Thursday, November 30, 2006

Leg Cramp

Leg cramp. The two most horrifying words in the English language (even more frighhening than George W.), as far as I'm concerned. This morning I paid the cost for all my intake of dehydrating vice-fluids (coffee, wine, Scotch) by awakening to a doozy of a charley horse. You don't have to be a marathon runner or athelete of any stripe to get these. Just lying in bed suffices.

This morning's incident reminded me of my days at Towson State University ("The Harvard of Baltimore County" - perhaps you've heard of it?) when I watched a one-minute student film called Leg Cramp that still stands as perhaps the greatest horror film ever made. A simple enough narrative: a digital clock signals that it is 6:00 a.m. and at that precise moment a young man awakes to an incapaciting leg cramp. Then begins an Eisenstein montage of shots right out of Battleship Potempkin as you see a close-up of the man's face contorted in pain, then grasping his leg, then a close-up of an Edward Munch-worthy Scream, and then a shot of the man banging his leg against a wall in blood-spilling agony. The guy thrashes his bedroom, pulling curtains off the wall, bloodying his wall. All of this was accompanied by a tense, horror music soundtrack until the finale when the clock signals that it is now 6:01 a.m. The storm has passed, the cramp is gone, but the charley horse horror - like the Holocaust, must be remembered lest we forget.

If anyone knows anything about this short film, please let me know. It made a major impact on me and I re-lived it this morning.

Update, 12/5/06:

This Just In: Thanks to Skizz Cyzyk for subsequently contacting me about this little known student film. Skizz saw the same Leg Cramp film I did, circa 1985 - a time when I had already graduated TSU but was still hanging out with the Mass Commies because my ex-wife was a Mass Comm Major and, well, I was a film geek myself. This is what Skizz had to say:
In Peter Lev's "Into To Film" class, Spring semester 1985, Tony Aquaviva (aka radio's Aquaman) turned that film in as his project. I thought it was great - the best film in the class. I haven't seen it since, though I did make some efforts to have it shown at the Mansion many years later.

I thought Aquaman was one of the most talented students there at the time, though he was a hard guy to get near...His radio production projects were great too. He completely bypassed WCVT and went straight to 98ROCK though. I liked his
HFS show with Catherine Lauren, not just because they played that Berserk local-band jingle every night, but because they knew better than to take what they were doing seriously. I was never able to get him to show Leg Cramp at the Mansion - I don't know why. Where is he now?

I'm wondering the same thing. Aq, if you're out there, get in contact with one of us. Leg Cramp needs to be seen by all who have suffered this universal pain your film so brilliantly captured.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Swacko said...

Oh man, T Dub! I feel your pain. You may have heard the saga of my infamous bum leg, for which I have a quinine prescription. If you keep getting them, evidently a multi-mineral supplement is known to help, although it didn't really work for me.

10:03 PM  
Blogger eskayizezy said...

Hmmm, you've described the exact film that (the person who eventually became radio's) Aquaman turned in as his film project in the same Intro To Film class I was in. That was 1985. Weren't you long gone from TSU by then? Something seems fishy. But yeah, that film left the same impact on me as well.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I can contact AQ [he resides in NC now]... please let me know if you are [still] interested in finding "Leg Cramp"... He is a conservative though, so I do not you think he will appreciate the Bush-bashing [there are a lot of us on the right side of things]

You may email me, if you wish... ehfischer01@hotmail.com. I would be happy to offer my assistance [any accolades I can fwd to AQ will be my pleasure – he is a good guy – and very talented, as you have mentioned]

With kind regards, -Eric.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Pompeii said...

The clock in Leg Cramp actaully said, "3:00am," I think. I still have the 8mm original. And, no, I'm not a conservative; that's why I'm living in Chapel Hill, the liberal hub of the United States.
-Tony Acquaviva
Chimp43C@yahoo.com

2:34 PM  

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