Show Pieces by Alan Moore – A Shudder Exclusive
British writer Alan Moore, known for works such as The Watchmen and From Hell, is revered by popular culture as one the greatest graphic novel authors of our time. Navigating readers through the depths mankind’s own darkness, Moore explores several themes of the human condition while also navigating across several genres such as horror, crime, tragedy, and superhero action. Nonetheless, Moore’s ability to captivate his audience is something to admire, no matter which format he presents his material.
Horror streaming service Shudder offers its members with an exclusive movie anthology written by Moore and directed by Mitch Jenkins titled Show Pieces. A film series based on Alan Moore’s British five-part short stories (only three of them are featured in this film), Show Pieces explores the damnation of lost soul James Mitchum through his judgment and realization that his fate may lead to eternal suffering. The ominous tone is set against the dimly lit gentlemen’s jazz club (St. James End), where James is found wandering the club slightly bewildered, not entirely sure of his whereabouts. A womanizer bent on indulgence and violence, James is forced to face his sins through torture devices and wicked rituals.
For those familiar with Alan Moore’s appreciation for magic and pantheistic belief system, Show Pieces most definitely denotes the absence of an anthropomorphic God. Rather, the film’s setting could suggest the after-life as the soul’s state-of-being; as James’ last moments were outside of a club in life, perhaps his soul remained wandering a similar setting, which for him was all too familiar. During one of James’ interactions with the club manager, Mr. Matchbright, he states, “I’m lost. This isn’t where I’m meant to be” to which Matchbright replies, “This is where you are. Do you see what I’m sayin’. This is what you gravitate towards… state that takes the least energy to maintain.” The film’s most interesting moments were those that slightly expressed elements of Egyptian funerary practices, as the Eye of Horus is seen painted on a door prior to James’ judgment is the first indication.
Show Pieces manages to present an intricate story in a simple linear format without compromising the ‘creep’ factor. Just as David Lynch’s Lost Highway gave the impression nearly every character was up to no good (through monotone dialogue), Show Pieces maintained the eerie ‘unsettling’ atmosphere through a similar strategy.
Although Show Pieces can be viewed exclusively on Shudder, it is definitely worth the $4.99 per month subscription (or at least the free trial period) in order to experience Moore’s latest film. It differs from Moore’s other film adaptations since Show Pieces was written exclusively for film. Immerse yourself in the full experience of this 77-minute film. There is so much more to appreciate.
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