Buggin’ On Shorts: Sam Raimi’s Clockwork (1978)

Heya, folks. I had so much fun with short films over the holidays I decided to make it a semi regular thing. So here and there look out for installments of The Lair’s newest feature, Buggin’ On Shorts. Why is it called that? I have no clue. I was the first thought that popped in my mind and I went with it. Today’s short is one I’ve wanted to see for a long, long time. While Sam Raimi might have embroiled himself in the Spider Man franchise (1 out of 3 ain’t bad), an all female western (which I like personally), and a baseball movie (Seriously? WTF?), over the years, when it gets down to brass tacks, Sam’s a horror guy, and that had to  start somewhere

Raimi made his first film in 1977 with the campy mystery It’s Murder featuring a young Bruce Campbell, and there was literally no looking back from there. Raimi’s third film Within the Woods (also with Campbell) is one I’ve seen many times, and I always enjoy seeing the potential he put forth in these early films. Today’s short was Raimi‘s second short film, Clockwork, and when I say short I mean short. While It’s Murder runs over an hour and Within the Woods clocks in at 32 minutes, Clockwork only makes it barely past the 6 minute mark. That’s not to say it doesn’t pack a punch, and show off Sam Raimi’s very first cinematic moments of horror.

The film stars Cheryl Guttridge as a woman returning home, and future writer/ producer/ Intruder director Scott Spiegel as a psycho killer coming to get her. Why? No time to say, and I mean literally. With no dialog at all the in the short, Raimi pulls out all the stops from  the strange, disconcerting soundtrack to clever movements of the camera that hint at the Sam Raimi who would helm Evil Dead not more than three years later. Clockwork,  filmed before Within the Woods, was as Bruce Campbell says in If Chins Could Kill “a test”.

The test would lead to a prototype (Within the Woods) which would eventually lead up to a finished work (Evil Dead). Without these six minutes, there is no way of telling if Sam Raimi would have ended up directing one of the biggest franchises in the world, if Bruce Campbell would have appeared in all those Old Spice commercials, or if Scott Spiegel would have directed Hostel III (Hey, Scott. You can’t win ‘em all buddy) So that about wraps it up for today. If I go on much longer it’s going to take you folks more than six minutes to read this, and that doesn’t seem fair. So I hope you check it out and let me know what you think, and until later this has been me, T.L. Bugg and I’ve been Buggin’ On Shorts.


  1. I swear, Bugg, you find THE coolest sh*t ever. I've heard of 'Within the Woods,' though I've never had the chance to see it. This short really does prove to be an interesting exercise in retrospect to Raimi's 'Evil Dead' franchise.

    I wish the old Raimi would come back. 'Drag Me to Hell' was close, but it lacked the charisma that Campbell gave to Evil Dead.

  2. Thank you Filmics, though I suspect you just dropped by to leave that link. If I'm wrong, then thanks for commenting.

    Strange Kid, I do my best. I was really surprised to run across this as I had long ago stopped looking for it. Right now (how long it will last who knows), but It's Murder and Within the Woods are both also available in parts on YouTube.

    I agree Drag Me to Hell was enjoyable, and the female lead did kind of have a likeability that reminded me of Bruce (she's half a douche caught up in supernatural shite/sight gags), but as a whole while I enjoyed in in the theater, I found the home experience very lacking. The imagery and sound design were perfect for such an experience. I would love to see Raimi come back truly in form, but as the years pass, I find it less likely that it will happen.

  3. Where can I watch this? It's been removed from youtube and i really want to see this :[


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