Director, Producer, Director of Photography
"Rarely has paranoia been so much fun... Jay Holben has created a stunning and artful rendering of madness, turning a poem by Stephen King into a vivid and compelling nightmare vision."
- David Wild
Rolling Stone Magazine
"An existential visual masterpiece The overall effect of the film is hypnotic. This is without a doubt one of the finest "dollar babies" to date. A+!"
- Stephen J. Spignesi
The Essential Stephen King
Directed by Jay Holben
Based on the Poem "Paranoid: A Chant" by Stephen King
Director of Photography Jay Holben
A visceral descent into depths of a depraved mind, Paranoid takes the viewer on a dark trail into the roots of insanity where only fragments of reality remain to color the desperate existence of a tortured woman.
"Last night a dark man with no face crawled through nine miles
of sewer to surface in my toilet, listening
for phone calls through the cheap wood
with chrome ears.
I tell you man, I hear." *
Originally appearing as a 100 line poem entitled "Paranoid: A Chant" in Stephen King's 1985 short story collection Skeleton Crew, Paranoid - the film - is a short adaptation, one of the famed "Dollar Babies" done by Los Angeles-based director and cinematographer Jay Holben.
Opening in a dilapidated motel room crouching deep within the seedier parts of an unnamed city, we slowly venture inside to the last refuge of a troubled woman. With the meticulousness that seems to be only afforded to the deeply disturbed, she carefully catalogues each infinite detail of her nightmarish existence in hundreds of composition notebooks as waitresses replace salt with arsenic, old ladies place electronic suction cups on their floor upstairs to send out rays through light fixtures and They send puppies with radio cobwebs in their noses to keep track of her. Everywhere she turns there is another ominous shadow following, listening.
We can only watch helplessly as a besieged soul desperately cries out for help. We can witness the strengths of her deprived delusions and wonder - what was that sound outside?
They are out there, you know.
Listening. Watching. Waiting.
It's only a matter of time before They pounce and when they do - will you be ready?
Did you remember to lock the door?
Paranoid was the first (and, to date only) official Dollar Baby to be released online. By special permission from Stephen King, Paranoid was online from February to October 2002. It was featured on the enormously popular shot film website iFilm.com and hit #1 drama, #6 short overall on the site for two weeks. Paranoid was also commercially released on 30,000 DVDs packaged with Total Movie Magazine. Unprecedented in the Dollar Baby world.
In addition, the short film has been written about in innumerable magazines and books including The Essential Stephen King by Stephen J. Spignesi and Creepshows The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide by Stephen Jones.
Paranoid has screened all over the world at Dollar Baby festivals from Argentina to Spain to Belgium and all over the United States. It is often heralded as one of the best adaptations of Stephen King's material.