THIRD ANNUAL SIN CITY HORROR FEST – NOTABLES (II)

THE NOTABLES (SHORTS)

AFTER THE FLESH – Maybe the plot of this short was meant to be taken literally, but I didn’t see it that way. I interpreted this one to be the story of how when a relationship dies, sometimes it’s like the person themselves dies, yet continues to haunt your life if you don’t have the ability to let go. And also, how the inability to move on can eventually destroy your chance at a new life…and you might be stuck in the past, forever.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for AFTER THE FLESH, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APlUmuDuqs4)

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS – You might recall some years back, when filmmakers and studios were trying to make alternative historic timeline horror a “thing,” with movies like PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES and ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER. Well, this is kind of Charles Dickens, by way of Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD, except only in the gore sense…it’s NOT a musical. But it definitely is black comedy…this time around, it’s more like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WITH CADAVERS THAT AREN’T QUITE DEAD.

(Unfortunately, no reference links were available for this entry at time of publication.)

IN HER SHOES – Evil kids are always guaranteed to be creepy…but evil dead kids? Yeah, happy nightmares with that. In this one, a young girl, visiting the grave of a relative with her mother, soon wanders off, lured away by what appears to be the ghost of a little girl…who possesses a very special pair of shoes. HOW special? You’ll know when you see it. This brings to mind those really good “blackout sketches” from Rod Serling’s NIGHT GALLERY series.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for IN HER SHOES, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-9Vz4RBU7I)

NEPENTHES – Remember the movie THE RUINS, and the implications of that ending? What would happen if those murderous, carnivorous and frighteningly sentient plants got out into the world and really started doing their thing? THIS is one of the scenarios that present that possibility…and it’s creepy, gross and scary as F$%!.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT.  To see the trailer for NEPENTHES, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yiFRg0IL-0&fbclid=IwAR0NpiiS2AE1FQjB824pGpQAzHjFZ8dI-7GsIE5rqfYaVLRhzcwKJKAK1qY)

ROOMMATE – Once upon a time, any horror film with an all-black cast was highly unusual, unless it was “blaxploitation”. Kudos to director   for completely changing the game up, with a scenario that would fit ANY cast, regardless of the ethnic background. Two roommates go through the usual changes that roommates will – especially female roommates. Except add an extra sinister, TWILIGHT ZONE-type edge to that, and you’re there. Nicely done by the cast and director, and an ending that I’m sure Jordan Peele would approve of…

(Unfortunately, no reference links were available for this entry at time of publication.)

THE DEVIL’S PASSENGER – Plays straight up like one of those old Seventies “Movie Of The Week” entries, except this one has today’s cell phones! A woman is driving in back of a beaten-up van, when suddenly, she sees the desperate face of a woman in the back window, screaming for help.  If you saw that, what would YOU do? Well, you’ll get a look at what she does…and how no good deed truly goes unpunished…

(To see THE DEVIL’S PASSENGER online, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHMm6cEdfwY)

WICKEN – A simple tale, terrifyingly told, in the vein of that great old classic thriller, NIGHT OF THE DEMON…with a little 21st Century spin on it. A young woman is spending “face time” on her laptop with her brother, when he does the unthinkable.  What seems like just very weird behavior at first, soon begins to make sense as she is menaced by a spectral figure that is going to do her some real damage, unless she can bring herself to repeat her brother’s actions. It’s like THE RING, but “streaming” instead of on VHS.

(Unfortunately, no reference links were available for this entry at time of publication.)

CLOSURE – We’ve seen it before: the triumphant police detective confronts the vile, unrepentently evil serial murderer she’s finally going to bring to justice.  This guy doesn’t have the suave cultured manner of Hannibal Lecter, but he’s not stupid. And worse, he’s willing to do anything to make sure that his captor’s victory is short-lived. ANYTHING.

It has the look and feel of something weird you’d find at an old, dusty Eighties video store.  Great score to go with, and appropriate performances from the entire cast, complete with a nice little twist that may be unexpected for both horror AND non-horror vets!

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT.  To see the teaser trailer for CLOSURE, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMZx5ibLytY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2TqFdEth_h4r2kJJJ1k6s5D7yUsP-DlxdTOXmf_6kD-BAp_VuhTaQn3L8)

DEATH AND TACOS – I don’t know if a lot of horror filmmakers were raised on SNL, but here’s another short that might have made the show…if they left the aspect of cannibalism intact. And connected to a funeral, no less. That’s all I really should say about this one. Just…watch it.

(Unfortunately, no reference links were available for this entry at time of publication.)

SHE FELL – A concerned husband takes his wife to the ER, her face bleeding. With this title, I guess I don’t have to tell you much more about what this one has in mind. But I love domestic abuse stories, especially when there’s a nasty little surprise in store…for the abuser.  And that surprise, in this case, might be showing us the dawn of a brand new horror icon. (I certainly hope so!)

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the preview trailer for SHE FELL, visit https://vimeo.com/350354831?fbclid=IwAR1ta4svgS1cT3OyB6Yfuh1pvg62m5m9b4MjV9NmijDc1ryTHMs70DAaOdQ)

HOW TO BE A GOOD HOUSEWIFE – Director/writer  read an article that outlined exactly what the title of this movie implies…and thought about how absolutely fucking NUTS it would drive a Fifties housewife, to have to try and comply with every single “tip” the piece outlined.  And from that thought, this short was born, and it is wonderful. Hearkening back to the good old days of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, when video director James Signorelli, amongst others, made funny, edgy video pieces for the show.

