SCIFI & CREATURE SHORTS BLOCK
A Matter of Trust
Inspired by anthology series such as Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Night Gallery, director John Vernon delivers a short where we have an interesting take on dopplegangers. One is good, and one is bad. How can you choose? Who do you trust? The short delivers a slight surprise at the end! This was followed up by a brief Q & A with the film director, John Vernon.
A driver picks up what appears to be a very unsavory woman, but not all things are as they appear, for we learn they both harbor a secret that changes the audience’s perspective for each. This film is based on the Indian version of the Succubus, but is more of the avenging type.
This is a comedic satire about a mental patient who has to “confront his demons” if he ever wishes to be mentally healthy again, only this time there is just one demon, and it’s of the type that will eat your genitals if you “pleasure yourself” too much! This gruesome short feels as if it could have been from Tales From the Crypt.
This was one of the most disturbing shorts I have ever watched. It deals with adults, children, and secret passions. The monsters are real and disgusting in this short, but this could also serve as a metaphor for the more deviant forms of child abuse. This was one of the more unsettling short films of the festival.
They Will All Die in Space
This was one of the slickest looking filmed about being marooned in space. Filmed in black and white, it has phenomenal production values and looks like it could have been directed by Ridley Scott. Some in the audience were caught by unawares by the surprise reveal, but having seen the cannibalism block of shorts, which this movie would have worked well in, the reveal was rather telegraphed
When Susurrus Stirs
This short film was shocking gross, and borderline pornographic. It deals with a man who becomes an unsuspecting host to a very ancient parasite named Susurrus. In addition to being disgustingly gross, it also gives a bleak outlook to all those who fall prey to its influence. Here again, this film would have fit nicely in the cannibalism feature block.
Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon
This is an interesting piece about Genghis Khan and his thirst for conquest. The action in it is very minimal, and the only real horror is Khan coming to understand what his fate is to be. This was a very thoughtful piece that dealt more with the outstanding acting of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Khan, and James Hong as a wise man.
The Disappearance of Willie Bingham
This is clearly a Horror for Humanity short, but given its somewhat dystopic nature, falls here in the sci-fi block, and takes the Levitical Law of “eye for an eye” to a very disturbing extreme. This is a statement on Capital Punishment. This is when art can be at its finest, when it takes an uncomfortable topic and, without actually taking a side, forces the viewer to confront his or her own values on that very subject. It also asks the question, when does the quest for justice become the thirst for vengeance? When do those who seek justice, in turn become the monster committing the crime?
LGBT BLOCK SHORTS BLOCK
How far will you go for the one you love? This short is very dark in it’s understanding of love. Do you have a desire to embrace the darkness in the one you love? Does the search for that darkness possess you? Are you drawn to the darkness in others, causing you to commit acts of darkness, and to what end? That desire to embrace the darkness gives this short film a very Lovecraftian tone the overall story.
The Black Bear
If Monty Python ever produced a PSA about bears it would be this. It is bloody, and it is funny!!!
What more is there to say that we haven’t said already about this film? We were on hand to introduce this film, and producer Alexander Rönnberg was in the audience.
¡Viva Mexploitation! with Aaron Soto!
This was a lecture with Aaron Soto discussing Mexican films, where they could be found, and why people are so fascinated by them. In addition to talking about the movie industry, Soto also discussed some of the heroes of horror film, as well as the ladies of Mexican Cinema, also known as Vedettes.
Horror in Literature Panel
Authors and editors sharing their views about what there is in horror that attracted them to it. Horror can sometimes serve as therapy to deal with one’s nightmares, and how horror can also help one understand one’s own place in the “human meat market.” Among other topics is how horror literature can tell stories without limitation as well as relying on theater of the mind. There was also a discussion about the difference between movies and literature, how movies are observed externally, but literature is a more internal process, especially something as visceral as horror can be.
FEATURE FILM (with short)
Best description would be Rocky Horror Picture in short form, sung in French. The stark setting and dark lighting is very French, as is the ghostly aid to the Doctor. This short film was very symbolic and artistically beautiful.
Death Metal (short film)
Hilariously gross short about breaking a pact with the Devil with a cursed guitar.
Beyond the Gates
This is a modern production, set in a present day, but with an aesthetic that can only be called a love letter to 80’s horror. The grandiose supernatural tale, all centered around a VCR game, along with a couple of extreme caricatures, and with the over the top blood factor made this a delightful movie to be seen in a theater and enjoyed collectively with a crowd. Afterwards there was a Q & A Panel with director Jackson Stewart, co-writer Stephen Scarlata, and actors Chaise Williamson (John Dies at the End), Graham Skipper, Brea Grant, and Matt Mercer.
Closing out the evening was some performance art, titled The Horror Cabal of Anna Yanushkevich, followed by Terrifying Campfire-Style Readings from Horror Authors. All in all, this was more than just a day in a Horror Film Festival. This was a Horror Event!!!
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