The Tell-Tale Film
By Brian Kessler
18 November 1998
Stephen and Michael are freshman who have been randomly paired into a college dorm room together. Stephen is a fine arts student with an interest in the occult. Michael is a film student. Their chance association quickly blossoms into what seems it is going to be a strong friendship: they go out to movies and clubs together, help each other with assignments, etc.
However, Michael is a voyeur by nature. He is constantly watching everything. Stephen starts to see Michael's face as not containing two eyes, but a cycloptic camera lens. Stephen constructs a surreal series of drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Michael, as influenced by his distorted and increasingly obsessive vision. Michael is fascinated by Stephen's increasingly prolific work. Michael is so enthusiastic about the work that he thinks nothing of giving clothing or hair clippings for Stephen's creations.
When Stephen starts destroying some of the older creations, Michael mistakes the behavior for artistic perfectionism, but in fact we as the audience see Stephen destroying the works during chilling ceremonies where the sculptures, etc. are increasingly realistic effigies - Stephen is attempting to work "sympathetic magick". Stephen's most recent creations are a series of wax dummies of Michael, all true to life in both size and detail, but for the salvaged camera lens that serves for the eye.
Michael wakes up one night to discover his bed is surrounded by black candels. A crudely drawn pentagram surrounds the bed. Looking straight at Michael is Stephen with a blowgun in his mouth and aimed at Stephen's person. Michael starts getting up, asking "What the hell is this Stephen? Maybe I should have a camera going?" And suddenly Stephen hears the film rolling. He can't take it anymore. He blows his dart which hits Michael squarely in the forehead. Michael shouts "Ouch!" before quickly falling dead with a loud plop to the floor. Stephen quickly prop's up Michael's body along with his series of sculpture's and fits a camera lens that has been modified into a face mask onto Michael's face.
The dorm's RA and a couple nosy students come knocking at Stephen and Michael's door, to enquire about the "ouch!" and the thump. Stephen informs them that he dropped his latest sculpture as he was working on it and it landed on his foot. He invites them in to take a look around and tells them that Michael went home to visit his family. He bades them look over his family of statues and listens to their words of praise. The RA and the students sit down and starts talking with him about how much they love his work and then moving into other areas of small talk. And as they talk, the sound of film rolling returns to haunt Stephen. He can't take it anymore. He starts to pound on Michael's body. Then as the RA and students watchs, he starts to beat the body with his chair.... Finally, the trio watch in horror as Stephen smashs Michael's head in with the chair and as the skull splits open, the mask comes off Michael's face. Stephen is screaming "Enough! Enough all ready! I killed Michael! Just stop the cameras! Stop the cameras!" And as he looks back to his trio of guests, we see through his eyes, the guests have become a trio of camera heads.