The second night of the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in San Diego kicked off with the most surprising of documentaries. However, festival director Miguel Rodriguez explained the significance behind this documentary and why it should be shown. Following that first film we were treated to this night’s programming of the Comedy Shorts Block, after which we then had some exposure to a Tokusatsu film from Japan, and then a documentary about a certain giant monster closed out this evening’s programming.
Here is the breakdown of night 2 from Horrible Imaginings Film Festival.
The Last Pinoy Action King
The description for his movie has been called “heartbreaking,” but there is little heartbreaking about it. While the end of Rudy “Daboy” Fernandez’s life is tragic due to the cancer that killed him, he left a cultural mark in the Philippines. This movie instead shows us a man who rose from just being a bit actor in Filipino cinema, to not just a leading action man, but a true hero of the oppressed as a champion for social justice. While his movies have not made their way over into the US in any mainstream manner, the documentary on Daboy was incredibly interesting to see how life almost began to imitate art. The impact he left will be felt in Filipino society and culture forever.
COMEDY SHORTS BLOCK
The Phantom Hour
This 2016 horror comedy short from actor/filmmaker Brian Butler and Rosewood Five feels like an old radio drama/mystery/horror, but live acted on film. It comes off as a cross between Murder By Death, Rocky Horror, and Clue. A silly, but sorta cute horror comedy. It’s very low budget
Zombie Playground: Ice Scream
This is a really slick looking production from the UK. It plays on clichés as we see two older girls get lost in the woods. This made it very reminiscent of 70’s horror. The humor is most certainly not over the top. It plays on that uneasy, “gallows” humor. This was easily one of the best looking productions of the night.
Written by Sara Bergman Elfgren, author of the YA novel the Circle and directed by Alexander Rönnberg. I would call this a cyber-ghost story. It might even possibly serve as an indictment for using social media to express who we are and what we feel instead doing so through live interaction, and that doing so via social media could serve to lose our souls and humanity. This is a spooky short where the threat lives inside social media. Who knew that “Liking” a picture could prove to be deadly?
This is a live action take on how teddy bears guard children from monsters of the night. While the concept may be noble in its ideology, this short definitely turns that idea on its ear, as there is nothing funnier than a man in a bear costume who drinks and smokes while protecting you at night.
When updating your status on social media is all you can think of during a home invasion. The absurdity of it all is what gives this short such great laughs. The short film may be making another cultural statement regarding how people hide behind social media, but this is taken to new levels of ridiculousness as even the home invaders are motivated by posting pictures with a myriad of hash tags to spread their status updates.
An artistic ghost story. It’s tender-hearted, but sad. All the ghost wants is a friend, but cannot communicate across the void. It has a slightly humorous moment here and there, but it’s primarily a sad short.
Harris has gone to the bathroom, and is now out of toilet paper. The “demon” of his bathroom visit now haunts him as all he wants to do is clean himself up without anyone realizing what he has done. However, what he is hiding from the world is not what we expect as his real guilt is a complete surprise at the end. This was EXTREMELY British in its humor!!!
All I can say is French/Jewish zombie comedy short. Lots of surprises!!! If Michael Jackson’s Thriller had been played for laughs I’m sure it would have looked like this!!!
Beware lustful garden gnomes. Plays on stalker slasher trope with plenty of “boob shots” as well as the leering expression on the gnome’s face, but seeing the statue of a gnome doing the killing makes it quite funny.
A comedy about what happens when someone dates the Grim Reaper. She (the Reaper) has certain expectations, but the guy she’s wanting to date feels otherwise, not to mention the fact he has absolutely no idea who he has been seeing. There is an awkwardness to this story that brings out the laughs.
A Zombie Next Door
A zombie mockumentary, that only can only be described as “Christopher Guest meets George Romero, is about what happens after the zombie apocalypse, how they are now kept as pets, and how society view and uses them. It’s brilliantly acted and directed. Mockumentaries aren’t for me, but the audience very much enjoyed it.
A man is tranquilized and captured for a demented procedure that make absolutely no sense, was completely disgusting, and was absolutely hilarious in every wrong way imaginable. This short makes total use of the irrational aspect of horror to build the laugh factor. There was no logic to it at all, and that’s largely why it was so funny. It’s horrible, revolting, and a riot. The audience was in hysterics for the disgusting part of the short film.
There are no words…..
After the comedy horror short there was a brief panel from those filmmakers in attendance where they shared their insights into why horror and comedy go so well together, as well as insights into the making of their own individual films. Film Festival director, Miguel Rodriguez, took it upon himself to appear as the Watchbear, which made it quite difficult to take any of this seriously… Naturally that was the intent!
FEATURE FILM (with short)
This film was very Japanese in terms of dialogue, direction and story telling. The threat seems more psychological than real at first. The film, while utilizing the monster trope, plays more as a supernatural story. No proper resolution, which is sad because the film ends with a surprise as the film’s young male lead turns out to be something more than what the viewer has come to understand, which could have given us a Japanese take on Clash of the Titans. It was a very well done film, but very Japanese in nature and style.
Hail to the King: 60 Years of Destruction
This film is a true love letter from a kaiju fan, primarily Godzilla, or Gojira as he is called in Japan, and documents a man’s travels to parts of Japan where he gets to meet people who have had their careers impacted by working in Godzilla movies, to various actors and even filmmakers. They discuss the cultural significance of Godzilla, primarily in the US and Japan. This movie is for the person who loves Godzilla, but also for the person who has barely seen any Tokusatsu (effects heavy live action) movies or TV at all. This was a true documentary about the King of all Monsters
The film festival continues through to September 11, and tickets can still be purchased at Horrible Imaginings Film Fest & Podcast.
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