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(Credit: A24)

Film

Watch Robert Eggers take on Edgar Allan Poe in his early short film 'The Tell-Tale Heart'

@SamWKemp

Today, there are few directors that can match Robert Eggers in terms of cult appeal. Since the release of his folk-horror debut The Witch back in 2015, he has become one of the most dominant voices in the indie film world. It says a lot that this year’s The Northman is only his third feature film.

While Eggers may only have three features to his name, each has proven to be utterly transcendent. He honed his filmmaking chops directing short films, using the form’s time restraints to craft succinct visions glimmering with detail. Seven years before The Witch, and after making a number of student films, he crafted The Tell-Tale Heart, an adaptation of the Edgar Allen Poe story of the same name.

Released in 2008, the film sees Egger fixate on the same minute details of the period that made The Witch such an all-consuming and terrifying offering. Thanks to the good people over at IndieWire, the project is now available to watch for free. In a recent statement about the early film, Eggers said: “I am pleased to share The Tell-Tale Heart. It is an uneven film, but my first film that I was proud of making. It is also my first collaboration with my DP Jarin Blaschke and editor Lousie Ford, and we have worked together ever since, so it is an important film for all three of us. It is also my first collaboration with sound designer Damian Volpe.”

Volpe worked with Eggers on his gothic psychodrama The Lighthouse, using period instruments and a variety of experimental techniques to craft one of the most unnerving and mesmerising pieces of sound design in recent times. Discussing the 2019 project with Deadline, Volpe said: “With the score, which was full frequency, and the necessity of clearing out the dialogue—which is difficult, even at the best of times, because of the language—to make space for that, we ended up experimenting with a very wide sound design, and it seemed to work beautifully in contrast, but also with the little black-and-white square in the centre of the screen. I thought it was a very interesting psychological combination. It still felt to me dated somehow, even though it wasn’t.”

Make sure you check out Egger’s adaptation of The Tell-Tale Heart below.