And please, let us know what you’re watching this weekend!
(Little tip: sometimes Dailymotion embeds require you to reload the page to get it show up.)
One of my favorite movies, even with a glaring continuity error that makes me crazy every time I see it…The Big White!
And lastly, my 14-year-old chose Summer Wars, even though we’ve seen it many many times already. She’s my kid, what can I say!
As a bonus, here is the extremely catchy song from the film:
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.
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:
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.
Tim McClelland’s Fugue State reaches outside the typical low-budget zombie film arena to give us a glimpse of the “unsettling psychological horror of identity loss and the unreliability of memory and even reality itself.”
Luis, a security guard, is thrust head-on into the aftermath of, what the press called, an “amnesia plague.” Victims react in various ways, with some exhibiting zombie behavior while others exist in a state of confusion, sliding back and forth in memory, unsure of even their own identity.
Luis soon finds himself with a strange group of survivors, one of whom is his wife Cassandra whose “fugue state” also involves flashes of the future.
I had read in the past that movement such as walking across the screen is typically shown moving from West (left) to East (right), and that the opposite could portend some involvement with time travel or flashbacks. So when I saw Luis and Cassandra walking the empty New Mexican desert, I perked up, thinking this choice of the director could be more than a simple pleasing to the eye visual. When it happened again later in the film, I wondered if the director had made a conscious choice there to imply we weren’t involved in a linear narrative.
I don’t want to spoil the plot too much because I believe it’s best going into this film cold. Lots of local talent here, including quite fitting closing credits by Le Chat Lunatique. The viewer will quickly become entranced, falling into your own fugue state and floating along with the inhabitants of McClelland’s masterful first effort.
I enjoy “scary” movies. I like genuinely scary, nightmare-enducing movies along with gory or psychological scary movies as well as the cheesy ones you love to hate. I also like to support indie films so when nothing else looked good in the Redbox selection, I rented The Innkeepers. The cover looked good, the premise looked good, and as I said, it’s indie and I wanted to throw some of my dollars their way.
There’s nothing wrong with a little tension-building but after twenty minutes of setting up the story, I worried that this was going to be one of those movies which saved all the action til the last ten minutes. It’s a short film so I wasn’t too annoyed…yet. The female lead , who looks alarmingly like a young Reese Witherspoon, needs a few more acting lessons but she wasn’t a total wash. Yet as the film drudged on with very little scares, I began to feel let down.
There are characters introduced who do absolutely nothing to forward the plot nor add any sort of interesting element to the story. Speaking of story…why would an independent filmmaker spend all this money on a film and not spend time on the actual story?
Film 101: nothing is wasted. Don’t show Claire with that inhaler unless it adds something to her character or will prove to be important to the plot later. Don’t waste your time with the Tiny Furniture girl at the coffee shop unless it’s shaping an existing character or storyline or you are introducing someone I need to pay attention to. Why was Gina from Sesame Street there? What purpose do she and her son serve within the universe of this film?
Just so you don’t think I’m a total grump, I don’t mind when a movie makes me ask questions. I like movies I can’t figure out. But this was just sloppy. Not edgy, arty, “what does it all mean, Basil” confusion and misdirection. It was lazy and ill-conceived.
(Spoilers be here!)
Yes, we all know the horror film canon. Characters will do the opposite of what you, a normal person, would do in their situation. Why would Lee go to even the bottom of the staircase in the basement if she knew and had previously warned Claire not to go down into the basement? And later, when Claire is calling out to Lee, who she knows is upstairs packing, why does Claire go into the basement? Why would she think Lee is in that stupid basement? Come the fuck on. At least have some sinister reason for why Claire is drawn down there. And at the end, why does the cop have to look one more time, and grimace, at the bloody face of Claire on the gurney? Was it merely another (sloppy) way to show us who it was on the gurney? We didn’t need to see her hair because we saw her shoes. We know who it is!
(Spoilers be gone!)
Disappointing though it was, I was cheered to see Kelly McGillis show up, looking her age and appearing to have a little fun. Too bad she didn’t have too much to do.
Just in case you are one of those “have to see it for myself” people, here’s a trailer, which shows you all the best bits from the film and makes it appear far more interesting and scary than it is.