, it is something you need to have on your radar. Todd is an incredible dude and is always boosting new content, both his and other filmmakers. He’s an incredible follow.

Specifically, tonight, I am sitting here a few whiskey’s deep, enjoying quarantine and binging crappy shows on Hulu. *phone goes off* I glance down, swipe my finger and Twitter opens up to the Direct Message section. I have a message from Todd. All it says is “Hey Jordan! You like true crime stuff?” and there is a video entitled “3rd Eye Cult Murders: Police Video”. Growing up in the early days of sites like Liveleak, where all number of videos are made public, the title alone excites me. I message back “Oh fuck, what is this?” and then don’t even wait for a reply before clicking in.

What I begin to see is a police video documenting a scene of a homicide, after hours, alone. The house is in various states of disarray, a doll placed conspicuously on the ground, a large amount of blood on the linoleum in the kitchen, with bare footprints leading away from it, a rotary phone with blood stains, the receiver hanging by the cord, moving ever so slightly in the air of the room.

There is something about true crime and perceived true crime videos that have always got me. The ending of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) with the sheriff entering the basement after the movie ends, absolutely chilled me. Segments of VHS, The Blair Witch, REC or any found footage both excites and terrifies, as it is voyeuristic and forbidden. You are seeing something that was not meant for your eyes, which make it more horrifying.

Directed by Spence, this feels extremely procedural, but everything tells you on first glance that you shouldn’t be watching this. When the medicine cabinet is opened and the 3rd Eye cult insignia is shown, drawn in blood, that initial feeling is cemented. You should not be watching this.

I won’t go any further into the plot of this short, as it should be experienced and not read, but Midnight Video proves once again that they know how to make a short film. This scared me really good, even though I went in expecting to be frightened. It is paced perfectly, lulling you into a false safety, before ripping it away in one frame that made my stomach jump. It’s 3 minutes and you need to see it.

We are all at home for the foreseeable future, so why not check out some fantastic filmmakers who are making horror for the masses, for free. Huge thanks to Todd Spence for reaching out and absolutely fucking up my night. I have locked every door in my house and closed all the blinds. This is the highest compliment I can pay. Follow Midnight Video and Todd Spence and Zak White

Stay safe y’all and watch some good flicks. We are back and I will see you soon! Big thanks to Todd Spence and Wild Turkey Longbranch whiskey for getting me back into writing about horror.

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