Watch Robert Eggers’ first short film, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’

Exclusive: The project marked Eggers’ first collaboration with longtime cameraman Jarin Blaschke and editor Lousie Ford.

Robert Eggers is such a dominant force in the indie film world that it’s easy to forget that “The Northman” is only his third film. Eggers made his feature film debut with 2015’s “The Witch,” but he started directing films seven years earlier when he adapted Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” as a short film in 2008.

The film helped Eggers develop the historical horror aesthetic that he perfected in “The Witch,” and he built relationships with several key collaborators. Now cinephiles can watch the short film for the first time, as Eggers has chosen to show the film exclusively on IndieWire.

“I’m excited to share ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’ It’s an uneven film, but my first film that I made with pride,” Eggers wrote in a statement. “It’s also my first collaboration with my DP Jarin Blaschke and editor Lousie Ford, and we’ve been working together ever since, so it’s an important film for all three of us. It is also my first collaboration with sound designer Damian Volpe.”

Eggers isn’t the first filmmaker to find inspiration in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story, which follows a man overcome with an inexplicable desire to kill an elderly companion, but is haunted by his heartbeat into the walls after he got it done. It has been adapted into many films, most notably a 1928 silent film by Charles Klein and Leon Shamroy, a 1961 horror film by Ernest Morris, and most recently the 2009 film “Tell Tale” by executive producer Ridley Scott.

Like many short film makers, Eggers had to compromise elements of his vision to handle the difficult shooting conditions. However, he believes that some of the obstacles he encountered led him to even more creative ideas.

“Originally I wanted an incredibly weak actor, on the brink of death, to play The Old Man, and realized the shooting conditions wouldn’t be able to accommodate that frailty. We shot the film in February in an abandoned 19th-century house. in New Hampshire, in February… It was filthy and cold — to say the least,” Eggers said.

“I said to myself, ‘I’d rather have a doll playing The Old Man than a slightly younger actor with makeup.’ That stuck. This idea of ​​a non-living doll or puppet as antagonist was an odd choice, but for better or for worse, one that certainly makes the film unique. I’m also very proud of Carrinton Vilmont’s performance. I hope that the public takes notice of him.”

You can watch Eggers’ “The Tell-Tale Heart,” an IndieWire exclusive, below:

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