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"CORDIAL KILL" - a short film by Josh Gaines


CORDIAL KILL is a Tarantino/Scorsese-esque off-kilter dark comedy modeled after the great crime films of the 1970's and 80's. It revolves around two low-ranking mob men, Jermaine Ross and Barry Henson, who have been tasked with the job of offing someone who wronged their boss one too many times. It follows an unconventional plot pacing, as the majority of the film's run-time is spent simply "hanging out" with Jermaine (a disgruntled 40-something of few words who has been at his job for too long) and Barry (a jovial but overbearing chatterbox with an affinity for film trivia) as they drive around the city, biding their time in Paddy-Jack's Irish Pub (in which Barry acts out an outlandish and colorful story about the night of his 21st birthday), and finally accomplishing the grim task at hand. Jermaine and Barry are quirky, inconsistent individuals, and they're completely incompetent criminals. CORDIAL KILL is an original screenplay by Denver author Josh Gaines and will also serve as his directorial debut.


CORDIAL KILL is, as of July 2016, in pre-production and set to shoot over the course of three to four days in late August 2016 following a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5000.00 to fund the film. Ongoing updates surrounding production will be posted here as well as on Josh Gaines' Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.


Cordial Kill began its life as a short story of mine that I began writing in Summer 2015. It was/is the first chapter of a larger crime novel that takes place in 1982 Los Angeles called Blacktop City. I've now adapted it to screenplay form and changed the location from L.A. to Denver. While it is a first chapter, it stands alone as its own self-contained story, and hints at the deeper, darker, and more zany world in which it takes place.

Contrary to my previous writing, Cordial Kill was inspired more-so by movies than by works of written fiction. I can't deny that it draws heavily from the work of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese (among others). I have always admired these filmmakers' sensibilities and their talents for blending cinematic art with playful humor; for melding dark settings and dangerous characters with quirky scenarios and jarring events that come from out of left field. With Cordial Kill, I'm setting out to tell a similar kind of off-kilter crime story that borrows its tone from movies like Pulp FictionGoodfellasThe French ConnectionThe Departed, and Reservoir Dogs.

While Cordial Kill is technically a crime film, it is an unconventional one that embraces a certain level of quirkiness and absurd humor. And, as with any story I set out to tell, I want to give my readers (in this case, viewers) a sense of surprise and delight. I want to tell a story that will feel initially familiar but ultimately goes into unexpected territory.

Now, not only am I getting to make Cordial Kill into the film that I've always envisioned that it could be, I've also been given the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented people from the film industry who are lending their skills to this project in order to make it as vibrant and beautiful as possible.

Kickstarter pitch video: