Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past century (and I’m sure many of you wish you could crawl back under that rock right now), you’re no doubt familiar with the classic tale of “The Monkey’s Paw” — a simple, haunting story with an equally simple but familiar moral: Be careful what you wish for.
Since its publication in 1902, the original work by author W.W. Jacobs has been reprinted, revised, expanded, re-told, updated, adapted and adopted. It’s been told on the stage, broadcast in radio dramas, depicted in countless movies (Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is basically an expanded version) and referenced in dozens of TV series — including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tales from the Crypt, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Creepshow, Rick and Morty, and The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror II.” Hell, even Jordan Peele named his own production company after it.
You may be surprised to learn there’s still some life left — so to speak — in this antique curiosity, thanks to filmmakers Zack Ogle & Aaron Pagniano, who used the story as the springboard for an outrageous send-up of horror clichés in their award-winning short film “We Got a Monkey’s Paw.”
After a long and successful run on the festival circuit, the short will premiere online this Friday, September 18, on ALTER, one of the most popular YouTube channels catering to short-form horror — and we’d like to give you a sneak preview here at Terror Time, because we’re totally into this thing.
This crazed comedic riff on the story revolves around the occult-obsessed Zack (Ogle, who also co-wrote with Pagniano) and his exasperated pal Jakki (Jacqueline Jandrell), who come into possession of the title totem and decide to make multiple ill-advised wishes on it.
Like the grieving couple in the original story, they quickly learn that each wish creates new complications… and making more wishes not only fails to correct their rookie mistakes, but makes matters exponentially worse… as in alternate timelines, doomed doppelgangers, zombie moms (mombies?), a terror-toy tea party (don’t ask), and a growing pile of corpses.
Suffice it to say that if you’re a fan of Shaun of the Dead, you’ll have a blast with this short, as it nails the same lightning-paced “everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink” vibe perfectly. The gags come fast and frantic as these doomed roomies just keep digging themselves deeper, thinking they can reverse each new curse, and Jandrell & Ogle skillfully ride each new wave of weirdness with sharp comic timing.
Even if some of the jokes fly past you (there are so many references to cursed objects, even the Warrens couldn’t catch them all), there’s still enough of them to stick the landing… and you can always watch it again.
Check out “We Got a Monkey’s Paw” on ALTER this Friday, September 18… and be sure to be nice to Mr. Stitches!