Phoenix Fearcon VIII 2019: Short Films/Local Short Films – Sun Studios – Tempe, Arizona

The 2019 Phoenix Fearcon VIII has come and gone, and amongst all the fun, I managed to catch some genuinely entertaining horror shorts. A handful of films really stood out, including a few from local filmmakers. They were campy, gory, and overall, creepy as hell. While there were a ton of talented films on display, four in particular captured my imagination. Each individual short brought something special and unique to the table, culminating in one scary good time. So, without further adieu, these films go as follows; 

Casulos/Cocoons from Outer Space: 

The 2018 Brazilian horror short is written and directed by Joel Caetano. It stars Mariana Zani and Joel Caetano. All she wanted to do was relax, but something crash lands from outer space and ruins her plans. Casulos/Cocoons from Outer Space was a quirky and enjoyable little low budget indie monster flick. The film had a heavy dark atmospheric vibe to it, and didn’t take itself seriously. It knew exactly what it was, with it’s over the top acting and oddly appealing b-movie special effects. This is what horror shorts are all about. 

Lion: 

Lion is a very impactful 2017 short horror film, written and directed by Davide Melini. It stars Pedro Sánchez, Michael Segal and Tania Mercader. A young boy dreams that his stuffed lion has come to life to protect him from his abusive father. This film was wonderfully done. It’s violent, imaginative and extremely touching. Lion tackles the taboo subject of child abuse and the struggles of growing up in a home with an abusive parent. The film is very effective and hits on a serious problem that many children suffer from. Also, the utilization of cgi worked brilliantly and overall it’s just a really fun and solid short film. 

Undead in the West: 

Undead in the West is a short horror film, written, produced and directed by musician and Arizona resident, Tony Noyes. It’s cowboys meet zombies, in the wild west. The dead arise and bullets fly in this fantastic blood and gunsmoke filled film. While there are other films based on the same subject matter, this is one that truly stands out. The costumes were great, along with the sets and acting, and while the film isn’t exactly the best, the passion comes through full force. A lot of heart and attention to detail give the film more power to its punch. The only thing off about the film, is that a few scenes are heavy on CGI, which seemed to drag the film down a it. The film would have benefited greatly had they used more practical effects. 

Static Kinship: 

The 2018 horror short is written and directed by Arizona local Adolpho Navarro. It stars Darya Gemmel and Shaphan David Seiders. A paranormal investigator awakens on a floor, only to find he’s paralyzed and trapped inside a house with the entity responsible. Static Kinship is a well rounded display of talent and hard work. The beginning of the film was actually it’s own short, titled Static, which they went back and added more to later, in order to make it a more cohesive project. The directing is what really stands out in this. The angles were very astute and the filmmaker did a wonderful job of creating and building a creepy, tension filled atmosphere. Overall, this was the most comprehensive film of the Con.

These films were my top favorites from FearCon VIII, and if you get a chance to check any of them out, I highly suggest you do so. They are extremely entertaining and simply loads of fun. Each is an excellent addition to the sub genre and definitely worthy of attention. So, keep it scary and always remember to support your local indie horror.

Posted by Donovan Smith

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