Cinemaphobia (2001)

Mike Matei / September 19th, 2001

A psychological dream-like film about a movie actor tormented by the films he plays in.

This was the first movie I edited non-linear, using the computers at my college, though this was not a class assignment as most of my films were. There’s been some slight re-editing over the years, making this a bit shorter than the original.

A sequel was planned Cinemaphobia: Reloaded, as a joke on the overuse of the word “Reloaded” as a sequel title and the act of “reloading” a camera. It would have delved further into the actor’s paranoid psyche watching his life being documented on an internet webcam. I never had time to make it.


  • Fred Fuchs

    April 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    really like this short movie! i especially liked hte beginning it really felt as if the actor was mentally instable
    In the bathroom scene i secretly hoped the thing would come out of the toilet but i will just watch ‘it came from the toilet’ again then;)

    I hope you can find some time in the near future to make a 2nd one!

  • April 24, 2010 at 7:39 am

    My favorite out of all your movies. Love this one

  • chrisbg99

    April 25, 2010 at 4:03 am

    See where you got the gag for the Friday the 13th 3 locks part.

    Interesting video to.

  • JayEff

    May 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    How did you do the “walking” camera tripod? D8 Did you hold it by the top which is out of the picture? Anyways, you’re a genius! :>

  • shiningstar7

    May 12, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Lol great job. Love this one, especially making the tripod walk down the stairs…creepy but amazing at the same time!

  • Xavi

    May 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I really enjoyed what you did with all the camera effects, as if to tie in to the fact that we actually are watching through the eye of another camera. The whole movie seemed extremely artistic to me. Very impressive.

  • amberdarko86

    May 28, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Absolutely love the ending! Great one James!

  • FanNR2

    June 14, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I so love this movie this is my favorite movie i just love it !…

  • Gimianax

    July 8, 2010 at 5:24 am

    love the walking of the camera

    also, glad you lost the mustache

  • KillaJake117

    August 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Haha. I loved this one. Like all the other people, the walking camera part was my favorite. It’s just…weird, but cool at the same time 😀

  • Chillymuffin

    August 16, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Awesome lighting effects! I think the part with the mirror was both humorous and kind of freaky. Do you think you’ll ever continue this series? You should if you ever get free time. Err “free time.”

  • QMorris

    August 22, 2010 at 1:48 am

    The opening sequence was very unsettling… good acting on your part.

    And I couldn’t help but laugh a little at the ending. (I just find horror to be funny sometimes. I have an odd sense of humor.)

    Also, your concept for the sequel reminded me of Satoshi Kon’s “Perfect Blue”. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but it’s an animated psychological thriller about a singer-turned-actress who is tormented by a mysterious website that has surprisingly detailed insight into her daily life.

    It’s… interesting… Check it out sometime. (Just as a warning: it contains explicit scenes of violence, rape, and fish. Lots and lots of fish.)

  • MikeTupperTheKiller

    August 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    The first scene truly is great, and the whole disorienting feeling of the movie makes it nauseatingly great

  • MikeTupperTheKiller

    August 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    And I love the mustache, bring it back, its so 80’s

  • September 28, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    It’s Great .. I got knighmares with tha walking tripod.. Awesome !!!

  • October 1, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Haha, nice “walking” tripod.
    Damn, you make such good movies. I’m jealous.

  • gamegirl99

    October 10, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    The walking tripod and the dream sequence gave me chills! I love the ending, too. So cool. I would love to see the sequel if you ever get around to it.

  • Thebackgroundguy

    October 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    This is really cool. The camera work is amazing, and the acting on James’s behalf: impeckable. I still want to know how the tripod “turned it’s head” in the fire scene.

  • balb93

    November 15, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    cool video, interesting idea, but that mustache was brutal

  • November 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Really liked this video. Had something of an Evil Dead feel. Best part that just blew my mind was the house fire. There’s no way that the carpet caught on fire inside lol. Job well done.

  • November 16, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    This is really a good one. You look so young!

