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Succubus A Distance - Raven Victoria struggling with sleep

Succubus A Distance – Dark, Sensual, Eloquent

Succubus Á Distance

Eulogy Media from the United Kingdom became famous for managing and providing PR for a variety of dark music acts like Interlock and Agonyst. As with many organizations, the COVID lockdown either forced change to survive or provided a catalyst for reinvention. During the pandemic, Eulogy Media transformed themselves from a musical promotion company to a full fledged media house offering film, music and other media.

Creative force Hal Sinden directed and produced an experimental horror short film under the Eulogy banner titled ‘Succubus Á Distance’. While not necessarily horror, it enjoys the same dark aesthetic that we love. We are fortunate that Hal reached out to give us an early look at his film.

Succubus A Distance - Raven Victoria struggling with sleep
The subject, Raven Victoria, struggling to find peaceful rest

Insomnia as Inspiration

Hal Sinden openly discussed his own struggles with sleep disorders and offers his film as an exploration into his own experiences.

‘Succubus à Distance’ is finally a chance to present my muse [Syn Ariad] in a narrative piece that weaves together my love of more abstract-leaning, gothic aesthetic with my fascination with the human dream-state. As a long term & heavily medicated sufferer of numerous sleep conditions (severe parasomnia, sleep paralysis, night terrors etc.), my continued treatment at the hands of various consultants, clinicians & therapists does little to address what I go through / witness on a daily [nightly] basis. This short film is one in a number of forthcoming pieces that explore my experiences from various states of consciousness.

His film explores the trials of a young and beautiful woman (Raven Victoria) as she tosses and turns while being confronted by night terrors. One of these terrors, a beautiful and sensual demon (Mistress Syn Ariad), a succubus, haunts her dreams. This presence threatens to cross the threshold of dreams and penetrate into the waking world. The sleeping woman must confront the idea that her own desire summoned this force.

Succubus A Distance - Director Hal Sinden on the set of another one of his creations
Director Hal Sinden on set directing a video for the band My Dying Bride

Short, but Compelling Cinema

One thing that stands out about Sinden’s film is it brevity. At 5 minutes and 52 seconds, the film must grab the viewer’s attention and tell a multi-faceted tale with no dialog. This is an incredibly difficult line to navigate and it would be all to easy to dwell too long in this dark world. That would be to its detriment. Rather than wear his premise thin by carrying on too long, he chooses to instead weave an incredibly deep tapestry of light, dark and mood in a clever and concise package.

Undoubtably, the film also intends to celebrate the form of the female body and allure of beauty cloaked in gothic sensibilities. The film is backed by the subtle drone of dark atmospheric sounds and the low rumble of unintelligible demonic chants. More than once I expect it to erupt into the electronic groove of Germany’s electronica outfit Enigma, but that moment never comes.

The director films his succubus in soft focus and draped with the orange glow of candle light. Sinden juxtaposes this imagery against the blue lit reality of his subject’s sleep depravation. The effect is subtle, but very effective. Throughout, the film possesses a very organic feel cast in flesh and stone… with one exception. At one point a metallic telescoping claw draws the cameras focus. While I can’t understand the significance, the slow extension and retraction of the claw provides a fascinating foil against the rest of the imagery.

As effortlessly as his film begins, ‘Succubus Á Distance’ fades into conclusion.

Succubus A Distance - Mistress Syn Ariad as the succubus
Mistress Syn Ariade as the seductive demon haunting her sleep

Artful and Stylish

I really enjoyed his film and it provided a welcome departure from all of the narrative horror that we review regularly. Even in the realm of art house horror that so often attempts to be profound by offending the audience, ‘Succubus Á Distance’ provided welcome relief. So often we receive independent films that try to stretch a 5 minute idea into a feature film. Instead, Hal Sinden reached for a massive concept and cleanly packaged it into a bite sized but powerful package that was beautiful to watch and engrossing to listen to.

Eulogy Media plans to release ‘Succubus Á Distance’ on March 20th 2023 at 9:30 (GMT). Somehow I doubt that it is an accident that this is moments after the Spring equinox. The film be released on the Eulogy Media YouTube page. Be sure to check it out.

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