THE DESECRATEDWINNER: BEST SOUND DESIGN

Because of a glitch in the initial showing of this short, it was confusing as hell for the audience, who thought it was some kind of art-school exercise. Once things were fixed, though, what was finally revealed was a nightmarish scenario on par with LAST SHIFT or THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE. A young morgue attendant soon discovers that on this night, nothing at work is as it should be, to put it mildly. Not that cadavers could ever be “happy”, but these ones are pissed as fuck.

(At this writing, a trailer for THE DESECRATED is not available online.  But the audience reactions at other festivals have been very similar, and you can see some of that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOyvD7zwSx8)

HIGH DESERT HELL – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE…relocated to the desert. Except no chainsaws needed here. The creepy atmosphere of old-timey houses, abandoned and otherwise, and the appearance of a wild-eyed, aging religious zealot, are more than ample red flags that should’ve told these four friends, that a vacay in Las Vegas would’ve been much smarter…AND safer.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for HIGH DESERT HELL, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-exrPg2TDU)

NIGHT TIDE – In the midst of his deteriorating relationship, a man is seemingly trapped in an alternate universe inside his house, where he’s being haunted…by his dead wife. But the question is: what is he seeing? The premonition of a horrific tragedy to come? Or has it already happened?

(NIGHT TIDE can be seen on the home page of writer/director RICHARD MILLER’S YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/godmiller/featured)

BRUTAL REALTY INC.WINNER: BEST SCREENPLAY, JOSEPH MUELLER; BEST KILL (SIGN STAB)

Black-metal daemon THE SUMMONER, (London May), a drummer with killer skills on the skins, nevertheless has become disillusioned with his lot in life…or is that more “undeath”? In any case, he’s as dejected as anyone without a soul can be and feels like his missing out somehow. So, he decides to pursue his true passion…SELLING REAL ESTATE! (Cue guitar squeals here)

But certain people and obstacles stand in his way, and he decides that’s not going to stop him. A positive short about never giving up on your dreams, and while going after them, never compromise on being the best you that you can be. Oh, yeah, with metal, gore and dismemberment thrown in with the message, too. The Summoner is a great character…the male answer to Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, perhaps? Man, if the two of them could team up!

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for BRUTAL REALTY INC., visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8SZQOyvNho)

FILTHWINNER: SPECIAL FX

I always tip my hat to filmmakers with big-budget aspirations, who choose to fulfill that need to tell their stories via animation. The development of the characters and art direction is nothing short of outstanding, in this shockingly violent tale of FRANKENSTEIN-gone-neo-film noir.

(THIS FILM CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for FILTH, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jooGkw0Scd8&feature=youtu.be)

FIVE COURSE MEAL – Absolutely Cronenbergian in its concept and execution (pun intended), a loving young couple decides to participate together, in a mysterious experiment that seems simple enough on the face of it. By the end, however, you may find yourself in need of a barf bag, as the movie explores the nature and the boundaries of addiction, gluttony, and what humans are willing to do to fulfill a driving need for “MORE”, once it overwhelms any other sensibility.  Great across the board, but extra kudos for the stomach-churning special effects.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for FIVE COURSE MEAL, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTAlTDqYnkI)

DECOYED – A spooky short that can be interpreted a number of ways, like any piece of art. What I took away from it was that it’s the story of a guy trying to outrun old age, and the fear of not being able to retire to the kind of life he wants, as his twilight years close in.  You’ll have to decide for yourself what YOU think is going on.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for DECOYED, visit https://vimeo.com/325823685?fbclid=IwAR0afC73zXbz0xcvpoOR9OKS6unKwgSr8_9C_r2fcibobQ0Yn72QH29VIVs)

SURVIVOR GIRL – Ever wonder what the life of a “Final Girl” from FRIDAY THE 13TH or HALLOWEEN must be like? Even if you haven’t, this one answers that question…and you may never look at your favorite surviving heroine from a horror franchise quite the same way again.

(THIS FILM IS CURRENTLY STILL ON THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. To see the trailer for SURVIVOR GIRL, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a6qIZvqnJ0)

WINDOW DRESSING – The premise is simple enough: a pretty young girl responds to a “Help Wanted” sign in a shop window.  The proprietor, who seems nice enough, has one simple request: redo the window display for the shop, which needs an upgrade. Easy peasy, right? NOPE. Be careful what jobs you decide to take on…some require a lot more than the usual forty-hours a week…

(To see WINDOW DRESSING online, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj3ZNsWLwlE)

OCULARIS – A young girl wakes inside her car in a building’s parking lot.  Slowly, she begins to piece together that some kind of national emergency has happened…something that’s possibly viral.  Meanwhile, back at home, her father, mother and sister have already discovered that the event is far, far worse than any airborne toxins or viruses.

(Unfortunately, no reference links were available for this entry at time of publication.)

SOMEWHERE WITHIN – With the help of a friend, a man seeks to conquer his deepest, darkest fears…and in probably the most appropriate place possible: the tunnels and storm drains that run underneath the city of Las Vegas.  If you want a prime example of homegrown indie filmmaking in the Shorts category, you didn’t need to look much further than this.  Not to mention the unexpected turn the story takes, as unexpected as a dark passageway that ends in a cul-de-sac.  Creepy and unforgettable.

(Unfortunately, no reference links were available for this entry at time of publication.)

Posted by Samuel Glass

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