Short Films: Shock Value

Shock Value

Before John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon changed genre cinema forever with films like Halloween and Alien, they were classmates at USC’s film school in the late 1960s, making short student films that developed their sensibilities. With this one-of-a-kind, feature-length compilation, USC archivist Dino Everett has gathered five shorts from that era of USC talent, all of which will screen, followed by a talk with Everett and writer Jason Zinoman, whose 2011 book Shock Value inspired these films’ revivals. Moderated by KJ Relth (UCLA Film & TV Archive), films featured in this program include:
Directed by Dan O’Bannon
USA | 7 minutes | 1969
A slovenly young man commits suicide out of curiosity and boredom.


Directed by Charles Adair
USA | 19 minutes | 1970
A woman left alone in a desert home begins to feel she is being watched.


Directed by John Carpenter
USA | 7 minute | 169
A dull office worker transforms into a costumed peeping tom at night.


Directed by Dan O’Bannon
USA | 19 minutes | 1968
Shot by John Carpenter and set in what was then the distant future of 2006, an old man reminisces on his days back at USC.


Directed by Terence H. Winkless
USA | 15 minutes | 1971
A young man returns to a small town and begins to torment a girl who is babysitting a little boy. Starring Dan O’Bannon, Judson’s Release is the blueprint for films such as Halloween, Black Christmas, He Knows You’re Alone, and countless others, and O’Bannon’s relentless and emotionless portrayal of the killer resembles Jason, Michael Myers, and many other film killers who would follow.