The Contraption (1977) Poster

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8/10
mad
astroman201219 March 2007
i saw this when i was about 7 or 8! it was shown before "grease" of all films! I've never forgot about it and 25 years on still remember it vividly! fans of this should check out "la cabana" a Spanish short film about a man stuck in a telephone box! its quite bizarre and pretty disturbing!!! it starts off pretty light hearted but soon turns pretty twisted and has a very twisted ending,"the contraption" also reminds me of the song "whats he building" by tom waits! its a very intriguing song about a man building something in a shed! check it out i promise you wont be disappointed! id love to see "the contraption" again but probably never will!
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verrry strange short.
HyperPup15 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** I don't know much about who, what or why this was produced but it was cool. A small bit of drama, short (I think 15 minutes) and concise. Richard O'Brien whiles away his time at bulding a rather complex device, cutting and planing wood, drilling, bending metal pipes and such, and all for what? Well, I believe this little gem is lost in the annals of videoland, so it will probably never air again so I'll tell ya. He completes the device and we see a large and menacing mousetrap, just the right size for...him. And with that he lays himself down on the trigger and snaps his neck in the trap. Cold, chilling, and quick. I believe this was part of a group of shorts, but I cannot remember as it aired on HBO and a few other cable channels before it became completely lost to time.
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Well made short with one line of dialogue
otherRic29 April 1999
This almost wordless short is visually gripping. It is, effectively, a 5 minute one-man play that will leave you stunned.
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mysterious little short
FieCrier27 October 2010
Happily, I was able to view this award-winning short online.

A man constructs a contraption while surrounded by pitch black darkness. A musical saw wavers out a tune on the soundtrack. Contrary to one description I've read, I did not see or hear his wife berating him while he was doing this. The end might come as a surprise, but probably not. The one line of dialog at the end suggests why the contraption might have been built, but for the most part we are left wondering who the characters were and what their lives were like and why it ended this way.

I wonder what Dearden's other short films are like?
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8/10
Excellent, from what I remember.
mchenryproj17 May 2007
I saw this long forgotten gem on the old late night cable show Night Flight, on US television back in the late 1970s. It played once or twice and that was the only place I ever saw it.

Without spoiling it all I can say is it is well done. A gentleman retires to his basement workshop and continues on a project building an unknown object. His wife continually berates the man, unseen but heard from the top of the stairs all the while. In the end, he finds his escape in "The Contraption".

Richard O'Brien was a hot commodity then as the Rocky Horror Picture Show was at perhaps it's peak here in the Midwest. Tim Curry went on to do a few albums and several more mainstream films like Clue here in the US. I owned a copy of his album Read My Lips. Susan Sarandon became quite big and Barry Bostwick made a name again with Spin City years later.

If anyone out there knows where I can beg, borrow, buy or otherwise find a copy of this short, please e-mail me. McHenryProj@Yahoo.com should get to me.
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10/10
Stunning.
RobCrus12 December 1998
This short film is one of my personal favorites to watch. It is well-shot, the atmosphere dingy and oppressive, and a natural tension builds as you watch "Man" (Richard "God" O'Brien) build his mysterious "Contraption". There is next to nothing to distract you, no dialogue, save a voice-over at the very end of the film, so you find yourself pulled into the world of the character for its duration.

I'd recommend it to anyone, not only O'Brien fans, but to them of course, it is indeed a MUST.
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9/10
A very clever and creepy short
Woodyanders12 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A balding and bespectacled man (well played with quiet intensity by Richard O'Brien; Riff Raff in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show") feverishly concentrates on putting together an elaborate contraption in his dank basement for an extremely bleak and shocking reason. Writer/director Richard Dearden does a sterling job of creating and sustaining a tremendously suffocating claustrophobic atmosphere and a pervasively cold, clammy, and ultimately chilling tone which culminates in a startling surprise bummer ending that's capped off with a perfectly harsh and snippy lone closing line. O'Brien's excellent acting really holds this offbeat short together; he's totally riveting and convincing as he works on his gloomy project with a certain grim resolve and unwavering sense of steely determination. Starkly shot in a single cramped and confined setting, further enhanced by a terrific use of amplified sound effects (the constant dripping water is genuinely unnerving), and done mostly in tight close-ups with a strong mood of compelling ambiguity and a spare'n'spacey score, this supremely freaky gem packs one hell of a wickedly potent and unsettling wallop.
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4/10
Of men and mice
Horst_In_Translation13 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The Contraption" is a British 8-minute short film written and directed by James Dearden. It was his very first work as a filmmaker and he was still in his 20s here. His most notable effort later on was the Academy Award nominated script from "Fatal Attraction". "The Contraption" is probably a horror movie. It is fairly atmospheric, but I cannot say I found it really scary. The eerie music just isn't enough. Certainly the machine and physics are more in the center of the film than the man who builds the contraption. The biggest award that this film won was actually from my hometown#s film festival. Yet I cannot really agree with them on this one. The ending somehow elevates the material, but I still cannot recommend it. Didn't think this was a particularly interesting watch. Not recommended.
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7/10
All about the build-up to the climatic visual punch line.
Bonehead-XL7 November 2013
A stalwart feature on Saturday Nightmares, this seven minute short film stars Richard O'Brien, of "Rocky Horror" fame, as a man building… Something. I honestly can't talk about it much without spoiling it. I'll just say the film is all about the build-up to the climatic visual punch line and it does so fantastic.

As for the presentation, the short is very well shot. In close angles, we see the man working with his tools. A saw rushed into our eyes, wires and steel rods assembled from odd angles. The construction is intentionally show so that we aren't entirely sure what we're looking at. This short's success rides a great deal on its excellent sound design. In the heavily shadow room, all we here is a distant leaky pipe and the clanking and grinding of the man at work. This is another fantastic short and it's great that the internet and streaming video sites make it so easy now to revisit this types of film, stuff we'd otherwise would never see again.
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7/10
Was I missing something here?
poolandrews27 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Contraption tells the story of a man (Richard O'Brien) who, in a dark room of some description, is building some sort of contraption from wood & metal for a very disturbing purpose...

Written, produced & directed James Dearden this is an odd 7 minute 34 second short (or maybe it's not a short, I mean how short does a short have to be to be called a short?) time filler which is almost indescribable. With only one line of dialogue in the entire thing for the first 4 minutes & 30 seconds The Contraption is just a montage of woodworking imagery as O'Brien drills, planes, screws, nails, hammers & builds whatever it is he's building. If that sounds like fun to you or you like DIY then The Contraption could just be the short your looking for otherwise I'm not really sure what the appeal of Tha Contraption is other than to discover what O'Brien is making, there really is nothing else to it until the bizarre ending which I won't spoil. At least it's short, it's certainly memorable & there's nothing wrong with it but I can't really see much right with it either.

I don't know this is a strange one let me tell you, it'll pass 7 minutes & 34 seconds in a bizarre manner I suppose but I don't really know what to make of it. It's certainly watchable & something different, I'm not sure where on Earth you'd find a copy of it though.
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