No Place on Earth is a documentary chronicling the experiences of Ukrainian Jews hiding in a cave for over a year during the Nazi invasion.
I love Halloween. I love scary. I love gore. I love spooky. So here are some Halloween-type flicks you can watch right here without leaving this page.
Let’s start with this indie zombie short, I Love Sarah Jane, by Spencer Susser. It’s not scary. Has very little gore. But it’s so touching that I have to share it with everyone I know. And it might get you in the mood for the films to come. Enjoy!
Fourth annual SF Indie Film Festival takes place this October from the 17th through the 21st at various locations in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
We are especially looking forward to Call Me Kuchu:
The last block in the Dark Matters Film Festival was all about the weird. I don’t have a favorite in this group because I liked nearly all of them. Judge for yourself.
We begin with Pablo Larcuen‘s My Invisible Friend, seen below in its entirety. Loved every element in this story of a painfully shy young man. Will the arrival of his invisible friend, Andy, be enough to bring Tomas out of his shell?
Here’s the trailer for 8, a short film about a birthday party unlike one you’ve ever experienced. I enjoyed Raul Cerezo‘s work but felt the score overwhelmed the story. The music doesn’t enhance the mood, as it could. It overtakes it, which spoils the effect.
Rehan Khokhar’s Chained was predictable but this doesn’t detract from the engaging acting, stark cinematography, and skilled editing. See for yourself:
Brilliant animator Stephen Irwin gives us Moxie, a pyromaniac bear who really really misses his mum.
Abiogenesis is Richard Mans’ sci-fi spectacle. Visually arresting and slickly filmed, his short has won numerous awards in festival around the globe.
Huhu Attack! had the Dark Matters audience squealing with laughter. Patrick Gillies’ nod to comedy-horror B-flicks, set in New Zealand, has music, romance, and alien monsters. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll love it!
In T is for Termite, Steve Daniels’ exterminator protagonist has an infestation to confront.
With the vocal talents of Max von Sydow, Pjotr Sapegin‘s claymation short, The Last Norwegian Troll, stands out in this category. Watch below.
Lastly, in Park Bench’s The Secret of the Goat, the purchase of a goat has drastic consequences for a peasant couple’s life and love.
Do you like humor with your horror? We certainly do! The first short film in this block had the audience roaring with laughter. I present to you, The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon by Richard Gale.
At the halfway mark, you may begin to feel it’s all too tedious but isn’t that the point?
Next, we viewed Andrew Bond’s The Legend of the Mighty Soap, a mix of kungfu, fairy tale, and a literal dark (dirty) vs. light (clean) epic struggle. The audience didn’t react as positively to this one but I enjoyed it. The trailer below is in Estonian with no subtitles.
Dirty Silverware was interesting and creepy at first but just meandered until it lost all tension. Solid acting skills, an enticing concept, and good production value make it worth a view, however.
Thomas Nicol’s claymation short, Bedtime for Timmy, was met with loud applause. Remember being afraid of monsters in your closet or under your bed?
(Video found on FEARnet. Check them out!)
Spoon Wars is a sequel of sorts to Gale‘s The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon.
The Zombie Factor was my favorite of this bunch. Of course. Matt Cantu‘s blend of the reality show concept and zombies is brilliant. (If you want to see a different take on zombies and reality shows, watch the Brit show Dead Set, which recounts what happens when Big Brother meets a zombie outbreak.) You’ll be talking about Zombie Hat Day. I promise.
And lastly, we have Jonathan Martin’s An Evening with my Comatose Mother. Slick, off-beat, with the just the right sprinkling of humor, you’ll enjoy this nod to classic horror.
From the second block of shorts in the Dark Matters Film Festival, we have seven films, starting with Lundborg and Storm’s Rosenhill. In Rosenhill, an elderly woman in a nursing home suspects the caregivers of a horrible crime. You can watch Rosenhill in two parts here on YouTube.
The next film ended to a round of applause from the audience. It’s quirky, unexpected, and delightful (if “delightful” can be used to describe a bloody little thriller). I give you Ryan Denmark‘s Plush.
In The Window Into Time, a scientist recounts events surrounding the discovery of a manuscript describing a mysterious, ancient substance. Thomas Nicol directed this creepy short inspired by the work of HP Lovecraft.
