Fan Films@24 Panels: HARLEY QUINN: RED QUEEN

Red Queen – A Harley Quinn Fan Film is a 7-minute short brought to you by Mechanical Minds Studios, featuring Joker’s main squeeze. The film is written by model/actress Sheridyn Fisher and long-time friend Kerryn Williams and brought to life with the help of writer Daniel Maher and director Salim of Mechanical Minds.

This short film takes place in the twisted mind of Harley Quinn, manifested as a stylized reality that mirrors the asylum she’s in, and leads to a confrontation with her original persona, Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel.

The acting is strong across the board. Fisher’s quirky posturing was chilling as it drew on influences like horror flicks The Grudge or The Ring. Supporting actor Beau Baker offers an impeccable performance as “Nolan” who’s a manifestation of Harley’s “conscience,” projected as her mental corrupter, her love muffin, the Joker. Baker delivers a Joker voice that echoes that of Mark Hamill himself in a very haunting way.

The joke that’s gets delivered by Nolan carries the whole premise of the short—while also making a subtle reference to Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke”—by bringing up the notion of two sisters, one sane and the other insane, referencing the dual personalities that face off in Harley’s mind: that of “the character” Harley Quinn and “the real person” Harleen Quinzel. The meta-layer of it all is great stuff!

In an awesome, in-depth, “Red Queen” pre-production blog post on Mechanical Minds Studio’s site, Daniel shares some thoughts regarding all the facial scars on the characters. This section made me chuckle as it wonderfully illustrates the depths that writers usually think about the symbolism behind what they write, only to have it never benefit from audience awareness or appreciation.

The face cutting metaphor was also visualized in the facial scars of the various other characters in her mind, namely Nolan and guilt, who “have their faces cut up real bad” to mask their identities to show the internal conflict that might occur inside her mind. Salim tells me nobody will get it. I have faith someone will… The scars on Nolan reflect Harley’s own makeup in other adaptations of the character, I was trying to show that this Harley is a “post-Harley, Harley” a version of her character that is aware of previous versions of herself and has them existing her in mind, the makeup is scarred into her conscience to reflect the shackles of servitude and… nobody is gonna get it.

Considering this short flick is also positioned as “Episode One,” I’ll be enthusiastically waiting to see this idea explored further in (possible) future instalments!

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For some bonus enjoyment, check out the Behind the Scenes – Making of Red Queen!

NunoXEI

Nuno XEI is a programmer and designer by day; artist and writer by night. Always entertained by his overtly energetic pug, Mogwai, and forever distracted by ideas and projects, it's a wonder anything productive actually gets done at all. Currently, the biggest project being worked on is a 272-page comic project called "Raven Nevermore" and an 88-page graphic novel called "Koroo, the Black Lion" for his small press, XEI.IO.

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