First published in the October 1973 issue of Cavalier magazine, Gray Matter is a kind of distant relative to "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" segment of the King-George A. Romero collaboration CREEPSHOW. It's the story of a young man who claims his alcoholic father is transforming into some kind of monster after drinking beer from a can with some strange gray mold on it. This is King in his horror fan mode. With a knod to Joseph Payne Levering's famous short story, Slime as well as 50s monster movies like The Blob and The Fly, King fuses the old fashioned tale with his own brand of small town horror story. With King's quirky local characters lending believability to the far out story, Gray Matter emerges as something much more ambiguous and disturbing.
Filmmaker James Burgess Cox has done something unique with his adaptation of the story, Grey Matter and it goes beyond just the spelling of the title. His version smartly shifts the point of view entirely to the young man, Isaac, and focuses on the boy's troubled home life and his attempts to be understood by the authority figures at his school. It's a bold change that takes the subtext of the original story and presents it much more directly and dramatically. The film is extraordinarily well directed with performances that convince you that these characters live lives outside the frame of the film. Even though it's a short film, Cox's Grey Matter has the dramatic weight of a feature film.
GREY MATTER was produced at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film & Media Arts with the help of film students from USC, UCLA, and AFI. The film was also shot on location in Long Beach and Orange, CA.
Jury Prize at United Film Festival - London
Outstanding Performance at Big Bear Horror Film Festival
Best Student Film at Vail Film Festival
Best Horror Short at Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival
Best Student Film at Charlotte Horror Fest