Alumni film ‘Split Ends’ makes third appearance at SDSU’s Halloween film festival


Courtesy of Casey Nicholas Price

“Split Ends,” a short horror film, was inspired by an old barbershop in Pacific Beach.

by Nathan Godderis, Contributor

At San Diego State’s 2018 Halloween film festival, a range of films created by students were displayed for the audience. Films ranging from horror to comedy didn’t fail to entertain on Halloween night.

One of the short films, “Split Ends,” played at the festival for its third year in a row. The movie was created in 2014 by former film major Casey Nicholas Price, who graduated from SDSU in 2016. The film has made a lasting impression at SDSU as an enticing and unique horror movie.

Price may have graduated more than two years ago, but his movie is still being played at multiple film festivals around San Diego and even the world. His most notable invitation was when his movie was selected to play in the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France in 2015, which made it into their short film library, an honor only for the best films to play at the festival.

Price said he is always appreciative of his films being played in festivals and enjoys the satisfaction of being a filmmaker there.

“Being in that audience and seeing the reactions, whether it’s a horror film, a comedy — just hearing their reactions is what you do it for,” Price said. “You’re with the crowd enjoying it, and you know you did what you were supposed to do, and they’re reacting to what you created.”

“Split Ends” takes a unique angle to a horror story, featuring a barber, a victim and a horrifying bloodbath. Price said he thought of the idea for the film through an old-school barbershop in Pacific Beach where Price went regularly while living there.

The film is shot using distinct perfect shots, which gives it compelling visuals from the eye of cinematographers to regular viewers. Price learned this technique in his film class during his junior year at SDSU.

“I created perfect shots, and I reverse-engineered a script,” Price said. “I made all the shots first, and then I went through and I wrote it out as a script, it came out to be nine or 10 pages. So I kind of did it backward but it turned out great. Every shot that’s moving is a perfect shot for cinematography.”

Price combines these eye-catching visuals with tantalizing horror scenes that shake a viewer’s emotions. One of his goals was to make viewers leave the film with a memorable experience, and horror is one of the best ways to do that.

Theatre alumna Belle Adams, who plays one of the main roles in the film, said it was a movie that was meant to capture the emotions of the audience.

“It’s one of those films that hurts to watch,” Adams said, “which I think makes an impact on people because you don’t really remember facts about things but you remember the way it makes you feel. So I think that film did its job in the way that it made people feel, that it was a memorable experience watching it.”

Price credits SDSU’s film department for much of his progression in filmmaking and the creation of this work. Since graduating, he’s been working as part of many productions, one including a movie called “The Samuel Project,” which will screen nationwide.

“It’s always been an honor to be an Aztec and go through the film program at San Diego State,” he said. “I had awesome professors there, so to know that my film is being resurrected to play at the festival, it’s really cool to have a generation — some new classes — be able to enjoy a little squirm and cringe at a movie they’ve never seen before.”