  • November 16, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    James you do have a lot of fans in China. They call you 喷神詹姆斯.

  • November 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I got a David Lynch vibe from this.

  • November 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    OMG what great end!!! This is amaizing, congraulations James

  • KJJ

    November 18, 2010 at 4:19 am

    I really liked it. It was actually very suspenseful! That final scare with the camera in the woods made me jump, lol.

    Well done, James.

  • November 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

    The stache is pimp.

  • JM

    November 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    a good video

  • johannes646

    December 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    the moustache is so stupid

  • danieldelgrande

    December 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Man, I gotta tell you, I love this site James, but I would love it more if you make more movies of you own instead making so many reviews about other people´s work. I know you are being paid for making reviews but I´m shure you must be dying to make your own movies with your own personal style. For what I saw on your favourites shorts you made, you make a lot of tributes but you still haven´t made something with an identity of your own, and I would love to see that. I hope you could do it.
    PS: sorry about the grammar, I´m from Argentina and I understand English more than I speak.

  • LukeNeufeld

    January 2, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Your movies are amazing! People can whine about how often you make reviews, but in my opinion, you should make LESS reviews and make more of these movies. I love how organic they feel. Every film on this site is inspiring, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for your work!

  • February 23, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Theres something about that ending that gives me chills man. Very original, awesome fire scene, dont know how you pulled that off without actually burning the house. Im sure it was just special effects but man it looked so real. I liked this vid. And why is everyone hating on the stash? I thought it looked cool man. peace james.

    • fob911

      December 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      watch cinemassacre 200. He used smoke and red lights for the fire scene, and the real fire was far away from the house with a cardboard wall and some extra carpet.

  • Andoru

    March 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Very inspiring film. Love the way you made it feel so psychological and disorienting. Can’t wait until you get the time to make more.

  • Born in the wrong time.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm


  • Skeletonz

    June 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Thats sweet! Nice work man, I like your movies alot. I hope you make more movies, I know your busy and all but I just love these. And this one takes the cake!

  • Mister Buckethead

    July 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I had not seen any movies of yours that weren’t reviews, or overanalyzers.
    Now that i’ve seen this one, i gotta say, it’s pretty amazing, i love the psychological dimension and the horror movie satire.
    And the ending was really awesome, i was expecting something like that, and i’m glad my expectations were right, because i think it’s totally the point of the movie : a movie of a guy who breaks the fourth wall, but making a movie about him is just emprisonning him into more walls . And it goes on and on.
    Anyway, great movie, the visual was really cool, with the mirrors and everything, and so was the reflexion. Now i’m gonna stop watching movies about infinity, i just went through “Inception” just before, now that’s enough xD.

  • July 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Of all the movies you made outside of AVGN, this one is your best in terms of style and substance!

    Maybe after you make the AVGN movie, you can make that sequel. Just get fans with webcams to take part in it and you have your movie. I don’t have one of my own, but hopefully someday.

  • werdman24

    July 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I can definitely see the inspiration for your Friday the 13th review. It was a pretty good short film.

  • tjsynkral2

    July 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    What’s 2+2

  • July 15, 2011 at 1:47 am

    That was fucking awesome. Seems like he’s channeling Bruce Campbell in this one.

  • August 15, 2011 at 9:48 am

    You managed to make this movie scary, and that is what you do. You have a film, a simple raw tape that is boring to watch, but the way you edit and put hard work into your films, it makes your movies amazing! I am completely inspired by watching any of your movies. Simply wonderful!

  • DavidMuro

    September 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    5:44 also used on dublrvision part 2!

  • September 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Awesome film, you should really make the sequel when you get the time to do it.

  • TheFilmslinger

    September 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    This is a work of directorial genius

  • sophienouveau

    October 7, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Except for the scene with the door and the carpet I find this movie to be very AWESOME! Reminds me of Peeping Tom.

  • bimmylee95

    November 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    This is one of your best short films. I think after you release the Nerd movie and your official film career takes off, you should remake this into a feature length film. I would pay to see it.

