Paul McComas’ surprise winning shorts

Evanston writer and filmmaker Paul McComas celebrated this week after winning the inaugural “Best Short Feature” prize at the Talking Pictures Festival for his horror homage, “Blood of the Wolfman.”

But he couldn’t have done it without the help of a key collaborator: his 13 year-old self, who shot the majority of the “Wolfman’s” 8 mm footage in 1975.

“Winning was a true surprise. In terms of production values, I probably should have come in last,” McComas confesses. “I’m assuming the judges based their decision on heart and innovation, and on my respectful, affectionate evocation of the source material.”

A charming tribute to 1940s werewolf and voodoo movies, “Blood of The Wolfman” is one of a series of DIY “inter- generational self-collaborations” McComas has produced over the last three years from silent films he shot as horror and sci-fi obsessed teenager.

Now an acclaimed fiction and screenwriter with five published books, McComas was inspired to dig into his personal film archive while researching his latest novel, “Planet of the Dates,” a semi-autobiographical coming of age story set in Wisconsin during the summer of 1980.

“These movies had literally sat in my parents’ basement for 30 years before I decided to reengage with them,” says McComas.

“When I looked at them again, I saw such utter sincerity. I thought it not only would be interesting to collaborate with my younger self, but that it would also validate and redeem him on some level,”

McComas, who has an MFA in film from Northwestern, used an analog splicer to meld together segments from more than 40 different childhood films, with new scenes shot on Super 8. He transferred the footage to digital, adding post effects and sound tracks.

“I’ve made six shorts like this so far, and there’s enough material for probably three or four more,” says McComas, whose primary focus is on writing and teaching.