Houston’s Numbers Nightclub Presents Horror Movie

Screenshot from the horror movie “The Runner”

Photo: Courtesy of Jef Rouner

Nightclub Numbers continues to branch out into the world of film premieres with the latest project written, directed and produced by darkwave electronica duo Boy Harsher, “The Runner”.

“Over the past few years, Numbers has replaced our decades-old video screens and projectors with new equipment,” says owner Rudi Bunch. “We added a third backdrop to the scene to provide a wider and easier viewing angle. We often did seated shows of various types and the opportunities to do a few movie-style premieres seemed like a natural fit. The two-night screening of “Friday I’m In Love”, the documentary Numbers was a huge success, and another screening is in the works. Boy Harsher is hugely popular at Numbers and we jumped at the chance to show ‘The Runner’.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place for the creation of Boy Harsher. The Massachusetts band scored a solid goth club hit with 2014’s “Pain” and built a small network of related acts on their own Nude records that’s similar to Houston’s legendary Tone Zone.

Preview of “The Runner”

What: Screening of Boy Harsher’s short horror film.

When: 7 p.m. January 26

Or:Figures, 300 Westheimer

Details:$10; DJs Franki Franki and Pthalo also perform; 713-521-1121; numbersnightclub.com.

“The Runner” is somewhere between a video album and a real 40-minute horror film. Kris Esfandiari plays the title character, a young woman constantly spattered with blood who begins to stalk a small town in search of victims. Other musician friends of the group made appearances, such as Lucy’s Cooper Handy and FlucT’s Sigrid Lauren.

Meanwhile, Boy Harsher themselves are recording videos for their upcoming album, “The Runner Original Soundtrack.”.” These videos form a constant and disturbing presence.

The film is much more about dread than about horror. Boy Harsher has long compared himself to director David Lynch when it comes to presentation, and sometimes the parallels to films such as “Lost Highway” and “Mulholland Drive” dance the line between homage and outright borrowing. Nonetheless, the band beautifully captures the same wonderfully dark emotions and themes as Lynch. The Runner herself is an erotic and brutal presence that is obviously beyond comprehension of the city she is invading, even if people there are drawn to her. The one vicious on-screen murder that occurs seems as much a sexual act as an act of violence, which is surely no accident.

There is also a compelling meta element to the film. Singer Jae Matthews remarks at one point that The Runner is a part of herself she doesn’t particularly like, a model born out of regret and things she wishes she could take back. It leaves audiences wondering if all the carnage was just in someone’s imagination.

With its powerful combination of music and macabre imagery, “The Runner” is sure to be a big hit at Numbers. There are moments that beg to be danced to as much as watched, and the film is an engrossing descent into the delicious madness of one of the best darkwave bands operating today.

Jef Rouner is a Houston-based writer.

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