Saturday, September 9 2017 brought us day two of the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival at the Museum for Photographic Art (MOPA) in Balboa Park, San Diego CA. Some of you may wonder why we keep coming back to this. Well if you have any doubts just listen to any of our interviews with Miguel Rodriguez (episode 27, episode 87) in order to understand why this is such a rewarding film/story genre, but also a highly misunderstood one as well.
So, are you ready to read about Day Two?
Big thanks go out to Horror for providing the programming information in a format that was both easy to edit, but also easy to copy/paste into our website.
Saturday starts with the “Bump in the Night Short Film Showcase,” a block of ten short films focusing on those things that go . . . well, you know. Expect creatures, ghosts, monsters, and more, some real and some imagined – but all frightening! “The Bump in the Night Short Film Showcase” will runfrom 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.
11:00 a.m.– “Nite Time” Directed by Fernando A. Fisher. (“A girl finds herself in a deep sleep. The more she dreams, the more strange things happen to her. Is that thing following her real or imagined?”)
This short film had some unusual imagery, especially the interesting use of projecting the TV picture on the wall behind our lead and watching all of the images on her face as well. It didn’t serve any purpose, but it was an interesting story telling technique. This film shows how Mexicans are very skilled at making highly atmospheric horror films. It plays on how illogical nightmares can be, but this takes it a wonderful horror level.
11:10 a.m.– “Void Chair” Directed by Xavier Miralles. (“A girl walking home in the middle of the night finds a rocking chair that catches her attention. When the girl gets closer to touch and rock it, her gesture wakes up something disturbing.”)
Beware old men leaving old rocking chairs in creepy alleys! Another film that really reflects the culture of Mexican filmmaking. It took its time in getting started and in its development, but this isn’t a bad thing. The pacing was deliberate and well executed.
11:18 a.m. – “Level” Directed by Andrew Hunt. (“Trapped inside a never-ending nightmare, a cat and mouse game plays out between our a Man and a hellish beast lurking in the shadows.”)
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The lack of dialogue, along with some very unnerving ambient sounds makes this an almost terrifying short film. There is no explanation as to how our victim got trapped there. It doesn’t matter. The ending is a fun surprise, and that is why horror films can be awesome!
11:37 a.m.– “Nightlight” Directed by Kyle Daly. (“The shadows are full of hidden monsters. We flip on the bedside lamp to cast them away. But, if we fear the dark, how do we know they don’t fear the light?”)
This was a terribly amusing film that turns childhood terrors on its head. It was one of those movies that scares you and makes you laugh at the same time. It’s also a great lesson about coming to know that very thing we are most afraid of, and that maybe it’s not quite so terrifying at all.
11:41 a.m.– “Bestia” Directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero. (“When the lone survivor of a disaster awakens on a deserted beach, it becomes clear that there are more dangers lurking in the woods than a hungry beast.”)
The terror in here is not seeing the creature that hunts our survivor. It sounds terrifying, but then again, aren’t we all terrifying at heart? It was slightly telegraphed, but still well played.
11:49 a.m.– “Sandman” Directed by Liam Banks. (“When Sandy awakens from a strange dream, she finds that nothing could have prepared her for the nightmare she finds herself in – now that she is awake.”)
Now this was scary! Seeing something evil stalk you slowly and methodically is the stuff made of nightmares for me. Throw in some really intense lighting changes, and you end up with something that can overwhelm and terrify you at the same time. If you like to be scared by more than just things that jump out at you, then this short is it.
11:55 a.m.– “Helen” Directed by Emily Dell. (“An office all-nighter becomes a living nightmare as Helen is haunted by her demon, both within and without.”)
Interesting nightmarish short about demons that are made up of insecurities. It does employ the standard “jump-scare” tactic. It also gives a whole new meaning to “wrestling with your demons.”
12:03 p.m.– “Call of Charlie” Directed by Nick Spooner. (“A trendy Los Angeles couple sets up a blind date for two of their friends, one of whom is an ancient evil deity vibrating with pure malice. A macabre comedy of manners, alternately amusing and disturbing.”)
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If Lovecraft were to make a comedy, it would be this. It’s creepy, and darkly comedic. It’s brilliantly filmed, and the title character is delightfully funny! Just think “20,000 Leagues Under the Kraken.” To say anything else would spoil it!
12:17 p.m.– “The Northleach Horror” Directed by David Cairns. (“In 1941, mild-mannered linguist Enzo McWheattie is summoned to a secret bunker by his old friend Whitsuntide, a deranged scientist, attempting to summon the spirits of dead British spies so he can debrief them to assist in the war effort.”)
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This short plays on some really cheesy period stereotypes, making for a fun horror comedy. It’s almost horrifyingly politically incorrect!!! For a short film set during World War II, this horror short was laugh out loud funny!!!
12:32 p.m.– “Three Skeleton Key” Directed by Andrew Hamer. (“Set in 1921, an American lighthouse crew on the small island of Three Skeleton Key become unnerved when a ship ignores their beacon, soon discovering that something is on board the ship, and it’s not human.”)
