Inspired by Japanese urban legend Aka Manto – the tale of a ghost that roams public restrooms and offers red or blue toilet-paper to its visitors – Arrêt Pipi is a 6-minute short horror from the team that brought you Rotor. Created for Dutch broadcasters VPRO and sporting a stunning aesthetic influenced by Seventies slasher movies, Maarten Groen’s short is an atmospheric, slickly-produced film designed to thrill and chill throughout its tight run-time.
“I wanted to do something without too much pretense but embrace the genre and just have fun with it”
Despite having a storyline based around the aforementioned TP ghost, narratively Arrêt Pipi isn’t the most groundbreaking (it essentially the tale of two youngsters finding themselves in trouble when travelling through the backwoods at night) but writer Nils Vleugels was well aware of the film he was creating when penning the piece. “Five minutes is a very short time to tell a story”, Vleugels reveals when discussing the aims of the film, “so i decided to keep it simple and limit the film to one long scene. Maybe have it feel like the prologue to a longer film. I also wanted to do something without too much pretense but embrace the genre and just have fun with it”.
Shot on an Alexa Studio equipped with Anamorphic lenses, the production is sharp and the visuals lend the film the atmosphere needed for it to be a success. When creating the aesthetic, director Maarten Groen and DP Mick van Dantzig were influenced by the cinematography of Tarantino’s Death Proof and the work of photographer Gregory Crewdson – looking at some of the images from the latter, it’s certainly easy to see how his work inspired the film.
Now close to completing one short (Vliegen (Flying) – A magical-realist film about a seven-year-old girl who witnesses a man jump from an apartment building without comprehending she’s just witnessed a suicide) and having just wrapped production on another (Hellingproef (Clutch Control) – a dark comedy about the dwindling love affair between a driving instructor and his pupil) it doesn’t sound like we’ll have to wait too long to see more of Groen and Vleugels’ work.