  • wiley

    November 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Wow James, looking good. Honestly like a young Bruce Campbell. Didn’t realize you were so goddam old.

  • nesnerd4life

    November 23, 2011 at 1:01 am

    the part when the camera came back gave me a shock nice video i agree with bimmylee95 make this a movie

  • fob911

    December 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    the beginning was really frightening, just seeing the overworked movie actor. Damn man. This should be a feature-length film. Really, it should. After AVGN the movie work on this.

  • horrorgamenerd

    January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I was waiting for the projector with a chainsaw :p

  • RowanJColeman

    February 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm


  • hammondkelsey

    August 22, 2012 at 12:25 am

    James, i don’t know if you actually read these comments, but i have to say that i really enjoyed this film. even though i discovered you through AVGN, your other work really sticks with me. man, what i would give to see a sequel. amazing job, and though you may have heard this a million times, keep up the good work and i seriously can’t wait to see more films like this from you.


  • January 16, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Very very original!

  • January 31, 2013 at 2:28 am

    This was such a good idea for a film. I think you should remake it in the years to come, when you have some more free time of course.

  • Ruben

    March 27, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Awesome movie, James! I love it! You should really make a sequel.

  • TheElectricVolt

    April 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

    So weird! The beginning really made me feel as if this guy was insane, and few movies do that. Loved the fourth wall joke at the end.

  • June 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    How did you get a firefighter

  • Lanlost

    October 11, 2013 at 12:09 am

    You know…

    I’ve seen this before I’m sure.

    Upon second viewing I must say, this has to be one of your greatest short films. Sure, it has flaws, but they are pretty much all excuseable.

    First of all, in ways it’s VERY obvious that a) this was 2001, and b) this was the first time you edited a non-linear movie using a computer. Why? Because of the over use of effects. Especially knowing your background of no-string budgets having all these options available must have been overwhelming.

    That being said, for the most part, you used the effects to great er… effect.

    The only other major flaw is the young twenties ambition of making this an art film of varying degrees. I know it when I see my old work (not film.) It’s the same way when you go back and read something you wrote in high school and end up face palming at the emo-ness of it all.

    But like I said, despite those two major things, it’s actually really interesting. The beginning up to the montage (which could be a bit more focused) was especially great considering the circumstances you were in and working in at the time.

    Assuming an average student-film type of film getting a 2.5/5 I’d say that this is easily a 4/5. For what it is it’s definitely far above a true average.

  • Sebastian Quirarte

    March 10, 2014 at 4:07 am

    James you are an awesome human being, i am currently 16 and have watched your video since i was 11. The first AVGN episode i saw was the Spiderman one. I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me and countless others and for making us laugh like little girls at your videos. Thanks James.

  • Jamie Sutherland

    May 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Hey, Ed Glaser is in this movie

  • windrammingroadkillskunk

    June 15, 2014 at 5:12 am

    At some point in the future, James should do a feature length remake of this.

    • meinerHeld

      June 29, 2015 at 1:57 am

      I don’t know about feature-length, but who knows? Could be great! At any rate, I’d definitely like to see more like this. And James, you’re not too shabby in front of the camera either!

  • June 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    The song Tomarrow comes today by gorillaz fits this movie

  • Sureshot Pictures

    July 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    This is awesome! I think this and cinemassacre 200 are my favorite cinemassacre movies
    James gives a great performance and its visuals and style are extremely impressive
    Its a very interesting and well made film
    Your my hero James

  • Richard Fukuda

    July 7, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    That face at 2:08 freaked me out!

  • John Locklear

    November 6, 2015 at 10:41 am

    One of your best! 🙂

  • A J S

    June 5, 2016 at 6:56 am

    the effects in this are great, and i love making movies myself

  • Noa Moskaljov

    October 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    This, The Deader The Better and Legend of The Blue Hole are the best of your movies, especially this one. Although, when he said ”My life is not a movie!” I would prefer this movie if he didn’t look at the camera, meaning he is in a movie. I would’ve liked it better if you would put that part out, but still one of the best movies 🙂

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