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Sort of a classic “haunted lighthouse” short, but dealing with a threat that was abit more rodent like. It was quite odd, and let like more of a vehicle to address racism.
Horrible Imaginings terror-filled short film blocks continue on Saturday with “The Loved Ones Short Film Showcase” a block of eleven short films focusing on the horrors that can arise from our interpersonal relationships. Sometimes our families are not quite right. Sometimes we do the worst things for our friends. And nothing can compare to the horrors that come from the breakdown of parental responsibility. “The Loved Ones Short Film Showcase” will runfrom 1:15 to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.
1:15 p.m.– “Eye Love You” Directed by Nikiel Suchit. (“A film about a boy’s love for his mother.”)
Animated film that felt like a cross between E. Gorey and something on Cartoon Network. It had a shockingly funny moment, and a slightly telegraphed ending. As with the others, it was still nice to see.
1:19 p.m.– “Filippa” Directed by Alexander Rönnberg. (“A dad comes home after work to find his daughter, who wants to play hide and seek. But is it really his daughter?”)
When does playing hide and seek go too far, and how do you know exactlywho you may be playing hide and seek with? An interesting mix of styles, from a type of ghost story, to something more psychologically dark. This was a wonderful film from Sweden from the same producer as last year’sAlena.
1:24 p.m.– “Stitched” Directed by Heather Taylor. (“A sheltered woman, reeling from the death of her mother, shows her sister how far she will go to be heard.”)
Right from the start this film gives the viewer a bad feeling that something is off. Unfortunately the title of the film gives away the “punch line,” especially given the performance of one of the actor’s. Had the title been different it’s possible the horror element might have had a greater impact.
1:28 p.m.– “Nasty” Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond. (“When his father mysteriously vanishes in 1982, twelve-year old Doug takes the case into his own hands, leading him to discover his Dad’s secret collection of illicit video nasties. Doug embarks on a desperate quest, infiltrating the strange world of video nasties in an attempt to reunite his family through a patchwork of horror.”)
Out of the gate this film harkens back to 70s and 80s VHS horror. It’s an odd film in that makes the case that such horror exploitation type films like that are actually bad. It could have served as a companion piece toBeyond The Gates.
1:43 p.m. – “The Honeymoon” Directed by Ruth Pickett. (“A newlywed Christian couple go on their honeymoon to what they believe to be a quaint B&B in the Welsh countryside, but which turns out to be a sex den.”)    Trailer    Imdb 
A very hilarious twist on theB&B theme. It’s very naughty and very mocking of puritanical lifestyles. The way it works on role playing is very comedic. Very little horror, but very heavy on British comedic humor.
1:56 p.m.– “A Father’s Day” Directed by Mat Johns. (“Unexpectedly reunited with his daughter amongst the ruins of the world as they knew it, a father is determined to make this day special, even if they are already dead.”
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Simple little short that says even zombies can love their children. It’s quite disgusting and rather tragic at the same time.
2:06 p.m.– “Born of Sin” Directed by William Boodell. (“A loving, though alcoholic, father leaves his eight-year-old daughter in their car while he enters a bar for a drink. Little do either of them know what awaits her.”)
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What works about this film is young actress Bella Anderson. For a child actor her performance in this film was most exciting. A weaker child actor might have ruined this because everything surrounds her performance. This short film wins because of Bella.
2:16 p.m.– “Your Date Is Here” Directed by Todd Spence. (“After dusting off an old Mystery Date-style board game, a mother and daughter realize the game holds more evil than amusement.”)
Games that contain evil are pretty popular these days, but this has to be the first time where the game Mystery Date has ever been the focus. This was a fun horror short with a delightful “jump-scare” to bring it all together.
2:23 p.m.– “Bride of Frankie” Directed by Devi Snively. (“In this darkly comedic feminist nod to Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, a not-so-mad scientist builds a mate for her mentor’s lonely creation with electrifying, and deadly, results.”)
Humorous take on the Frankenstein story, even in black and white! The areas it addresses regarding monsters almost feels like something Mel Brooks might have written. Given the telegraphing in this short perhaps it should have ended up in a different film block. The short had plenty of sight gags. Still, it felt a little hollow.
2:42 p.m. – “Blood Sisters” Directed by Caitlin Koller. (“Amateur witchcraft conjures up bloody consequences.”)   Trailer    Imdb    Facebook
Another short film that shows that horror can be gross, violent, and terribly funny. The actresses were hilariously funny, and the short was incredibly original. Blood can be funny!
2:48 p.m. – “We Together” Directed by Henry Kaplan. (“A short film about a zombie who comes to remember the person who he used to be.”)   Trailer    Imdb    Facebook
 Despite the premise of this short film, it felt disjointed. The gags were shot in an overly comedic manner which take away from any intended humor. At times it feels like it’s trying to be the “anti-Thriller.” The repeated music track was irritating. Is the film trying to say that music is at the root of who we truly are, and will always be? If so the substance is being lost in the packaging.