Sometimes you encounter a film so strange and unique that it leads you down a rabbit hole. Sometimes a film allows you to crack open the head of the maker. You can see them trying to expel something lodged in their subconscious. Between 1912 – 1914, Picasso created 70 different collages, paintings, and sculptures based on a guitar he had constructed. Something about it led him to return to it again and again.
This review will be less about Andrea Ricca’s 2017 short film “The Amulet of Fear” and more about his bizarre filmography. With 22 IMDB credits to his name (and god knows how many others incomplete or unlisted), his work can best be described as setups for him to display his CGI creature work. With names like “Spider Danger”, “Smartphone Demon”, and “The Giant Scorpion” they are chamber pieces that all run between 4-7 minutes. After watching a handful of them on YouTube (Ricca boasts 15 million views online) I feel like I could probably summarize them all within a few degrees. Here’s the setup. Someone is alone in a house at night. They confront a monstrous CGI creation of RIcca’s making. They thwart the monster only to discover they are not as safe as they thought.
There is no dialogue in any of the Andrea Ricca films I’ve seen. Perhaps because they are produced in Italy and he wants the films to be more accessible to international audiences without any language barriers. In “The Amulet of Fear” the protagonist Ludovica Ferraro is reading “The Creature” by Stephen King. The illustration on the cover is soon embodied as her tormenter through the help of the titular amulet. I was curious about this Stephen King book I had never heard of only to find out later that there is no such book. It was created specifically for the film. The creature is far better than the average CGI creation usually seen in no budget fare. It looks like it would be at home amongst the monsters in “The Cabin in the Woods”. A hulking, eyeless humanoid with razor sharp teeth and torn flesh. I have a soft spot for no budget filmmakers whose film lean heavily on CGI creatures of varying believability. Rogue Cinema favorite son Dave Wascavage’s “Suburban Sasquatch” & “Fungicide” have a special place on my DVD shelf.
“The Amulet of Fear” is a five and a half minute short film about a creature manifested from a nonexistent Stephen King book. Why did Stephen King need to be dragged into this? I don’t know if Ricca intends these shorts to showcase his visual effects skills to try to get hired onto other films. The monsters he creates are frightening and the films work in a simplistic way, but after nearly 20 years, it may be time to put these skills to work in a larger sandbox.
Link to Andrea Ricca’s YouTube Channel: