Another day, another batch of ooey, gooey shorts to bring you guys from the New York City Horror Film Festival! Have no worries, because the quality was still on kick-ass display, showcasing some bright up and coming horror talent. There’s really no point in wasting time writing an introduction though, let’s just jump to the films!
Director: James Cunningham
Ah, love in the time of zombies. Always a romantic and, er, gory tale of spellbound hearts and spending an eternity together with “the one.” Rotting Hill is a cute little love story, and yes I just said cute, about two undead lovers munching their way through the apocalypse. There’s some really cool effects on display and a few good kills, even though I’m not sure why zombies are killing other zombies (hate crime?), but hell, it’s a fun little romp none the less. Their hearts no longer beat, but their love still lasts forever. A nice sentiment, no? See for yourself, the entire short is presented above!
Director: Erlingur Thoroddsen
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I absolutely dug Erlingur Thoroddsen’s creepy short film Child Eater, an ode to the type of boogeyman who makes you fear that awkward period of time where you lay silently in the dark until sleep overtakes you. What stunned me was the clever creativity and twisted re-working of the fabled stork tale, establishing a presence to be feared out of the child eater himself in only a matter of minutes. Thoroddsen was able to do something filmmakers fail to accomplish given even a feature film, and Thoroddsen did it beautifully. Lead actors Cait Bliss and Dan Reiss also provide solid characters and a funny dynamic at times when discussing their relationship, and Boomer Tibbs looked head to toe terrifying dressed as urban legend Robert Bowery. An absolutely chilling and unnerving tale of horror, Child Eater left the impact of a feature film, showing nothing but steadfast genre craftsmanship and true horror genre love.
“He’ll sing you songs and tell you lies, but all he wants to do is taste your eyes …”
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Ah, what a nice little mind-bending piece of psychological trickery, thinking Lorcan’s own film description the best, as his characters are beckoned into “a world of the paranormal, or perhaps insanity?” Yes, it’s one of those make your own determination kind of pieces that tugs at your thinking, as you watch a struggling woman named Ellen become obsessed with a group of foxes running about the night. Drawing her away from normalcy and the daily grind, Ellen starts to exhibit more animalistic traits, while her husband James only becomes more paranoid. But what, if anything, is actually going on?
Director: Ryan Connolly
Nothing like a good white-knuckled thriller to get you ready for a night of horror, right? Ryan Connolly’s short film Tell was exactly that, creating an atmosphere so tense there might be dug out indentations on the arm rests I was gripping. Plot wise it’s nothing too complex, simply being a husband covering up a grisly crime, but Tell impresses in the way main character Taylor deals with his own paranoid delusions brought on by fear and guilt. Or is what he’s seeing actually occurring, haunting his every move in an act of revenge? Make that decision yourself, because the entire short is available above for your viewing pleasure. Hauntingly eerie, Tell will have you sitting on edge for the whole hellish ride into madness.
Director: Patrick Rea
Are you like Patrick Rea, sick of the onslaught of “torture porn” flicks which call themselves horror just by killing victims slowly in the most vile way possible? Well then you’ll enjoy his smart short titled Torture Porn, a satirical attempt to explain the phenomena genre by depicting a torture scene that doesn’t quite play out how our killer wants. I mean, just watch for yourself, it’s a silly and quick little flick I was able to look up and watch after I missed it’s showing before the program’s feature (how many weeks later is it and Sandy is still messing with NYC mass transportation?), but thankfully I found it online, and you can watch too!
Director: Jorge Godinez
Hmm, couldn’t find a single video to post for this short, but Godinez created an interesting high school bully piece as a young girl who just happens to dabble in the occult is tormented by “plastic” type popular clichés. I would have loved to link something here, but not today. Made by some New York Film Academy film students as their thesis, it’s nice to see young talent coming out for our viewing pleasure.
Director: Joseph Ciccarella
How many times do we see young, hot women get lost in the woods while on some type of camping trip, only to be hunted by a psychopathic killer. Throw in some drugs, some spiritual undertones, and you’ve got your typical slasher type flick. That’s essentially The Ribbon‘s plot, until the woman meet back up and plan to turn the deadly tables on our stalker, and it’s this type of thinking which keeps The Ribbon fresh. I talked to actress Rebecca Nyahay before seeing the short, who was very passionate about her project, and I can say she wasn’t just being biased. There was something captivating and intriguing about The Ribbon which grabbed my attention 100%. I mean, peyote induced horror? What could go wrong?? Nothing, as The Ribbon took normal horror conventions and manipulated them nicely for a unique story and some nice estrogen fueled intensity. Check out the trailer above!
Director: Neill Gorton
The zombie apocalypse is surely a depressing event, one that shatters hope and tests survival, if you want to survive that is. With walkers only increasing in numbers, survivors dwindling, and your family dead, sometimes death seems like your only answer. That’s exactly the hopelessness that Gorton inspires, as main character “The Daughter” (Sarah Winter) deals with the passing of her mother and her own chances of survival. We hear her inner thoughts and rational, describing the relationships with her family that are now gone, and all the things that might run through someone now completely alone during what seems to be impending doom. Not a long watch by any means, but an unflinching reaction to the end of days. See for yourself in full above!
Alice Jacobs Is Dead
Director: Alex Horwitz
Another story of horrific love and passion, Alice Jacobs Is Dead tells of a famous doctor who created a vaccine that stopped undead symptoms in the time of a massive zombie outbreak, but couldn’t cure those already turned. His wife being one of the unlucky infected, the doctor administers daily treatments of his medication to keep her human while researching an ultimate cure in his lab. But as his wife Alice (Adrienne Barbeau) starts experiencing apparent changes, our doctor realizes time is running out, needing a cure before his wife reaches full zombification. It’s a story of going to tremendous lengths for a loved one, but also a story of risk, as if Alice turns and escapes, it’d be the apocalypse all over again. Alice Jacobs Is Dead presents a somber short film of raw emotion, which you can watch in full on Hulu, but I’ve attached the trailer to give you a little taste here.
Director: Richard Powell
Familiar is another one of those horror shorts that grabs you by the balls, beats you into submission, and still leaves you smiling after a crazy-good third act. It’s a story we know all to well – a poor man dealing with his mundane and repetitive life, slowly growing angrier and more beaten down day by day, but see’s his daughter’s move to college as a new start to his life – until he finds out his wife is pregnant, again. From here, actor Robert Nolan takes us on John Dodd’s sick, twisted, and manipulative journey, finally losing it in his current situation. Simple psychological thriller you’re thinking, right? Not even close. The trailer gives no indication of where Familiar dares to go, turning incredibly gory, masochistic, and squeamishly entertaining as John questions the forces which now plague his thinking, even adding a dash of creature feature script writing for good measure. Again, Familiar thankfully does things current mainstream horror films shy away from, and shows extreme horror filmmaking with masterful execution. Oh yeah, and it’s bat-shit bonkers too. This one’s for you, jaded horror fans losing genre faith. Familiar should help re-kindle your love pretty damn quick.
A big day three is here for your pleasure, and stay tuned for my recap of day four’s crop of horror short insanity!