“Rowdy” Roddy Piper gives one of his final performances in Portal to Hell!!!, a spectacularly unhinged short film from Vivieno Caldinelli. The story of a downtrodden janitor who finds, well, a portal to hell in the basement of his building, this is a blistering combination of humour and gore, and about as effective a crowd-pleasing short as you’re likely to see anywhere this year.
Vaguely playing out in two halves, the film begins by emphasising the mundanity of custodian Jack (Piper)’s existence. Sedately following him as he attends to the everyday problems of the people living in his building, he struggles to keep his a lid on his resentment as he’s condescended to, but struggles through under a thin veil of politeness. It’s an effectively low-key setup that adds some emphasis to proceedings when he heads for the basement and Portal abruptly shifts gears.
What follows is pretty sensational. Brilliantly chaotic, riotously funny and impressively blood-soaked, Portal to Hell is a powerhouse of entertainment. Running the gauntlet of style and tone before ending on a smart, funny note, this is irresistible stuff that leaves you desperate to find out what Caldinelli would do with a feature film.