More from the Ghost Protocol block of the Dark Matters Film Festival.
Joshua Sallach’s Under the Stairs features latch-key kid, Jack, and his encounter with a green-eyed creature who lives under the basement stairs.
High production value and strong acting skills make this watchable but we felt it went a bit too long.
Next on the program was The Suicide Tapes. Solid acting skills and camera use are notable in Billy Senese’s found footage short film, shown in its entirety below.
Karl Holt’s Negative Image was quite spooky, using the built-in atmosphere of an abandoned mental institution as a back-drop for a journalist’s quest to gain recognition for his work in investigating the paranormal. Watch the short in the window below.
Are You the Walkers? rounded out the ghost-themed block of shorts at the Dark Matter’s Film Festival. Derek Kimball’s eerie offering makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Our only complaint is that it went too long and lost the spooky momentum.
Look out for these shorts in your local film festivals. Support the filmmakers and help keep the independent film industry alive.
The Guild Cinema in ABQ hosted Dark Matters Film Festival: Horror Bites yesterday. The festival was meant to be a teaser of sorts, to feel out the local audience in preparation for a larger festival spring of next year.
The festival’s offerings were divided into four themed blocks. The first, featuring ghostly or eerie stories, was Ghost Protocol.
My favorite out of this bunch was the very first shown, Jonah Ansell‘s Cadaver. A witty animated short, told in rhyme and 2D, with the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd, Kathy Bates, and Tavi Gevinson, Cadaver is a “battle of romantic vs. cynic.” In the director’s statement, Ansell describes how he first wrote the poem which inspired the short for his med-school sister before she cut open her first cadaver.
The director of Fugue State, Tim McClelland, was kind enough to answer some questions for us via email.
F&F: First, I have some specific questions about Fugue State.
In that fab scene where Luis moves one zombie’s arm and finds that another
nearby moves her arm as well, does this mean that the zombies have a sort
of hive mind? And later, when “Daddy” mentally calls to the zombie horde,
how is he able to control them? Is this something that is inconsequential,
simply a mystery and part of that “fugue state” you wanted to develop in
the viewer or perhaps there wasn’t enough time to visit this idea further?
I enjoy reading zombie books and have encountered the idea of a zombie
collective mind. I find it very interesting and so this part of Fugue
State had me intrigued.
Tim McC: Yes, it certainly seems that the “zombies” are connected by some sort of mental link, but I can only guess what the mechanism for such would be. It’s as if by removing the conscious mind/memories, other forms of thought/communication are able to fill in the void. The first example you see is the “wolf pack” of aggressive males that attack the woman and children in the alley. Later, the amnesiacs form into larger, more complex organizations. And then they are finally united by Daddy, who appears to have been granted special abilities by the “Shiner.”
In earlier (longer) cuts of Fugue State, there is more speculation among the characters as to possible explanations for the causes of the Amnesia Plague, but I find that the movie flows better without these conversations.
F&F: I think it is amazing what you were able to do with such a low budget.
I’ve heard the saying, “the film itself is the most expensive” part of
making movies. Was this true for Fugue State?
Tim McC: Since Fugue State was shot on video, the production costs were very low. The majority of the budget was spent on food for the cast, costumes and props, and gas for going to and from location. The downside to this method is that everything takes a lot longer, scheduling actors and crew with regular jobs is difficult, and the director ends up doing a lot of producer’s jobs, as well as editing, sound design, music, color correction, etc.
F&F: What drew you to making your own film? Is there another in the making?
What advice would you give to someone getting into the indie film
industry? How are you handling the press for your film other than film
Tim McC: Like many people, I’ve always wanted to make a movie, so it was something I had to do sooner or later. I’m a fan of many genres of movie, but making a zombie movie actually seemed doable given the resources I had available.
I’m looking forward to starting another project soon, most likely in the horror
genre, but I don’t want to go into detail quite yet.
My advice is to get a camera and start making movies. Start with short ones and move up to longer ones. Do what you can with what you have available. The more skillful you become at this very difficult art form, the more resources will become available to you.
F&F: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Looking forward to your next project.