Saturday, March 22, 2008


[YouTube Link] Black Button, a short film by Lucas Crandles. If you couldn't get caught, would you kill a stranger for $10 million?

Run time: 7 minutes, 7 seconds long.


John said...


I recall the same basic premise -- the button and the cash reward -- on one of the several Twilight Zone wannabes which aired in the 1980s.

In that version, the people being tempted (a couple) were guaranteed that the victim would be someone they did not know. The tempter left them alone overnight to discuss the decision. They ended up pushing the button. The next day, the tempter shows up with the cash and picks up the button. They ask what will happen to the button device, and the tempter tells them that the button will be given to someone else ... "I can guarantee you that it will be someone you don't know," implying that they'll be the next victims.

This was sort of an inversion of that storyline -- the victim becomes the next person tempted, rather than the person tempted becoming the next victim.

John said...

I remembered that episode, too. It was a good'un.

Anonymous said...

That actually was a Twilight Zone episode from the 80s series. It was called Button, Button and is one of the more memorable episodes from that series.

I thought I read that there was going to be a full length movie based off the button idea but I haven't heard anything about it lately.

Ant said...

Twilight Zone’s Button, Button Episode:

Part 1:
Part 2:

Tom Jackson said...

I'd like to say I wouldn't, but then I remember Stanley Milgram's experiment from a long-ago Psych 101 class...

Anonymous said...

John is right.
Actually this is a rip off of a twilight zone from the 80's.
In it, a husband and wife are offered the choice. The button is red not black.

Very dissapointing to see someone else's idea taken and passed off as original.

Creativity is not something you can steal. When I find the link to that episode, your 15 minutes will be up.

Enjoy it thief.

Anonymous said...

You'd think that if you suddenly got zapped into a big white room with a guy who is omniscient (knows exact car deaths up to the second) that you were dealing with some serious paranormal shit and it would be safer to take the moral road. It's not like some guy in a suit walked up to you at Starbucks and made the same offer.

Hasn't the Twilight Zone taught us anything?

steve said...

Anonymous - as someone who works in the creative field I know that it can be hard to come up with an idea that has not been done before. This premise is not that uncommon and it has a nice twist that, I think you'll find, was not in the Twilight Zone episode as described. It is very possible that the creator had never seen that episode at all. I haven't, but I still recognised the setup.
It's easy to have a go at people on the internet without knowing all the facts, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

obviously they are somewhere in the UK, so why isn't it 1 million british pounds sterling?!! the devil should have access to a bureau de change

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 4.35, it's clear to anyone that Neighbours and Home & Away have had their fair influence on the modern British tongue, but I believe you'll find this was filmed in Sydney, not London.

$10M -- everyone has their price -- I'd be happy with a cool $1M, along with an end to war, famine, inequity... although that would negate all of my monetary gain.

Anonymous said...

God - whenever anyone creates anything interesting and puts it on the web, a legion of middle-aged dweebs scurries into their mom's basement and taps out some reference that it was done before.

As someone who was born well after the last Twilight Zone episode ever saw the light of day, I'd like to say this - "Nerds, go back to your Second LIfe Myspace fan page.

So something similar was done 20 years ago.

What's your point? Are directors and creative people now expected to reference the entirety of human expression so as not to upset the the deilcate sensabilities of film geeks and other tragic headcases.

To suggest that the film maker stole this idea is as insulting and baseless as to suggest that the Coen Brothers stole Homer's oddysey to make Oh Brother where art thou.


Tom Jackson said...

Maybe not, but they stole Hammett's "Red Harvest" to make "Miller's Crossing."

(Did not! Did too! .......)


Mark said...

"What's your point? Are directors and creative people now expected to reference the entirety of human expression so as not to upset the the deilcate sensabilities of film geeks and other tragic headcases."

Couldn't have said it better. If anything, this 'version' of the Faustian Bargain is better (and I've seen the TZ episode), which is based on a short story, which is based on a folk tale, which is based on a...etc

The guys who made this did a Making Of spot on YouTube, and they claim never to have seen the TZ episode. I believe them 100%. The differences in this one are so significant I think the point is invalid anyway.

They made this for $200 (they are Australian, from Melbourne) and did a fine job of it. I bet the angry anonymous accusing them of 'thieving' hasn't made anything 1/100th this impressive in their time.

In any case, it's gotten close to a million people on YouTube thinking (and was up for a YouTube best film award too), so that's not a bad thing.

Anyway, I thought it was brilliant on many levels. Talented fellows with bright careers ahead of them, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You're all right--but best to read the original story "Button, Button," by Richard Matheson. He is the author of "I Am Legend" and "What Dreams May Come", among others.